What was life like prior to your stroke?
Life was pretty good. No worries, no health issues and I thought I was reasonably fit.
What was your experience of having a stroke?
The whole experience of the actual stoke was terrifying for me. As a first aider I realised very quickly that something was wrong and thankfully, because I was at work, I was hospitalised very quickly. The hospital were amazing and explained at every stage what they were doing and what the expected outcome could be. I was determined from the minute that my treatment began, that I was going to overcome this illness.
What did you think about having had a stroke?
I had never considered that someone my age could have a stroke (I was 53). Strokes were something old people had. I was determined to get back on my feet and to stay that way. I have children, and grandchildren. I want to see my grandchildren grow up and get married and have children of their own, and I wanted to be able to fully participate in their lives, not be the old lady in the corner that can’t get about without help.
How did you hear about the trial?
I was approached by the research team at my local hospital and asked if I would be interested in participating in their research.
What made you decide to get involved in research?
The benefits of the longer term information for future stroke survivors, and also that I would continue to have in-depth health checks more often than I might receive otherwise.
What did you have to do on the trial?
I swapped out one of my medications for another. You don't know which 'arm' of the trial you are on so I didn't know if it was the study drug or a placebo. I also attended regular health checks which included memory tests as well as physical checks.
How did you feel being part of the trial?
During the trial I felt that I was constantly being looked after and that if I had any queries about my condition then the stroke research nurses were on hand to offer advice and support.
How does your condition affect your life at present?
I have made a point of trying to be more active than I was before. I find that I tire more easily and my confidence in certain areas has been quite badly dented, this is due to being a lot more emotional than I was before my stroke. My hobbies are knitting and sewing and I have had to work quite hard to keep doing them going as they are very important to me.
Why do you think Stroke research is important?
Only by continuing research will the specialists in this field find better and more effective ways to treat stokes. This will hopefully result in more people returning to full fitness and being able to carry on with their normal lives.
What would you say to others who are thinking about participating in research?
Please, please get involved; without you the research that could save just one life may not happen. While you participate in research you’ll be given lots of support and so will your family.
Any other thoughts you'd like to share?
One of the major benefits from participating in research for myself and my family, was that at every stage my family were able to participate with me. They could ask questions and as one of them attended every meeting with me, they were able to see that I was recovering from my stroke really well. I think it took a lot of worry and weight off of their minds, that I might have otherwise been keeping things from them in order to prevent them from worrying.