Stroke And Stress | Darren Walker EP 49

Stroke And Stress | Darren Walker EP 49

Darren 0:00
My memory is getting better. I’m starting to retain things a little better. So that’s I want to do something on my own. So you know, that way, I can pace myself because
I’m not going to go back and do what I did before and just kill my body and just basically
say, Okay, let’s do the same thing again. You know, my life is way more important than
that. Plus, I have a five year old and a 17 year
old daughter. Intro 0:22
This is recovery after stroke with Bill gaseous helping you go from where you are to where
you’d rather be. Bill 0:29
Darren, welcome to the program. Darren 0:32
Hello, are you doing man? Bill 0:33
Doing good. Thank you so much for being on the program. And I really appreciate you making the time. I thought I’d get in touch because I really
liked your approach when I was following you on Instagram, and I really enjoyed just what
you had to say. And I thought it was a good, a good message
to share. So I’m curious to know what happened to you. Darren 0:57
Well, back on November 28, 2017, I had a hemorrhagic stroke. The basal ganglia, I can never say this still
to this day, but the basal ganglia stroke is what it basically it was, um, I was in
the bathroom at my house and basically collapsed. You know, I had suffered with migraines before
so nothing was like abnormal for me. It was just a, you know, my once a week, it
seemed like occurrence that I was dealing with feeling a little weird feeling a little
awkward. having headaches, you know, and just I collapse,
I could not move my whole right side. And I’d like, it was crazy, actually. But yeah. Bill 1:42
So you in the bathroom? Can I ask what are you doing in the bathroom? Darren 1:48
I was getting ready to take a bath. Fortunately, I was not in the bathtub, taking
a bath. When that happens, that’s probably the saving
grace there. So Bill 1:55
yeah, and when you’re home alone, Darren 1:58
I was not alone, but I was in bathroom. And it’s one of those really kind of like,
really tight space type bathrooms and the door was closed. So when I fell down, because at the time,
you know, the person that I was married to at the time, I’m no longer married. Long story, we’re not going into that. But um, she did not hear me obviously. Because I kind of fell and I kind of hit my
jaw on the bathtub on the side of the bathtub. All I remember trying to do was like I was
trying to talk and I thought I was talking but I wasn’t actually talking like my voice
was like gone. I assumed I was trying to yell and I couldn’t. So I remember trying to get to a point where
I can somehow because I could not use my right side at all. And like nothing where I said movements, I’m
trying to move my left side, literally in such a way where I can kind of kick the door
open, because I couldn’t get up enough to reach that the door and pull it in the position
I was in, I wouldn’t be able to open it anyways. And no one can hear me. So I got to the point where I kind of could
kind of get the door open just a little bit. I remember seeing my dog at the time, you
know, my dogs, not a Barker, unfortunately, dog like tries to get I’ve had a chocolate
Schnauzer at the time, and she was trying to get the bathroom, but you know, couldn’t
like get the door open enough that kept shutting every time I tried to, you know, get get enough
where I can maybe slide out somehow, you know, slide to, you know, get the attention of my
other half of the time. And the only thing that ended up happening
that made her hear me is we actually had a porcelain toilet paper dispenser, I got to
a point where I went with my left hand and tried to lean on it to lean myself up, like
kinda was getting myself up a little bit. But it actually broke off the wall. When it broke off the wall, and it shattered
when it hit the floor. That’s when, you know, she noticed something
was going on. And we’re probably talking about a 30 to 45
minute span that between me actually falling and everything happening. And then me getting to the point to where
I did something that, you know, would have grabbed my attention because there’s nothing
for me to take a 30-45 minute bath at the end of the day, I worked in the restaurant
business side come out of 15 hour day was nothing for me to do that. So Bill 4:30
yeah. So it sounded like you automatically, you
know, fight for survival? Is that how you would describe it? Because it sounds it’s sounding pretty dramatic
really quickly. Darren 4:41
Yeah, I didn’t know what was going on. I mean, like I said, I mean, all of a sudden,
my right side was just non I couldn’t do anything with that it couldn’t feel it can move it. You know, I kept trying to like, move. And I’m like, what, what is going on? You know, obviously, my left side was operational. Fortunately, I was to enough that kind of
tried to do things, but because of the way that bathrobes that, you know, it’s it, it
was impossible to get a motive around. So trying to get anything or find anything
or do anything to either get me in a position to where I can break something, throw something
in. The funny thing is the Toilet Paper Dispenser
was the last thing at that thought I was actually going to break, you know, I leaned down and
broke off the wall probably saved my life at that point in time. So Bill 5:27
yeah, so that stroke occurred or the hemorrhagic stroke occurred in the basal ganglia, what
it actually caused the structure occur. Obviously, one of the vessels broker burst. But what was behind that, you know, Darren 5:42
they said mostly hypertension due to stress. And you know, I had not really been much on
top of my blood pressure for that previous year. But before then it was never a big issue. Anytime I checked, it was decent, it was a
little high, but there’s nothing like in like, scary range. And course at that time, the blood pressure
readings were different than they were as they changed recently, they took the the normal
measurements down, you know, to the 120 range basically in before, you know, if you had
to be above like 140 and whatnot. And I was always so go, go go. And anytime I went to the doctor, my blood
pressure was pretty normal most of the time. So, but I know in the past year, I didn’t
check that much. And I’d worked a lot harder during that last
year. And there was a lot more stress going on. But with my marriage at the time and everything
else going on. I think it was just a combination of things. So yeah, lesson learned. Bill 6:37
Yeah. So as a combination of things, and nobody
ever says, I know only one thing ever went wrong in my life. And it was lucky durably. So as as doing and taking on too much. But I feel like I don’t know about you. But I felt like when I was taking on too much,
