The Peel Stroke group was originally called PHYSS. Here is a brief description of PHYSS.
The Peel Halton Young Stroke Survivors Group was founded and created in 2007 with help from the Ontario Stroke Network, along with stroke survivors themselves. The idea of this group is to educate, socialize, and create awareness.
PHYSS is a place where all young stroke survivors, their family members, friends and caregivers can get together, mingle, and discuss stroke prevention, rehabilitation and future goals and ideas. There are guest speakers, workshops, a monthly a walk n roll club, movie nights and outside events such as summer brunches and Christmas lunches.
PHYSS regular monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of every month from 6:30-9:00p.m. located at Sunrise Senior Living, 4046 Erin Mills, Parkway, Mississauga (Erin Mills Parkway above Burnhamthorpe). Please check our calendar to verify the details of our meetings.
PHYSS welcomes all new members, so please feel free to call 416-425-3463 EXT:7715 or e-mail email@example.com, if you are interested in taking part in a meeting. Also, you can also join our Face Book group:
www.facebook.com/groups/physs/Peel Stroke group
You may feel more comfortable just receiving information via e-mail, or simply coming to the meetings. No matter what your comfort level is, we will accommodate your needs to the best of our ability.
We look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you from the members of the Peel Stroke group.
Paul Masotti’s stroke story:
It was Saturday, my friend’s daughter was getting married. I was excited! On the way to the wedding, Linda (my wife), was terrified. She was yelling at me to pull over. I just kept driving, reassuring her that I was fine. Linda wanted to leave after the speeches were done. She called Paula, (my daughter), to meet us at the wedding reception because she insisted that “Paul is not driving.”
DENIAL! “I’m alright, leave me alone!.” If I said it once I said it a thousand times. I locked myself in the bedroom. Linda and Paula know something was wrong with me.
They called Nevis (my sister), to come and take me to Brampton Civic Hospital, since I was ignoring them. Finally we went, yet still I was insisting that I was fine. I sat fumingly waiting in the emergency room saying to myself that I should not have been there. The next thing I know, there’s a room available and Linda was putting my clothes away in a locker and said “goodnight.”
Monday morning at 7:00 am, I pulled the IV out of my arm, packed my clothes and said goodbye to the nurse’s station and walked home. It was almost 8:30 am when I arrived on my street. It was there when a funny thing happened. I didn’t know my house! Luckily Paula was taking Matthew (my grandson), to catch his school bus. By this time, my legs were very weak and I couldn’t speak.
BACK TO BRAMPTON CIVIC HOSPITAL!
At the hospital, I found the help to start my recovery. The staff, as a whole, was excellent.
As for the doctors, I can only remember Dr. V. He was the most compassionate man that I have ever met. Thank you Dr. V.
The therapists were very dedicated, focusing on my brain. Simple things I took for granted were difficult and led to frustration, anger, and confusion. They are emotions that are still evident in my life today.
The speech therapist (Devon), and mostly her assistant (Heather), played a huge role in my recovery. At first, I didn’t like Devon because she would always count how many mistakes I made. It frustrated me because in my mind I was speaking perfectly. This is
Aphasia. Heather just let me ramble on and we had a few laughs along the way. Thank you so much Devon and Heather.
The occupational therapist (Iris), made sure that I could shower, cook, and clean up myself. Iris also tested my ability to walk around the hospital without getting lost. Thank you Iris.
The physical therapists (Sheila, Jodi, and Heather), helped me walking and using the stairs. They all encouraged me to use the pedaling machines every day. Thank you Sheila, Jodi and Heather.
The nurses and assistants were mostly always friendly and courteous. Thank you to everyone.
During my recovery I was asked by a young lady to join a recreation program for an hour. The program was supervised by Chris but operated mostly by a university intern, Amanda. My first hour was uneventful and rather boring just playing the wii. Amanda suggested I look in the closet for something I would enjoy. This introduced me to the world of scrabble. I was so proud moving letters around to make words. Soon after, other patients joined the game. It became social hour where we would talk about sports, religion, politics or anything else. Chris and Amanda arranged a scrabble tournament on a Saturday for 8 patients. It was a blast!
Thank you Chris and Amanda. I really have a warm spot in my heart for Amanda. A polite but driven intern that goes the extra mile. I’m sure you’ll have a successful career.
When I left the hospital, Devon suggested joining the Halton Aphasia Center (HAC), and the Peel Stroke Survivors (PSS).
THIS CHANGED MY LIFE!
