Barbara Gabogregan

Thank God I had a Stroke

19th May 2011 started off as an ordinary day. Some shopping, meeting the neighbour’s new dog, her duties as carer for her 90 year old mother and then the tell tale signs of a stroke. An ambulance trip and a confirmatory scans also confirmed the existence of a brain tumour. Barbara’s diagnostic journey had began. An avid reader and writer, her neurological symptoms indicated limitations on her ability to read but her writing was unaffected. Following her surgery and discharge from the Monash Medical Centre, a busy lady set about creating new goals. She wrote her biography of her experiences (Thank God I had a stroke) notwithstanding her inability to read the text which she wrote. Therapy provided limited improvement in translating emails but comprehension was limited and her memory was impaired. Further challenges emerged with regard to her hearing and a diagnosis of macular degeneration. It was important that she set goals and worked towards their achievement. She had built websites and created training videos and returned to these. Whilst she might be slower, she believes that her improvement is nothing less than remarkable. In particular, she wanted to develop two of her websites. One is on silk painting and the other on Dog Training and Tricks. 12 months after her stroke, an agreement was signed to publish her story. Her clinical diagnosis (Alexia) is rare and she has participated in meetings with surgeons to tell her story. Her strength comes from a positive attitude to sharing with others her personal journey. A vote of thanks was presented by Chair Ruth.

Reporter – Barrie Williams 16th April 2014