I got there very slowly. So I would add a little bit of the task to
my day, make my day just a little bit longer either, then I can squeeze that in, and then
I Well, I’ll just do that, then maybe I’ll sleep a little bit less, not too much. You know, I’m still getting, you know, six
and a half, seven hours, no big deal. You know, why am I smoking three or four cigarettes
a day, not too bad. I’m not drinking too much. And it kind of comes together in this perfect
storm of stuff. And eventually, your body says, okay, I’ve
had enough, relax. And it doesn’t know how to tell you that when
you’re not paying attention to the signs and symptoms. It just goes. Bang. So were you other than the headaches and migraines. Were you having any other signs and symptoms
that something might be wrong that you looking back on now and going? Yeah, that makes sense. Darren 7:47
Um, the occasional like dizziness, but I also that was like, into the migraines as well. But you know, that was one thing that kind
of made me feel and I would always have like a patient on this left side, you know, right
around like the back of my neck, like almost into like the lower head like mech region,
it’s hard to really show but like, kind of right around here. Towards the last maybe six months. So I mean, looking at it now. It all kind of makes sense. You know, at that time is like, Oh, I can
do it. I was the last month I was trying to finally
get my health back somewhat. I mean, I was not a very healthy person. As far as the way I ate the way I took care
of myself what I drank. I mean, people drink coffee, my coffee was
Mountain Dew. Yeah. Essentially, it was like I was almost 100
pounds heavier. At the time, too. So Bill 8:45
yeah. So when you’re working 15 hours a day in the
restaurant cooking yet? Darren 8:50
Is that what you were doing? A lot of times it was cooking, sometimes it
was running on the middle floor, I worked on Clearwater Beach, which for those it’s
worth in Florida over here, it’s a very busy tourist area. So like about seven, eight months out of the
year is really it was really, really busy. So you’re for five to eight hours a day. You’re just constant Run, run, run, run, run,
run. And then of course, we had other hotel, I
mean, restaurants on the property that I always had to go to and check out as well. So the perfect storm? Bill 9:21
Yeah. So in those 15 hour shifts in those really
long shifts. What do you do to rest, unwind, relax, nourish
yourself. I know, I probably know what you’re going
to say. But I’d love to hear what you were doing as
far as, you know, how does it they start and then what happens you know, between then and,
and when you actually end up going home? Darren 9:47
Well, most of the time, I would wake up and literally I would probably be out of the house
within 15 minutes, most mornings that I had to work, I was up the I was up and out of
the house before 5am two days a week before 3am. So and most days, at the earliest I would
get home would be like five or six o’clock, a lot of days, it would be eight o’clock,
by the time I get home, I would usually grab a bite to eat, you know, try to get unwind
a little bit do stuff around the house, because we’re usually things that needed to be done,
you know, whether it be you know, like I said, if it was cooking something for me or I usually
went and grabbed something because of time but and by the time I would get wound down
a little bit because I like said I always took a bath you know with with some of the
aches and pains I had at the time. I would probably maybe be in bed by maybe
10:30, 11 o’clock at night be up some mornings and four or five hours doing it all over again. Usually the same kind of day. Bill 10:53
Yeah, because that’s what I was doing the numbers, you know, you said you’re doing up
to 15 hours a day, there’s 24 hours in a day, that’s nine hours left, by the time you go
home, even run some of your errands, do some chores, or whatever you have to do. Man, there’s not a lot of time left for anyone
else for anything else. Is There Really? Darren 11:12
No, not at all Bill 11:14
Yeah. So you experienced a stroke, you’re in the
bathroom, the dog finally gets you out because you broke something in your partner heard
it? What happens then so you find yourself in
hospital how did that happen. Darren 11:32
Um, I actually saw the paramedics come in and try to get me out of there. And of course, I was still wedged, you could
not actually open the door the way I was wedged in the bathroom. So they kind of had to really like wedge me
out of there essentially, it’s hard to say, it’s like you almost had to turn me around
because it really was, if you open the door, it almost hits the bathtub. So I’m between the bathtub and the door. So I remember, you know, the paramedics coming
there were quite a few of them, actually. And basically, they took me on the stretcher
out of the house, I mean, into the ambulance. And I probably maybe for another two to three
minutes was kind of too because I was kind of going in and out on the stretcher. But I remember the last thing is I kind of
like maybe the aim of for like two minutes I kind of just looked up I saw clock I don’t
remember what time it was there anything and I just went out. And yeah, that was pretty much everything
else became a blur for like at least the next seven days. Bill 12:40
Seven days in hospital? Darren 12:42
Well, I was in the hospital close to a month between the hospital and rehab, but I don’t
remember anything. Bill 12:48
Wow Darren 12:48
for the first seven days. Yeah, like everything was going to complete
blur to me about what I was doing or what was going on. I mean, I was apparently conscious, but I
wasn’t really with it Bill 13:00
with it Darren 13:01
I guess would be the way to say it. Bill 13:03
That’s familiar. I remember being angry because people didn’t
visit me certain people that I thought should have come to visit me. And when I asked my wife, why didn’t they
come? She said oh no, they were there they came,
they saw you? Darren 13:17
Yes, Bill 13:17
they came on this day they came on that day. It was like, Okay, I had relatives visit from
Interstate, you know,a thousand thousand kilometers away. Which means they had flying and they had to
stay my parents and all that kind of stuff. I couldn’t remember it. So yeah, I totally get it. And it wasn’t that I wasn’t aware or conscious
at the time that they were around. It’s just that later on the memory wasn’t
there. So I couldn’t form that memory. And later on may have been you know, within
a month or two months. And sometimes even now, it’s been since you
