Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Local stroke survivors laud ‘MOST’ program

Three stroke survivors from Rainy River District have learned about strategies to manage the daily challenges of living with a stroke after completing a program called “MOST” (Moving On after Stroke), which was offered via teleconference through St. Joseph’s Care Group in Thunder Bay.
“The first month it was hard to talk about your problems,” said Melvin Jourdain, noting since they were linked into connections in Kenora and Thunder Bay, they were discussing personal issues with strangers.

“But after a while, I got used to people and opened up more,” he added.
“So now I’m going to miss it.”
“I thought a lot about what’s happened to me . . . and now I know everybody had a problem,” remarked Clint Sisco.
“And I came here and met a couple of people who were in the same way.”
Sisco admitted he didn’t think the program was for him at first.
“I said I’ll go again next week, I’ll go again next week, and pretty soon I had gone through the whole thing,” he remarked.
“And I think I learned.”
Wilma Chapman, meanwhile, enjoyed the program, noting it “was all fun.”
The trio had been meeting weekly since September, participating in more than 20 sessions to tackle subjects such as self-management of health and how stroke affects the way your feel.
Other topics included goal-setting, relaxation, having fun and enjoying recreation, nutrition, pain and sleep, alternate therapies, and community resources—to name a few.
There even was a session where family and friends were invited to participate.
Each session ran for two hours, with the first hour being discussion and the second hour focusing on exercise.
“Recovery from stroke can be a long, uphill journey requiring determination, commitment, and a strong dose of courage,” said Marilyn Erwin, the stroke prevention clinic nurse.
“The latest graduates from the ‘MOST’ program held here in the Fort have exhibited all of these qualities to reach their graduation day,” she noted.
Jourdain said he learned a stroke affects different people in different ways.
“I was paralyzed all on one side,” he recalled. “I was lying like a rag—just useless.
“That’s what I thought I was.”
His recovery has included learning to walk and talk again.
All three said the “MOST” program was helpful.
“I would recommend it to others,” Chapman said, citing goal-setting as being helpful.
“We set our own goals,” she noted.
“She [the co-ordinator in Thunder Bay] wrote them down and then next week she’d ask if we completed that goal,” explained Jourdain.
“It inspired us to try our best.”
“We inspired each other,” echoed Chapman. “It was the group support.”
Despite the program wrapping up last Thursday, the local stroke survivors want to continue to meet—perhaps once a month.
“I’m so excited,” Erwin enthused. “I didn’t even suggest it—it came from them.”
She’s hoping it will be the start of a local support group for stroke survivors.
“The stroke prevention clinic encourages anyone who has had a stroke, even as long as 10 years ago, to contact them if interested in making use of this excellent program,” Erwin added.
She noted it also runs a shorter local program, with no exercise involvement, in the spring.
In order to participate in the “MOST” program, which runs once a year, the individual has to have completed therapy due to the physical component of it.
For more information, call 274-3261 ext. 4542.

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