Read more stories from the Browning family.

1. Please share a little about how you felt when you first realise your loved one had had a stroke?

When I heard my sister had a stroke, I didn’t  quite know what to think. I always thought strokes happened to  “older people”  and I had never realised that were so many causes of stroke. I was very emotional, and I felt extremely worried and nervous about what would happen after the stroke.

2. What questions, worries or concerns did you have at that time?

I didn’t quite know what affects it would have on my sister and if she would be the same person I had grown up with after her stroke. The main questions I wanted answered was why it had happened? what would happen now? and how it would affect her in the future?

3. What information and resources did you received that helped you understand more about Stroke?

I can’t really remember receiving any physical resources after she had her stroke that related to me as her sibling. Lots of the information I had seen was specifically related to carers and parents, which didn’t really include me. I believe that it is important for this type of information to be developed to help and support siblings and younger loved ones of family members who have had a stroke.

4. What challenges did your loved one face during their stroke recovery?

My sister struggled with fatigue which was quite hard for me to watch. She didn’t have any major physical challenges or speech challenges once her speech came back, which was extremely lucky but seeing her get so tired, need to sleep and rest after even a quiet day, was her main challenge that I noticed.

5. Did you reach out for support and talk to others about your loved one having a stroke and was it helpful?

I reached out to my friends for support, which was extremely helpful for me to be able to express my worries, feelings and get my thoughts off my chest. The hard thing was that none of my friends really knew how to react or what to say to me, but my parents did really help me with this, as they were going through the same thing as I was.

6. What advice would you give someone else about helping and supporting their loved ones in their stroke recovery?

I struggled when I first found out to ask questions, but in time I would talk about how my sister was doing and ask as many questions that would pop into my mind as I could, instead of bottling up my thoughts, worries and feelings. I would encourage others to read about stroke to help understand what has happened to your loved one and encourage others to just be there to care about and support your loved one when they feel they need you.

7. Were you aware of signs of stroke before your loved one had their stroke?

Before my sister had her stroke I had learnt about the signs of stroke whilst doing a first aid course. The acronym FAST was also taught at my school within health class, so I did have quite a good understating of the signs to look for.

8. How did the stroke affect other family members?

I think the stroke did affect my other family members, but I was not really aware of how at the time. My brother was quite young at the time of our sister’s stroke, so I think it was hard for him to understand what was going on and difficult to share his thoughts and feelings. It was hard to explain to him in a simple way why our sister may act a certain way, the fatigue or challenges she was having.

My extended family are also in the UK so I believe they struggled not being over here, they were not able to be with my sister and our family and again understanding what affects it had had on my sister when they couldn’t see her or visit was difficult.

My parents were very supportive throughout the time of my sister was in hospital and during her recovery from her stroke. I did see how very difficult and emotional it was for them both seeing their daughter have a stroke at such a young age.       

9. What other resources could have helped you at that time?

I believe that having resources that are directed at the siblings of a stroke survivor would have been helpful as many were outdated or only directed at other people trying to help. I would have loved to hear from a younger stroke survivor hearing their story and how it impacted them at a young age as I could relate this to my sister and help myself understand more about young stroke survivors.

10. What is the biggest win and positive outcome you have seen your loved one achieve since they had their stroke, that you would share with others who have had a stroke to give inspire them  and give them hope for the future?

I think my sister’s biggest achievement was definitely finishing her degree and becoming a registered nurse a few years after her stroke had happened. I think this would be inspiring to others as they can see that they can also achieve their goals even after having a stroke and that the stroke should not change where they want to be in life. My sister also started working alongside the Stroke foundation and completed a podcast that tells those about her story, how stroke affected her at a young age and also what she has achieved after her stroke. These are things that would have really helped me during my sisters stroke so i do believe it will help other sibling or younger people in young stroke survivors’ lives.

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