Hello, And welcome to the My Flippin Stroke Survivor blog. My name is John Van Deun and I had a stroke in November of 2008. That puts me quite a ways out with no end in sight! Because these years have not been my most favorite and as you might guess these years have been a constant cycle of ups and downs. In the beginning mostly downs. But as the years have gone by the ups have been more and more frequent. Probably due to a change in my outlook on life and my attitude. If you would like to learn more about my stroke journey please visit my blog posts from the header above. 

Who I’d like to be my audience

There are approximately 750,000 stroke survivors every year, the majority of which require physical and/or occupational therapy. The appropriate support equipment to regain functionality is also required. In addition, there is a large unmet need for rehabilitative devices for adults and children. these would allow them to function independently, such as in their home or school environment; without being dependent upon caregivers to carry out activities of daily living (ADLs). For example, the average stroke survivor who requires the use of both upper extremities will often experience loss of dexterity, strength, mobility, and coordination.  This impairment of motor neurons within the brain is a result of the stroke.

Why this blog and store

In light of this, I decided to develop my store and this blog. Mainly to help stroke survivors navigate the tricky journey they’re on post-stroke. It also gives me something creative to do. The blog was created to hopefully be a forum for survivors to interact with me and other survivors to get answers to the questions they have about post-stroke living and coping. Also, I hope to help those survivors that wish they had died from the stroke and let them know what they would be missing if that had happened. 

The store was also created to consolidate Rehabilitation equipment, tools for making activities of daily living (ADL) more doable, and tools for the one-handed. And clothes that make dressing easier.  I even threw in information on how you can make your blog or store, a good therapy in itself! You don’t need clearance for that! 

Me and My Stroke

My stroke journey is a deeply personal and transformative experience as are all strokes that I encountered, which has had a profound impact on my life. It’s a story of resilience, recovery, and self-discovery that I wish to share with others. Here are the key stages of my stroke journey, from the initial shock of the event to the ongoing process of recovery and adaptation.

My stroke journey began suddenly, without any of the usual warning signs. I found myself staring at a black spot in the lower right of my vision and it terrified me Also, I experienced weakness in the left side of my body, but no slurred speech, but I did have severe neck/shoulder ache. It was a moment of fear, confusion, and uncertainty, as I was rushed to the hospital for emergency medical intervention by my wife Mary. NOT a good idea but at the time I didn’t know I was having a stroke!

At the hospital, before being admitted a nurse noticed the left side of my face droop so I was immediately admitted and underwent a series of tests and was diagnosed with a stroke. The medical team immediately initiated treatment, which included medications to help a clot or repair a damaged blood vessel. The initial days were challenging as I grappled with the physical and emotional toll of the stroke.

Rehabilitation became a significant part of my journey. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy played a crucial role in helping me regain lost abilities. It was slow but I did make progress with the support of dedicated healthcare professionals and loved ones.

The stroke not only affected me physically but also took a toll on my emotional and psychological well-being. I experienced moments of frustration, anger, and depression as I grappled with the changes in my life and the uncertainty of the future. Mental health support and counseling were essential in addressing these challenges. My first psychiatrist wasn’t so good and prescribed Welbutrin which caused me to have a series of small seizures. I Got rid of him quickly!

II learned to adapt to a “new normal.” This included making lifestyle changes, modifying my daily routines, and accepting limitations due to the loss of my left hand and leg while embracing new opportunities. I discovered a newfound appreciation for many smaller things and an increased sense of gratitude for the many great things in my life and life itself.

One of the most significant aspects of my stroke journey was the support and community surrounding me. My family, friends, and stroke support groups provided invaluable encouragement, understanding, and a sense of belonging during this challenging time.

My stroke journey left the station 15 years ago and is still going on as I continue to work on my recovery and personal growth. I’ve learned to live with greater awareness of my health, to prioritize self-care, and to focus on achieving my goals and dreams despite

My stroke journey has been a life-altering experience filled with challenges, growth, and transformation. While it began with fear and uncertainty, it has evolved into a story of resilience and hope. By sharing my journey, I hope to inspire and support others facing similar challenges, reminding them that recovery and a fulfilling life are possible after a stroke.