Life after stroke: learning to live again and own your own power

By KELYN BLACKBURN Time of article published Oct 29, 2019

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Durban - AVASHNA Moodley went to bed a successful businesswoman, one who led a healthy lifestyle.

However, she woke up unable to move or speak. She could hear herself speaking clearly to family and friends, but the sounds coming out of her mouth did not match the words formed in her mind.

Moodley had suffered a stroke in her sleep that night, December 24, 2011.

She said she woke up in the morning and quickly realised that she could not move. “I had no time to get my affairs in order, to prepare my husband and children for a person who could no longer walk, talk, read or write. All I could do was cry as I had lost my speech,” said Moodley.

From being an active, hands-on businesswoman, she had become someone who could not do anything for herself. “Doctors told me I had had a stroke, and it was one of the serious kind. I owned a paramedical skincare business in City View Centre. I interacted directly with the employees on a daily basis to ensure the business ran smoothly. With the loss of speech, I had to sell the business.”

She spent 19 days in a hospital’s intensive care unit, recovering her ability to move, sit and speak.

Moodley, who has made a nearly complete recovery, has started a programme to help other stroke survivors -, Coming Home:Hospital2Home. “The reality of my situation hit me the first night back at home and over the next few days I wanted to go back to my new safe place: the hospital! I needed people to treat me as though I would recover completely. To love me not for the person I once was, but for me, as I was then. I needed to still have value and feel valued. I needed visitors to believe in me and bring their positive energy with them. I needed my family and caregivers to allow me to grow and learn at my own pace, with patience, and to own my own power. That’s what my initiative is about,” said Moodley.

Catholic priest Father Jean-

Baptiste Mpuni was 49 and at the pulpit when he suffered a stroke.

While preaching during a Monday morning church service on April 2, 2018 Mpuni felt a sudden numbness on the left side of his body. Ignoring the sensation, he soldiered on through the service, unaware that he was experienc-

ing a stroke.

“I got up in the morning and I was fine; there was nothing wrong with me. I was standing in front of the church, preaching, and then I felt something strange in the left side of my arm and leg. I could feel my body become stiff, but I tried not to show it. I continued despite what I was feeling.

“After the service, I told some of the congregation how I was feeling and was rushed to the hospital immediately,” he said.

The priest spent two days in ICU and was operated on.

He then stayed in the hospital for a further two weeks and committed himself to regaining his strength and mobility.

“It’s a sickness like others, but worse because life will never be the same again,” he added.

“I decided that I had be positive at all times within my mind in order for my body to be well. I then began to pray and pushed myself to exercise more,” he said.

The therapy consisted of cognitive, speech and physical exercises which Father Mpuni still does as part of his recovery.

The priest said he led a normal healthy life and watched what he ate, but did not exercise much.

Due to the stroke, his ministry had to take a back seat, along with the completion of his PhD in Theology.

He cannot drive, walks with a limp and has little mobility in his left leg and arm.

Mpuni believes that stroke survivors need a strong support system, as many become depressed due to the life-

altering illness.

Coming Home Support programme:


Email: [email protected]

Cell: 0835357735

Instagram: @cominghome_sa

Facebook : cominghome


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