Long road to recovery after stroke

Stroke Foundation

Sherree Morgan was as fit as she had ever been when she experienced a lifechanging stroke.

A busy and active mum, the Armadale personal trainer was outside preparing equipment to host a group fitness class when her vision went blurry, and she lost the use of her legs.

"I screamed for my husband who managed to get me inside, I told him I think I'm having a stroke and to call an ambulance immediately," Sherree said.

Stroke Foundation uses the acronym F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech and Time) to help people remember the three common signs of stroke, facial droop, arms not working, and slurred speech, and the call to action - there is no Time to waste in calling an ambulance.

"Unfortunately, I had to visit three different Perth hospitals before doctors would give me a diagnosis. I kept being sent away with medication for a suspected migraine.

"I can't even begin to explain how painful my headache was. It was so much more than a migraine. It was hard not being listened to, I started to wonder if I was going crazy."

Sherree says she began to self-advocate and even paid for a private MRI which revealed she'd had a stroke. She was admitted to Charles Gardiner Hospital where spent the next week recovering.

"The neurology team were amazing and very supportive. I was discharged with a Stroke Foundation information pack and told that I'd be making a full recovery," she said.

"Two years later I'm still on that journey and learning new things about myself. I still see a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist and go to the gym a few times a week.

"What I didn't know was how horrific and terrifying the residual effects would be. It's a very long road to recovery."

Sheree is among the 44,000 stroke survivors living in Western Australia. While stroke is often thought of as something which impacts the elderly, 24 per cent of stroke survivors are aged between 18 and 65.

"I know it's less common for a 36-year-old to have a stroke, but it does happen. Me and my husband both have a history of stroke in our family, so we knew what to look out for."

A recent F.A.S.T National Awareness Survey revealed an alarming 42 per cent of Perth residents could not name a single sign of stroke. Sherree says that's not good enough.

"My message to others is to listen to your own body, speak up for yourself, and learn the F.A.S.T signs so you have the best chance at recovery."

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