know, my first episode, it’s been nearly seven years, it’s been more than seven years. Even now sometimes, I say stuff and my wife
says’ No, that’s not how it was. And she has to remind me because I was around
I was there, but I wasn’t really there things weren’t computing. Darren 14:11
Yeah, that’s pretty much I mean, I remember my pastor talking to me. And you know, because I asked him as like
you are there you know, what was I like? Because you know, I getting different answers
from different people at times and whatnot, because it was more than the stroke I was
dealing with at that point in time. So and that’s another story for another time. But like, all right, this guy is going to
be down the middle he’s going to tell me is like because he was the first couple of days
and like, I don’t remember anything. He goes. I’m not surprised you don’t remember everything. This is like he’s like, I thought you were
going to make it. But he’s like, I didn’t know if you were going
to make it if that makes sense. He’s like, but you were just not coherent
really to anything is like, apparently I had some seizures, and that first day too, and
whatnot. But um, it’s like you just weren’t, you didn’t
know what was going on at all. It’s like some like, okay, because I don’t
remember anything. I mean, even this day now, I don’t remember
anything about those first seven days at all. Bill 15:19
So were you? Did you need surgery to rectify the faulty
blood vessel, the broken blood vessel had that fix itself? Darren 15:28
Well, they decided that I guess because of where it was, it was too risky to go in there. And then of course, there was some brain swelling
as well. And they had to let that go down there was
a couple of different things they decided not to the actual opening, the opening in
the area of the blood vessel that had leaked was almost four centimeters. So I don’t know why or why not? Because like I said a lot of it. I did not get, of course, I’m trying to read
like the jargon of you know, the medical stuff. And I’m like, looking stuff. I’m like, What does this mean? What does this mean? What does this mean? And I, as I understand that, but yeah, I said
between the brain swelling that I was having, and where it was actually located, I guess
it was just because it was on my left region, kind of in the center left side. So unfortunately, they can go in and do that. Bill 16:26
Yeah, okay, I get that. Because for me as well, they didn’t operate
for the first nearly three years because they couldn’t, but it kept bleeding. So that’s why eventually we had to go in and
try and resolve it, you know, so it was a real, it was an opportunity to try and avoid
it bleeding. Sorry, it was an opportunity to try and avoid
surgery, but because they thought that it should rectify itself, and then it didn’t
after three bleeds, then they decided that there’s no other way. It’s more dangerous to let it keep bleeding
than it is to going the risk were far greater to my personal safety, other people’s safety
and, and so on. And it was just like a ticking time bomb. Now I know what I know, you mentioned that
you have you’re not currently with your previous partner wife? Tell me, we won’t go into details with that. And that’s okay, I get it. But how soon after did you finish rehab? So you finished rehab? And then I just want to get an understanding
of what happens, then how does it become harder on your relationship? Darren 17:36
Well, I finished rehab, I got out of rehab a couple days before Christmas. And on Christmas day, I was told that she
was leaving. So it’s really hard to tell you how hard it
is on that side. So obviously, it was harder on you know, my
mother at the time is my moms like well, you know, if no one’s going to take him and you’re
going to leave him you know, then you know, I’m going to take and you know, take care
of him and stuff. So it was basically my mom at that point in
my step father that was you know, helping to take care. And then my brother and sister were helping
as well. And then other members of my family. But basically, I can’t say how you know, it
was I mean, we get along great and everything. But I mean, she was pretty much gone from
actually probably much before I got to the hospital, honestly, so, Bill 18:25
Yeah. So I get that I’ve spoken to a few people
who have had strokes, and then the relationship broke up after that, or failed, or whatever
you want to call it. They went their separate ways. And the reason is that they tended to say
to me that things were probably going wrong from before the stroke, and then the stroke
kind of emphasizes all the things that are wrong, because then this person who you’re
struggling to have a meaningful relationship with, says like, I was probably out the door,
what am I going to do hang around now? And for what reason? And I think it’s not a bad thing that people
go or decide to go and vice versa. I know, it’s difficult for the person going
through stroke. But realistically, you know, if you think
about having somebody hang around, just because someone is unwell, and feeling guilty about
leaving, I think it’s even worse. Would you agree with that? Darren 19:19
I actually do I it’s funny, because over time is like I said, the silver lining of the stroke
and everything was the divorce actually happening? Because Would I rather just do it on my own
and get my own perception there? Or have somebody who might be bitter or, you
know, because now she’s got to take care of all this and like you said, was on her way
out the door probably or whatnot. So you know, to me, it was kind of the weird
silver lining of the stroke. It’s kind of like, Okay, you know what, it’s
not what I wanted at first, but then more I go into it, I’m realizing, oh, it’s probably
was the best thing that happened. So Bill 19:57
Yeah, it’s in a bizarre some of the things things that you look upon and reflect on and
you think, actually, that probably worked out for the best, how hard? How hard was it on your, your parents and
your siblings? Did you live near them? Or did I have to move near you? Darren 20:17
No, I live near them, we were less than an hour away from where I lived originally with
them. So it’s, that was not an issue at all. And I had a lot of family locally as well. So that wan’ts an issue my brother and sister
both were within half an hour away. So now that wasn’t an issue at all, Bill 20:35
What kind of support that you need. Now that you’re back from, or you’ve left
hospital, there was a an amount of rehab that you had to go through was there. Darren 20:44
Yeah, and at the time, I basically did home rehab, and they gave me exercises to do essentially
