National Stroke Foundation
Inaugural Creative Award
Winner: Barbara Gabogrecan
A stroke and brain tumour survivor’s continuing journey of recovery
Barbara and Peter have been made Ambassadors of the National Stroke Foundation,
which is a great honour for both of them.
There were many difficult times for both me and my loved ones to cope with in the following months. However I did survive and rapidly recovered. The medical staff told me that my attitude and frame of mind is what allowed me to recover so quickly.
I decided that I would write a book to share with others facing a similar medical ordeal, what I did and how I coped with the traumatic situation I found myself in. I wanted to inspire and motivate them to use their emotions and thought process to increase the speed of their own recovery.
I also wanted the caregivers to be recognised for their importance in the recovery of a seriously ill loved one. They, too, have to be motivated and inspired.
As I say in this video, I had a real shock the day after I was admitted to hospital for the stroke. I discovered that I could not read. But I was blessed because I could still write with logic and clarity. I had been left with the extremely rare condition of ‘Alexia without Agraphia’.
As part of my tumour and stroke recovery process, I decided to set myself a huge challenge; I was determined to write a book to not only share my story but to help others suffering serious illness.
Considering I could not read or distinguish words, this did seem like the ultimate challenge I could set myself. I did not realise just how difficult it was going to be until I commenced the book. For every page I wrote, my husband, Peter, had to read it back to me so that I could assess if I actually wrote what I intended to say. It was even more difficult when I had to consider the editing notes provided by my publisher.
But, with determination, passion and perseverance, I completed my book. Even though it took two years to be published, it was so rewarding to realise that I had actually ‘done it’. We can really do whatever we want to; it is just a case of figuring out ‘how’.
Peter said, “Writing this book was the best possible therapy Barbara could have undertaken. I saw her blossom as she coped with many difficulties and was finally successful. I felt privileged to be able to help her reach her ultimate goal.”
Here is the front cover of the book; the back cover (written b y the publisher) explains how I quickly recovered from both a brain tumour and a stroke.
As an artist, I wondered if I would still be able to paint on silk as I did before my illness. While in hospital, I received a number of online orders which, I am delighted to say, I was able to fulfill.