Mark Miller and Adrienne Baker CEO of Heart and Stroke. Miller leads a course on stroke recovery and healing in Oak Bay starting Feb. 25. (Submitted photo)

Monterey offers free stroke survivor program

Stroke survivor shares resources in seven week Heart & Stroke course

Mark Miller knows how to cut vegetables one-handed and understands the struggle of dealing with an impaired brain post-stroke. But it took a while to get there, and he wants to speed the healing curve for others.

Eight years ago, while volunteering in Tanzania, Miller suffered a stroke at the age of 46. He lost the use of his left side and had to fight the haziness in his brain for several years.

As a volunteer facilitator for the Live Well After Stroke program, he shares those experiences with others, helping stroke survivors understand there is a future, and their caregivers understand the struggles.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation program is all about connecting with resources, sharing stories and ensuring a healthy lifestyle after a stroke, Miller says.

“The nice thing about this course is that as a stroke survivor I can give them real life examples,” he says. “As someone who has survived a stroke is I can point out resources that took me five or six years to find.”

He presents the free, interactive peer support experience alongside a co-facilitator, a physiotherapist that offers yet another perspective, at Monterey Recreation Centre starting Feb. 25. It includes seven two-hour sessions once a week bring together small groups of stroke survivors and support people in a bid to prevent another stroke and explore components of health through meaningful activities and conversations.

It’s a program Miller wishes existed when he got out of hospital and began the trip back to where he is today, an active, balanced post-stroke life, despite left-side paralysis. Kayaking and canoeing remain a part of his life, though it took some time to get there.

“Mainly I think it’s a forum where people can just share,” he said. “It’s learning how to get through it from people that have got through it. You hit points … of is this worth it? I found through engineering things in a different way I live a really active life.”

For example, one fellow who attended was a former logger who just started to cry and explain how he went into the grocery store and had to leave almost immediately. Quickly his cohorts in the session listed the problems, too bright, too much stuff, too many people. The group helped him realize others not only shared similar issues after a stroke, some defeated them.

Those kinds of ephiphanies can help people become socially engaged again. It’s not uncommon for a first-time participant to share that the only person they see in a week is their homecare support.

“It’s too easy to sit and eat and watch TV all day,” Miller says. “It’s about sharing resources and ensuring you’re living the healthiest life going forward to avoid a second stroke.”

The free program for stroke survivors and their caregivers starts Feb. 25 at Monterey Recreation Centre. Registration required at 1-888-473-4636 ext 8002 as space is limited.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Good energy marks third annual celebration of welcome pole

Nov. 22 is Sno’uyutth day in Oak Bay with good energy at Windsor Park beginning at 7 p.m.

Help Polar Express and pancakes fight child hunger

Rotary of Victoria and Breakfast2Music look for event sponsors

More opioid harm reduction resources needed for B.C. youth

Front-line workers advocate for a youth-targeted supervised consumption site in Greater Victoria

Colwood’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Handmade forest grows inside Bay Centre in support of sick kids

Festival of Trees raises funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Takedown of deranged, slashing man with knife earns Vancouver Island RCMP officers bravery honour

“The members feel they were just doing their job, I have to disagree. They went above and beyond.”

Courtenay’s new council cycles to its first meeting

Councillors kick off term on two wheels to make a statement

Nanaimo billing ‘drug and theft house’ for police calls

City takes steps under nuisance property bylaw

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

Most Read