physical therapy, stuff. And, you know, if my mom was working, I would
have my aunt come down to help my brother come down to help to go through the different
exercises, obvious at the time, my whole right side was still numb, you know, when I was
getting out of the hospital, I still cannot pick up a fork and properly eat anything,
you know, I cannot use my right side really at all, at that point in time. So that stuff that took a while, you know,
I had those little stress balls, little things did, you know increase your hand strength
with doing a little cards on the table and trying to pick them up with my hand? You know, all that over the next few months
and stuff? And yeah, I mean, it’s that’s what I did. And you know, they led me through a couple
different exercises to look up as if the exercise that was doing something that’s so easy after
a while and whatnot, they’re like, well, let’s try to you know, get you to do other ones. But you know, the only hard part about it
is I never really gained a lot of feeling back on my right side. So my right side is still like extremely numb
like I barely feel anything in in my foot, I feel a tiny bit, in my hand, in three of
my thumb, my index finger and my middle finger, I can kind of feel but the other two, my ring
finger and pinky, I still don’t have much feeling in it. So it’s still mostly numb on this side. But there’s no pain Bill 22:18
Is there any muscle tightness, because I’m on my left side, entire left side, same I
got I’ve got feeling in my fingers and my toes, but it affects my balance because the
foot kind of doesn’t know where it is. And it doesn’t send the messages back to the
brain. Can you relate to that? Darren 22:35
Yep, completely, especially like the first four to six months, um, you know, they were
like, trying to tell me to do certain things, obviously, you know, I had my apparatuses
I had a cane, I had a walker, I had a wheelchair, when I came home, just in case, you know,
I needed any of those things. But for me, I was worried about my, my balance. So I kind of just really taught myself to
walk, it’s funny, because I almost I look like I limp, I always look like I’m having
a limp that people think I’m in pain or something and I get tell them as like, this is how I
walk so I can balance myself. Because if I try to walk normal, and just
do it like normally did, or a normal person does, I am probably going to drag my foot
or I’m gonna fall or my ankles going to roll over, essentially. So I had to retrain myself, it’s like, you
know, being a kid and learning how to walk. It’s like, I had to retrain myself, but in
such a fashion to where I kind of got my balance kind of back, but I still get those periods
of time, especially when I get tired that my balances little caddywompus for a while. So, um, but I fortunately have I tried hard
enough and walk the enough to kind of learn my triggers and my warning signs. So it’s but yeah the balance thing was definitely
a much bigger issue than it’s still a little bit of an issue now. But you know, over time, it just seems to
get better and better. But it’s still an issue, especially if I get
tired. I’ve got a I’ve got to listen to my body. Bill 24:14
Yeah, absolutely. I know exactly what that means. So tell me about what your triggers are and
what your warning signs. So people listening and watching. They’re going to, depending on what time of
the recovery there in they might be over doing it and still pushing through and then finding
themselves being really exhausted or not able to get back on their feet, at least that’s
how I kind of learned. What are you noticing a your warning signs
and your triggers for okay, settle down below to do a little bit less Darren. Darren 24:47
Well, one of the biggest things is fatigue. I mean, just just naturally, if you get fatigued,
you have the one side of your body, you can barely feel anything anyways. So if you’re getting fatigued, that side is
automatically going to do not operate the way you’re learning that you’ve learned to
really operate it. So if you get fatigued, don’t, don’t overkill
don’t overdo it. And that’s one of the biggest things that
I feel that people need to really listen to. Because we get fatigued and just as people,
we just push it, push it, push it until you know, whatever happens happens. So I would definitely say, Listen to if you’re
fatigued, take a break. There’s nothing wrong. There’s this Donna race to win. If it’s just a baby step, it’s a baby steps,
sometimes you’re going to take two steps backwards instead of a step forward. So it’s just, I just think you gotta listen
to that. But the fatigue is the biggest thing I’ve
noticed from talking to people, when they’re re learning teaching themselves, how to walk
and how to balance and how to do this. One of the biggest things I hear is fatigue,
and they overdid it, you know, and they should have listened to because they were tired. And then when they were tired, because they
were pushing it, they either had an accident or a loss or balance or something happened. So my main thing was be listen to your body. Because even though you can’t feel the one
side, you could still tell when you’re tired. You know, like I said, I don’t deal with any
pain. So it’s really awkward. Because a lot of stroke victims I’ve seen
experience a lot of pain. I don’t have the pain issue. It’s really weird. So I can’t like tell anything on pain. But just you being tired, you can still tell
when you’re tired. You can still tell when you’re exhausted. Bill 26:37
Just be be kind to yourself, I think. Be gentle to yourself. Pay attention. hey um were you left handed or right handed? Darren 26:45
Right handed. Bill 26:46
Okay. So that brings another sort of level of complexity
into the situation because everything that you do, write, eat, hold a cup, drink, whatever,
everything now, probably, you know, clean up after the toilet. Everything now is not able to be done, you
have to use your left hand which works well. But still, did you ever nearly poke your eye
out with a fork? because I had those experiences or I would go to rub my eye. I’ll go to rub my eyes and I would poke it
out. Did you ever did that? Darren 27:22
Oh, how many times I’ve scratched my eyelid going up in my eye oh goodness gracious. More than enough times now fork I don’t think
in a rehab, I got close with it one time, for some strange reason is like I was trying
to balance put it in my hand, my right hand because they had that, you know, like looks
like a giant eraser that goes around the fork and stuff so you can hold the fork. And why I had my hand up like this. And I almost kind of did stop my, once that
way. But for me mostly was just like going with
