JANET Kennedy was just 42 when one of her legs felt heavy while walking during a Pambula holiday in December, 2009.
Within minutes, the former Damascus College drama and English teacher’s speech had become just a babble and she couldn’t write her name and address on a piece of paper for her panicked partner.
“He rang an ambulance and I don’t remember much after that,” Ms Kennedy said.
“I spent three hours in an ambulance to the Canberra Hospital, where I stayed for two weeks and then I spent 10 weeks at the Queen Elizabeth Centre rehabilitation unit in Ballarat.”
Ms Kennedy was considered one of the unlucky stroke victims – she didn’t smoke and she hardly drank alcohol.
But the clot in the left side of her brain partially paralysed her right side.
“At the start, I couldn’t even remember my name. My hearing was fine, but I couldn’t speak properly and I’ve had two years of speech pathology.”
Now, Ms Kennedy speaks to other groups about her experience, including the CWA and community groups such as Apex.
On Friday, she will be in the QEC foyer between 11am and 1pm to answer questions as part of National Stroke Week.
“The more I speak, hopefully the more people can get to their doctors in time.”
As part of her talks, the mother-of-two speaks about what a stroke is, the psychological barriers, what happens if you don’t recover, the mortality rates and the changes people need to make in their lives, including reducing alcohol and salt intake and cutting back on smoking.
“Strokes are the second biggest killer after heart disease.
“The changes you make not only affect your life, but also the people around you.
“I always get a fantastic response. People come up to me and say it was really good and they’re going to go and see their doctor now.”