June is Stroke Awareness Month.
At our June Community Meeting, Advocate Pam Spence will speak about Stroke and Cardiac Challenges in Health Care from the perspective of a patient with lived experience.
From Pam Spence:
My stroke journey began June, 2019, with a series of headaches, leading to a carotid artery disease diagnosis, and subsequently, a diagnosis of A-Fib in the heart with a Stroke experienced in Mid-August. There were no physical warnings, and A-Fib is difficult to diagnose without an incident. The stroke incident involved an efficient and timely response by EMS personnel and Fitness emergency response team at the Chestnut Developments Recreation Complex, Pickering, transporting me to a Stroke Division Hospital, Lakeridge Health, Oshawa.
The staff at Lakeridge Hospital were supportive and prepared to meet the ER conditions and aftermath of the stroke. My limitations are minimal compared to the average stroke patient-left hand dominant and arm affected, and I continue to work with an excellent Rehab-team consisting of an occupational therapist, neuro-physiotherapist and physiatrist, for improving my quality of life toward positive functioning qualities within the community. We need to address the research for women’s health, particularly diagnosis and continuum of care for best stroke care practices. Timing is vital in getting to hospital in a minimal timeframe, and best stroke care practices within a short timeframe are equally important for positive independence within the community.
I was a participant in the Central East Rehab Cardiovascular Program at the Pickering Soccer Dome, in 2019 and 2022, through Centenary Hospital, an equally valued program of education and exercise, vital in stroke and heart recovery with best care practices. In September 2021, a Pacemaker was implanted and in December, 2021, I experienced Left Ventricular Dysfunction-Stress Induced Cardiomyopathy, which is Heart Failure. I am currently a member of the Age-Friendly Steering Committee of the City of Pickering, a member of Corporate SHN,PFAC – Scarborough Health Network, Patient Family Advisory Council, member SHN PFAC Stroke/Cardiac, a past patient of Lakeridge Health – Oshawa, member of the CWHHA-Canadian Women’s National Heart Health Alliance, Advocacy Team, University of Ottawa, Alumni member of the Central East Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program, and member, SSAGC-Stroke Survivors Advocacy Group of Canada, a Stroke Rehabilitation Healthcare Advocate. Research regarding Stroke in women is vital as women may present differently.
To quote from recent statistics from The Heart and Stroke Foundation-“In just 3 years, Heart and Stroke has increased from 59% to 76% the number of their funded research projects that include sex and gender-based analysis and reporting-but there is more to be done”.
I will continue to bring educational programs and advocacy topics forward within our community and Province for the best stroke care practices that we can continue to provide so that patients can achieve their objectives for a healthy, functional lifestyle. Quoting from Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart-“Don’t wait for the right moment to start, start and make each moment right. ”We are defined by how well we rise when we fall”