my left hand to get my you know, you know, once I started learning with the right hand,
I definitely scratched myself quite a bit. Bill 28:04
Did you ever choke yourself with the toothbrush while you’re brushing your teeth with your
left hand almost go too far? Darren 28:12
A couple of times again. Bill 28:15
I know. It sounds a bit weird to laugh at it. But really, it is funny when you when you
look back eventually learned to do those things properly. And don’t you poke yourself in less than less. But I did it so many times it was so frustrating
because now I’m dealing with a sore eye or whatever, you know, it almost wasn’t worth
it to try and rub my eye. Darren 28:36
Oh, yeah, well, it’s funny because like, like you said, you get so frustrated while you
do it. But then you look back on it. And maybe this is just me. I just kind of laugh at it. I laugh at myself if I do something funny
these days, or some or word doesn’t come out, right? Because occasionally, usually, again, when
I’m exhausted my speech sometimes will like I’ll think of a word and can’t think of it
or something will come out wrong. You know, whatnot, I just bust out laughing
sometimes. It’s just like, Oh, well, this is just me. It’s my new normal. Bill 29:05
Yeah, it’s hilarious I couldn’t agree more. So how long? Were you at a work for? had, what happened
with that? Darren 29:13
Um, well, as far as that’s concerned, I’m still out at this point, because of the issues,
the non feeling issues with the right side of whatnot, though, I think we’re finally
to the stage where I’m starting to do something on my own something that doesn’t involve me,
because all my whole career was in the restaurant industry. That’s what I’ve done. That’s what I’ve known. And they go back to that, well, that’s either
virtually impossible, or a, you know, Time Bomb, as you said earlier, it’s like a time
bomb waiting to happen, you know, essentially. So I’m trying to go in things a little bit
differently this time, slow down a little bit. Down here, you know, we’ve got where people
are notary’s down here. And you know, I want to get involved with
that and get involved in being able to marry people and stuff and something where they
call a notary signing agent, which they work with real estate, you know, down here in the
States. And so that’s something I’ve actually started
to do recently, because my memory has getting better, I’m starting to retain things a little
better. So that’s, I want to do something on my own. So you know, that way, I can pace myself because
I’m not going to go back and do what I did before and just kill my body and just basically
say, Okay, let’s do the same thing again, you know, my life is way more important than
that. Plus, I have a five year old and a 17 year
old daughter. So that more than a thing as well. So Bill 30:41
You need to be around for them.That’s one of the things that played heavily on my mind,
you know, is, you know, I was doing too many hours at work or that kind of thing. And I was doing it for the kids. Not really just for the kids. But you know, the thing that every parent
goes through, you knows, trying to put through school and feed them and clothe them and have
them happy, and all that kind of stuff. So, you know, when there’s an opportunity
to work on a Saturday or Sunday to make a few extra bucks, you did it. And then it and then it was like, okay, so
I was doing this all of all for them. And at 16 and 12, they were possibly without
the dad. And what was the point of that? Darren 31:21
Yep, Bill 31:22
you know, it’s crazy. And that makes you really reflecting and step
back. So definitely, I’ve changed the way that I
go about my work and the amount of hours that I do. I try and do less and less, as far as hours
are concern. But, but enough that, we able to cover everything
that we need to cover. And really not not worry about the silly things,
you know, because most of the stuff that I was working towards was, you know, a newer
car or a bigger house or stuff that in the end, really, I can’t do anything with I cant, take them
with me you know, when I go, all I can do is leave them behind. So it’s just crazy that that’s really what
I was aiming to achieve. And, and almost didn’t get there. So I totally relate to what you’re saying. How long ago? Did it happen? Your hemorrhage? Darren 32:17
Where about 16 months to this day. So in fact, it is okay, what 16 months in
a day or two? Yeah, so to be exact, Bill 32:26
So you still fairly early on in the recovery phase, because recovery is ongoing, but it
is still pretty fresh. How has it impacted you mentally? psychologically? Can you talk about that a little bit, has
it given you a bit of a tough time, Darren 32:47
Mentally was really tough for a while I feel like it’s getting better. I came, you know, across me, you see, you
know, on your time about my Instagram, it’s called a stroke a change. It’s something that I did recently, because
I got to a point where I realized and I was kind of like this a little bit before. But I was suddenly becoming an introvert. Like I wasn’t wanting to be around people. And if I was around people, I can only have
like a short window, and then I would just get like tired of people, or I would get frustrated
or would get anxious, or I would just get like, you know, just didn’t feel right. And you know, I’m different. Now I’m not able to get out or do the things
I want to do. But the one thing I noticed in it came down
to perception. Because I always say that reflect the reflection,
people look in the mirror all the time, your reflection is a direct representation of your
perception of how you look at things. So, you know, I got to the point where, you
know, I what helped me mentally and what helped me emotionally was trying to help lift other
people up, you know, was something I kind of had always done before. And notice, once my perception about things,
you know, I started accepting the baby steps I started, you know, welcoming it, I started
welcoming that very tiny things. They’re very little things that very little
victories, you know, and you know, I was even welcoming, the times that I didn’t have a
triumph and things I noticed once I started changing my perception of how was looking
at everything. My mental state, my emotional state became
a heck of a lot better. It’s like, for me, I felt like my place and
maybe my testimony, you know, at this point in my life was to try to help other people. And when I was helping under people, all of
a sudden, I wasn’t as anxious. I wasn’t as you know, depressed or frustrated
at things. You know, I felt like, my purpose was to start
helping, and I was never a person to speak publicly, I would have never done this 2,
