A new group, the Queanbeyan Stroke Recovery Club, will have its first meeting on Friday, June 28.
The club aims to reduce isolation and provide a chance for stroke survivors and carers of Queanbeyan, Canberra, and district to meet for support, information and sharing experience.
Elaine Coffey of Jerrabomberra, NSW, is setting up the group to assist towards better stroke recovery.
With support from NSW Stroke Association, she hopes to help avoid the confusion, helplessness and misery that she has felt since suffering a cerebellar stroke in early 2018.
"A year or so ago, I was ambling along, presenting my radio program on Qbn 96.7 when a regular listener called in to tell me I should immediately go see a doctor," said Elaine.
"I felt OK, but those close to me insisted I go to the doctor. Although I did not feel any physical symptoms, off I went and was diagnosed with a left side cerebellar stroke - a bleed at the base of my brain. I felt confident then that all would be okay, just a small glitch."
Elaine was told that she should not drive and to take a break from radio, "for a little while".
However, after 18 months, she still cannot drive, but recently returned to running her radio shows.
"I saw several specialists," she said, "but never really understood what had happened. I was always tired, my memory was poor, my right hand was weak and my balance was shot. No rehab or support was offered."
"I hit brick walls when I asked when my life would return to normal. Isolated at home, totally dependent on others, I became very depressed, I felt like standing on a cliff, then falling into a precipice."
A year later, Elaine decided she would seek support and asked health workers for advice. No luck!
On the internet, she discovered the Stroke Association in NSW which advocates for and provides a range of support and advice. Regional Stroke clubs offer ongoing information, she learned, and help, share experiences and reduce the sense of isolation. Some have set up sport and travel initiatives.
They will meet 10.30am to 12.30pm on Friday, June 28 at Queanbeyan Kangaroo Leagues Club, 74 Stuart Street, Crestwood (just off Canberra Avenue near the border with ACT). They plan to meet monthly afterwards, on fourth Fridays.
Julie Hill from the Stroke Recovery Association will be facilitating the meeting to explain the benefits of a stroke support group, the processes involved in establishing a new club and what other groups have achieved.
If you would like to attend this meeting please RSVP to Julie at the Stroke Recovery Association NSW on 1300 650 594 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.