I am a two-stroke survivor. I had my first one when I was 25 while living in New Brunswick. My stroke affected my left side. It took me 2 years to learn how to walk again, without the need of an AFO or cane at the time. I moved to Kingston and then in 2012 I had my second stroke, which affected my left side again. This time the stroke did more damage and I needed an AFO and cane to enable me to walk.
When I was first told I would not be able to walk unless I wore a brace, it was very scary. My first brace felt foreign and uncomfortable and I actually went home and cried for a few hours. I wanted to walk though.
Now, seven years later, I have had five different AFOs and I have learned that not all brace designs work for every patient. I have a high tone, and I walk everywhere, so braces would break often. I am eternally grateful for meeting AJ at V2innovations. He worked with me over the past two and a half years and has designed braces that have put a smile on my face and has made me feel safer.
If I don’t wear my brace I am not able to walk and need to be in my wheelchair which is not an option for me – walking is my obsession.
I do volunteering at Queens with occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and nursing students and I even mentor students in my home – showing them the challenges I face first hand. I also do pet therapy at Providence Care Rehabilitation hospital with my dog, Turbo.