3, 4, 5, 6 years ago. So it’s like, for me, it was definitely really
rough at first. But one thing I can tell everybody who is
going through who’s been, start before even if you haven’t, quite frankly, you’ve been
through something else that’s like major, you know, or catastrophe that’s happened,
you know, look for the little things. First, look for the baby steps, look for the
little things, you know, start focusing on that start focusing on the bigger things,
try to work really hard to change that perception. Because once you try to change that perception,
things get better. And it comes around for me was being selfless,
you know, really trying. And sometimes, I felt like I wasn’t unfortunately,
taking care of myself every once in a while. So every once in a while I did have to take
a step back, as like, take a break from social media take a break from talking to people
for a few days, you always need the rest of yourself, you always need to take care of
you at the end of the day. There’s no doubt about that. I’ve my emotional state and my mental states
gotten a lot better. But I think it all was because of my perception
changing, and everything and whatnot. And I noticed as I’m helping more people,
I’m seeing people I’m helping motivating people. And for me, you know, if I just say one thing,
or just get one smile out of one person, then to me, I feel like I’ve done something good. Bill 36:26
Yeah. Interesting. So do you feel like you had a really like
an awakening moment that you actually noticed this? If I’m doing this as opposed to what I was
doing in the past, I’m feeling better about myself, etc? Because I did exactly what you’re saying. In 2013, I started public speaking about stroke,
raising awareness, etc. But I didn’t realize that it was helping me
but I just kept doing it. And it was bizarre, because now I know now
and we’re seven years down the track. But back then it was just instinct, I suppose. I don’t know did did you actually have that
awareness that this is actually helping me I’m going to keep doing more of that. Darren 37:11
Well, for a while I didn’t I mean, you know it was really weird. And my aha moment kind of became about a month,
month and a half before I started because I had my personal Instagram for the longest
time. And, you know, I started the a, a stroke of
change. But that happened about a month and a half
after my aha moment. And essentially, it became a couple of things. I started doing group messages with my personal
Instagram, to people and not just like stroke victims, because at that time, you know, there
were a few people in the stroke community I talked to write on a regular basis and whatnot,
but I wasn’t as connected with it, then, as I was at that point, as I am now. So for me, when I started doing these group
messages, I’m like, you know, just basically saying, you know, you’ve got you are good
enough, you know, you mean something you matter. You know, I had so many friends that were
depressed, there were, you know, some I feared were suicidal and stuff. So I kind of took my perception, and also
likened it all around a life. As I said earlier, it’s not just even if someone’s
going through stroke, I wasn’t just looking for that I was looking for anybody struggling. And over time, you know, I got a couple of
these messages that, you know, thank you, you’ve really helped blah, blah, blah. But I got a message out of nowhere. This is about little more than a month before
I started the one Instagram page. That was basically this long message about
how inspiring I was. And I, I didn’t realize any, I’m just sitting
here helping somebody, like I said, if I can make someone smile with like, that was that
was good enough for me. You know, I’ve always been good at talking
to people, I was pretty much people like, I was the Dr. Phil of our group at times. and stuff. It’s weird. But you know, yeah, and it didn’t just happen
once it happened a couple more times. And then next month, and in two cases were
people I never even talked to, like, at all. And then I got this through Facebook a couple
of times, too. And so it’s like, over time, I’m like, Okay,
so what I’m doing, you know, my perception that I’ve got here, you know, I guess now
here’s the reflection part of it. You know, it’s people are noticing it. I mean, cuz for a while, I’m like, I’m just
doing this to do this. I mean, do people really notice that they’re
really making a difference, but I’m going to keep doing it. Because it’s me. I mean, that’s how I’ve always been. So when they’ve changed it, but all of a sudden,
there was like that month period, where just kind of all like, out of nowhere, starting
to come in on I realized is like, oh, OK, I am doing something. I didnt believe and think was that inspirational
to anybody? I’m just me, you know, so but you know, so,
for me, that was my aha. Bill 40:03
That’s amazing, man, that that’s amazing. Because it’s similar to what I experienced. Isn’t it Really? What’s the word? Excellent. I’ll use the word excellent, isn’t an excellent
that the first thing that most people do when they have the ability to feel better, and
get on their feet, etc, is to reach out. And when they’re going through the toughest
time in their life ever, they reach out, and they want to help other people in the community
that went through something similar to them. That just blows me away, that, you know, you
go through the worst time with the worst day of your life, when you have a stroke, and
any other illness, let’s face it, when you get diagnosed with something terrible, whatever
it is, and that’s okay. But it’s like, and then you go, oh well, how
can I help other people, there’s the most bizarre thing, but I happens over and over
and over again. Darren 41:03
Yeah, it’s like when you when you hit rock bottom, you really don’t want anybody else
to have to hit that. Or, or if if you see somebody there, you suddenly
want to try to pick that person up. You know, and it’s, it’s just, that’s because
you’ve seen rock bottom, you’ve seen basically, death, almost flashed in front of your eyes,
in your opinion, you don’t want to see anybody else, they’re so angry. Bill 41:28
That’s such an amazing thing that you know, the human condition, you know, and I call
myself a better version of myself, no, not not a better person, because I was always
a good person. But I call myself a better version of myself,
because I’m noticing more and more that I’m doing these things. And it’s not thinking about it, I’m not making
myself do it, it’s just, I think it’s our default, it’s the human default is to try
and lift people up and help people and do all those types of things. And I see so many times, you know, it’s really,
