The experience of a stroke is devastating at any age, but when Carole Laurin experienced a stroke aged 42, her life changed forever.
Nine years on, Carole has released ‘When Stroke Meets Trust: A Journey of Inspiration.’ The book chronicles the immediate aftermath of her stroke, which left Carole half paralyzed and unable to continue in her teaching career. Carole’s battle with hemiplegia resulted in her attending more than 400 medical and therapy appointments in the first year of her recovery, and learning to complete many everyday tasks such as climbing stairs, making breakfast and getting dressed that we all take for granted.
Carole’s journey really is remarkable and the book is a highly personal look into not only Carole’s life after her stroke, but that of her dedicated family and friends.
The book translates the lessons learned from surviving hemiplegia and hemiparesis and how they can be used to overcome any type of adversity. Sections are dedicated to reevaluating your life, and how you can become a better person. The age-old principles of being patient, showing gratitude, being positive, using visualization and random acts of kindness are all discussed, and this reinforcement really brings things into focus! The simple act of holding a door for someone or just smiling can really change and brighten someone’s day.
I first met Carole in 2013, and her positive outlook on life was immediately apparent. Carole truly is one of the bravest individuals that I know, and reading her journey back to health is one of the most inspiring stories that you will hear.
Carole participates in speaking engagements across Canada, and her book launch tour recently began in Ottawa. The tour will soon be coming to Winnipeg and Toronto. Check out some of the media coverage here.
I recently spoke to Carole about the process of writing the book and what she plans to do in the future.
What were the challenges you faced when writing the book?
Journaling through my recovery was a challenge, but it provided me with the internal push I needed to start the book.
Writing was also challenging for me given my stroke. Because of my cognitive deficits, structuring my thinking was more difficult and it took much more time than it would have taken otherwise. With perseverance, and the help of an author and editor, it eventually all fell into place.
I found that meditating before writing really helped me out, and the strong message of writing was motivational even when my confidence was low. I also drew on my faith to complete the project.
How do you hope the book positively impacts upon lives of others?
The stroke survivor community doesn’t have many strong voices because so many of them are elderly or severely compromised by their stroke. Many have lost their voices, literally. Others like me have compromised cognition and struggle to share their experience, as I often do. Through my book, and as a speaker, I want to inspire the public; family members and heath care providers to understand the stroke experience from the inside. My hope is for stroke survivors to feel better understood, to have a better quality of life, and to have access to better care.
What does the future hold for you?
I want to write a second book about the lifelong journey of being a stroke survivor, and also a fiction book!
I’d also like to record and release a series of videos that provide practical help and advice to individuals like myself who need to perform tasks like cooking a meal or using gadgets with one hand.
I’m also committed to continuing my partnership with health care providers, policy makers, the academic community, the HSF Canadian Stroke Recovery, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and local stroke survivors associations to continue to find ways to support stroke survivors.
My goals are to inspire stroke survivors to not give up, and to be a voice for stroke survivors and to ultimately improve their quality of life.
Find out more about Carole here, and follow her on Twitter here.