Let’s begin with HAC. I was a member for 5 months. I would not talk publicly for fear and ridicule. I only talked at home or the stroke groups. I know what I want to say in my head but the words come out differently. This is aphasia.
Many factors interfere with smooth communications. Talking to fast, two or more people talking at the same time, large groups, or being in a small room with lots of people. Commotions and noise are also factors that hinder good communication. Every day, I witness the above factors and get frustrated very quickly. Many factors equate in promoting effective communications. Examples include: people talking slowly and if I don’t understand I ask them to please repeat it again but slowly; Having only one person speak to me, while
I concentrate on lip movement; Having a paper and pen are mandatory when dealing with aphasia disability. All good factors are standard procedures at the HAC. I felt mostly appreciation for HAC making me talk regularly. It gave me confidence. After the 5th month, I had the opportunity and confidence to be interviewed at Rogers TV for a stroke survivor story. My talking has improved to the point that my main hurdle has been conquered. After giving notice and sincere gratitude to HAC for achieving my goal, I left proudly or so I thought. A month later, Francis (HAC), called me asking if I would consider a volunteer position, I agreed without hesitation. So I am now honored to still be associated with them. Thank You Halton Aphasia Center.
Let’s conclude with PSS. Great people with positive attitudes. When I joined, my feelings were at an all time low. I saw many obstacles the members overcome without complaint. The co-chairs Naren (since has moved on), and Jane were very influential in my life.
Naren was (too) cheery and had a happy-go-lucky attitude way of life. Anger free and excited about his life. It’s now what I want for me. Thank You Naren.
Jane is a positive influence for our whole family. She suggested the senior home and now Linda and I are regulars. She helped Paula find things for Matthew to do. She has a heart of gold. Thank You Jane.
Our PSS group offers aphasia class once a month. This could not be achieved without the generosity and co-operation of speech therapists Devon and Lindsey who donate their experience and time. Thank you Devon and Lindsey.
Our PSS group also visits Brampton Civic Hospital and West Park Facility approx. once a month, seeing new stroke survivors. Usually Jane, Anthony (PSS member), and I share our stories. I’m hoping our feelings coincide with theirs.
We try to convey to them that life is not over but different. After a stroke you’re not the same person you were before but its about accepting and adapting to the new you. Every stroke has different obstacles, physically or mentally, with different degrees of severity. Jane, Anthony and I hope to reach or help as many survivors through our stories. It’s mutually beneficial, they thank us and we thank them. We really help each other. When I look into their eyes, I see the same fears and concerns I had in June of 2011. If I had a passion in this world, this is as close as it comes to being it. Helping other survivors.
Through PSS, Linda and I were invited to a March Of Dimes convention.
IT CHANGED MY WAY OF THINKING!
The convention had many workshops, topics, and guest speakers. It was Forrest Willett who had a profound affect on me. He was the key speaker, retelling his story to a packed room. He talked about his book, “Baseballs Don’t Bounce”, (a must read). Although I can’t read, I was mesmerized by the detail he went through, I was constantly nodding to Linda. It’s the same story, same anger, same depression, and same hopelessness. When he finished his speech, he asked if there were any questions. I put my arm up immediately. Out table was so close, sitting about 6 feet from him, I asked “You had 4 years to get over and accept it, I’ve been a year and a half and I cant do it. How did you do it?” His advice helped me, sort of! With aphasia disability, words are just words if you don’t know the meaning of them. I have to really thank Dr. Master for defining Forrest’s words so that I could understand. Forrest Willett advised:
1. Today forget yesterday. (Look Forward)
2. Do one good thing everyday for yourself
3. Do one good thing everyday for family
4. Do one good thing everyday for strangers
Forrest says “If you do approx. 1000 good things a year, good things will happen to you.”
I feel better. I’m happier when I awake. I do steps 1,2, and 3 everyday and now step 4. Thank you Forrest Willet and Dr. Master.
Paula found a scrabble group for me to join on Wednesday nights. Its run by Shan and attended by many excellent players who offer me advice when they see my mistakes. Scrabble has really enabled me to broaden my vocabulary and familiarize myself with words that I use frequently. Thank you Shan and the scrabble members.
All strokes, like snowflakes, are always completely different. No two are the same.
Starting over again sure wasn’t in my grand scheme of things at my age. Aphasia is a brain disability that controls your moods,
depression, and stress actions and even your life. How you cope with situations can help or worsen your disability.
My stroke didn’t only affect me. It put Linda, Paula and Matthew into a different position. The strength showed by them helped me. I cant live without them. I love them.
Thank you to all who helped me.