really heartwarming, I really enjoy seeing people do that, and 99.9% of the people that
you’re posting to, or supporting, etc, don’t actually say thank you, they may not be ready
to be thankful, or they may not be aware that they will feel great when they thank somebody
etc. So it’s way bigger than the one or two or
three people that contact you and say thanks, there’s so many more people may that adjust
accepting your message and your wisdom, and they just lapping it up and lapping it up. And it’s making a difference to them. And therefore, it’s making a difference to
their family and friends and the people that they interact with every day. It’s just going around the globe. So people listening, if you are loving this
conversation, at the end of it, drop me and Darren a line, you know, I’ll put the links
there for you to get in touch with Darren on Instagram, and wherever you can be contacted
and drop us a line and tell us that you loved what we did, we really going to appreciate
it. Darren 43:10
And like I said, you know, I’m always here to help anybody to talk to anybody to have
an ear for anybody. I mean, that’s just how I’ve, you know, always
been and I’m willing to help anyone out in any way that I can. Because like I said, I’ve been there if I
can help somebody who either not get there, or somebody who’s been there, have some hope,
you know, that’s what I shoot for. Bill 43:36
Yeah. I love that how people not get there is really
the best approach. And that’s kind of what I try and do raise
awareness about prevention. But that’s a tough, that’s a tough gig man. Because Darren 43:49
Yeah, Bill 43:50
I don’t know about you. But I wouldn’t have listened to anyone tell
me how to prevent stroke when I was 36. And I just literally a few months before my
stroke at 37. What about you? Would you have paid attention to somebody
tried to help you prevent stroke? Darren 44:06
Probably not. I probably like oh I’m fine you know, cuz
before it happens to you, you think you’re invincible, essentially. I mean, you think nothing’s gonna happen to
me. I’m okay. You know, and obviously looking back at pictures
and looking back at everything now. It’s like, what was wrong with me? I should have listened to somebody you know,
at that time, because Did I hear it talked about that? I hear people talk about things that can happen
to you. If you let yourself go and stuff. Yeah, I did. But like you said, I wasn’t listening at that
age. Bill 44:40
Yeah. So what are the some of the things that you
need to do now? So and what? And I know you’re not on here asking for help,
but what do you need help with, I suppose, to get you back? Darren 44:57
Oh, hell, you know, honestly, comeradery. See, there it goes the word, comeradery community,
just, you know, people to be good to each other. I mean, honestly, for me, you know, to have
good friends that have people to lean on to have a community a lean on, that’s what, you
know, stroke communities really good about, especially since I started the stroke of change
page. You know, I’ve started talking to quite a
few people, I’ve had people reach out to me, and to me, community is a big thing for me,
because, you know, there’s still those moments emotionally and mentally, you know, I have
not dated or been in a relationship, you know, since any of this either. So, you know, there’s still those things,
you’re like, wow, can I do that the same way, or people going to look at me the same way
or whatnot. So it’s nice to have the community for certain
things I know will probably come up at some point or, you know, I may think, well, am
I not going to be able to do or whatnot, because we’re only human at the end of the day. So you know, it’s nice having that community
and I’ve been fortunate enough that I have that community of people, again, not just
the stroke community, but the stroke community, especially to highlight you know, we’re very,
where people that try to be motivating to everybody, and we try to be there and we reach
out for everybody, and I absolutely love it. So, to me, really the simplest thing for me,
it’s just community, I’ve been blessed. I’ve been lucky and blessed to make it, you
know, to where I have been, you know, I’m, honestly, if I deal with the whole left side
numbness if I deal with this slight issues that I still have or whatnot, I’m here I’m
alive. Bill 46:45
Yeah. Yeah. Sounds familiar, man. That’s awesome. I am. Tell me about the kids that age differences. quite large, you know, 17 to one was a 4? Darren 46:56
5. Bill 46:59
How did they cope with all of this? How did your 17 year old cope with this? And then I imagine your five year old was
kind of a little bit on aware, but what did you notice? Darren 47:12
With my 17 year old, she kind of held it in and was kind of quiet about it for a while. And you know, then she took about like, four
or five months before we had like a talk about it, and stuff. But she’s actually handled a lot better, you
know, a lot our conversation, she’ll sit there and, you know, tell me you through everything
that you’ve went through, you’ve shocked me, you know that you’ve come out the way you
have thinking the way you have stuff like that. She’s handled it pretty well. The ironic part of it is the five year old
who at the time was three at the time. That was what saved my life. was on my end, sorry, she was she was for
the time sorry. She, I did not see her TV, the hospital well
actually I was in the rehab hospital the time, almost three weeks, and I had not seen her. And you know, she was there. I was told she wasn’t there. But even she was the first seven days I wouldn’t
have remembered anything from it. And I literally sat I heard somebody yell,
Daddy, as she comes running from the door, yelling daddy in literally goes there and
gives me a hug. And she handed me this like drawing like cuz
she just stick figures and stuff, obviously. But I had daddy and it had been at a house
and blah, blah. But I mean to be it’s funny because I, people
sometimes again, we’re going to say an aha moment. Or sometimes these moments for me, you know, I feel like it was like, I kind of woke up
a little bit. Because at that point, I was not, I couldn’t
tell you three words that begin with the letter B. I could not, you know, tell you anything
simple, I can tell you an animal that belonged on a barn. You know, these are stuff they told me afterward
and whatnot. And I wasn’t even supposed to originally leave
before Christmas. So that was the other thing. And I remember one of the doctors that telling
me I kind of just woke up started waking up a little bit. When my daughter came, like, literally and
I tell people is like I really truly believe it was like a God thing at that moment in
time that, you know, she was put right there at that time. And it was just like, everything’s gonna be
okay, here you go. This is one of the main things you got to
strive for, you got to live for you gotta do it for Here you go. It was like, you know, people say they see
the light or whatnot. But for me, it’s like, you know, seeing and
hearing my daughter, I mean, everything just got instantly better for me Bill 49:58
Yeah I really are do i do credit my recovery to my wife, of course, she was amazing. At that time, she just took on a task that
she wasn’t ever meant to take on. And I’m very grateful for that. But the children is what made me realize,
you know, I had this, I had this moment where I thought, what would they think of me if
I passed away? Would they have been, you know, you know,
they would have loved their dad. But that that was a bit of a bastard, or the
dad was a bit of a prick or angry or whatever. What would I have thought of me if it all
ended then. And when I did that reflection, I really didn’t
like what I thought they would think of me. And I’m not saying that I was a terrible dad
was a great dad. But I was an angry dad, I was just tired dad
I was a frustrated dad I was acting, I was acting out because I made it so important that everything that
I needed to do was the most important thing in the world, you know, I needed to get this
job done. And then to get paid for this. And then to do that. And then when I reflected on how they would
have thought of me is when it made me start to say I love you more hug, them more apologize
more. And not only to my kids, but to my wife and
the people around me that I know, have put a lot of time into me and being my friends
and family and what have you and put up with my you know, my cranky side, you know, when
I was cranky. So now I’m not saying I’m not cranky, and
I’m not saying I’m perfect. And I’m not saying that everything goes smoothly. But now when I do it, I do have this massive
moment of reflecting and going, Oh, well actually I misbehaved then or that wasn’t appropriate,
I think I need to go and rectify that by apologizing for my behavior and telling them that I love
them and giving them a hug. And I think that has created a much deeper,
much more heartfelt relationship with my family then then I had before, which is the massive
true blessing here because like your 17 year old, my son now is 22 and 18. But we are starting to now grow these kids
into amazing people because they’ve had these deep, meaningful conversations that are about
truth. And they’re about honesty, and they’re about
everyone is allowed to say whatever they feel without being judged, because they feel something,
it’s just about being able to share and be true and open up, right. So I can really relate to your, you know,
your 17 year old holding it in for a while because they want to be strong for dad, they
want to make sure that you’re not worrying about them. But really, they’ve been affected, you know,
deeply, you know, at a real sort of, you know, at a level where, you know, we can’t even
imagine. So it’s great that she was able to now come
back to you and start sharing about the journey that she’s on with her dad, you know, being
in the situation. Has it? How has, how has your conversation with her
changed? Darren 53:35
Um, well, the first I’ll say like, five months before that time, you know, our conversations
were really, almost non existent. I don’t know if it, she just didn’t know how
to approach it at a time or whatnot. But now, you know, it’s like, almost like
nothing ever happened in a weird sort of way. But at the same time, it’s also like, Hey,
you know, my dad almost died. And her um, Her grandfather also had a stroke
about 17 years ago. So she knew what her grandfather went through. So, and like, she was just a baby, when he
had his stroke, she was literally a few months old. So you know, she’s kind of been through it
once, but he survived. He’s done very well with it, fortunately. So our conversations, I it’s weird, because
I think it’s like, we’re much more appreciative of the time we have together. So you know, you can tell it, there’s definitely,
you know, a difference in attitude, I guess, would be the word for, for everything, you
know, now we know, it’s a realization now that time is actually finite instead of infinite. So, Bill 54:59
yeah, I really love that that way. That’s a really awesome way to end the podcast. And in a moment, when we end itthis will have
been one of the you know, man I relate to all of the podcast but, this will be one of
the ones that I really do relate to end get because of this, you know, situation with
the children and how, you know, you’ve come out of being, you know, the same guys made
the guy that just went out of your way to do as much to make as much money as possible
to bring home as much, you know, in a way love as possible, to support to help out to
grow, to develop kids, and all that kind of stuff at almost at your own peril. And I know parents do that everywhere, all
over the world, that’s what parents give their lives for the children, but it’s not worth
it’s not worth giving your life for your children, it’s better to be here for the children and
having a dollar less or, or, or an older pair of shoes or you know, whatever, so that we
can be around for longer and experience these times. One of the most valuable things for me, is
time. And people give me their time. I am forever grateful for that. So on that note, mate thank you for sharing
your story. And thank you for your time. I truly, really truly appreciate it. And I wish you well I’ll follow you on Instagram
and I hope to continue to grow you know help you grow your community by being active in
it. And I wish you all the best and give my love
to everybody your family and everyone who’s been through a tough time with you because
tell them that without them we couldn’t do it. So I really appreciate them for helping you
be here Darren 56:55
Yeah, thank you and now obviously send the best on your end as well. You know, I you know, if it wouldnt be for
your wife and your children. You know, they’re obviously big reason you’re
here the way you are to and stuff so, you know, we always have appreciate the ones who
love us through the toughest times. Intro 57:12
Discover how to support your recovery after stroke. Go to Transcribed by

Comments (1)

  1. Thank you for this. Since I had a hemorrhagic stroke (parietal and occipital lobes) last May I have longed to connect with and learn the stories of other stroke survivors.

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