My before and after

My names Mark Collins and i am an Alchoholic…
I am so sorry it was the 1st thing i thought of… " i do apologise"
If you laughed i maybe in the right place…

Hello " again "
My name is Markus
(This maybe a long 1)
On 20th December 2020 during lockdown i suffered a mild/minor Stroke I was in the garden talking to a friend in our gazebo when all of a sudden which i can only explain as the most piercing pain i have ever had in my head above my right eye I decided to come in the house and sit on the sofa (felt like knitting needles being twisted through my head). When the pain dulled a little i shouted my wife who was cleaning the bedrooms she shouted " whats wrong and how many beers have u drank " my reply was “none” so i sat back down.

my youngest daughter asked could she have a snack as she wanted go out with her friends and wanted something quick. As i got up i fell to the floor (something wasnt working) i got up and drunk walked into my kitchen I opened the cupboard with my right and went to grab the tin of beans with my left. Well my hand to eye took a day off and i totally missed it by about 8 inches i used my right hand and tin of beans in hand I decided my daughter was better doing the rest and sat down.

My speech cleared up within a couple of days in a manner of speaking but that tin of beans with my left hand baffled me (didnt know i had a stroke so didnt contact gp and thought must be covid) pretty thick eh…! I decided a day later grab a tin of beans. Took the tin out with my right hand and put it on the kitchen surface (easy peasy) picked it up with right hand again and again easy I then went to grab with my left and again missed I tried this for about an hour. Tried right hand picked it up every time tried my left hand and again missed everytime by about 8 inches. For the next month this went on for atleast an hour a day and it got to the point where i am screaming at myself in the kitchen at my left hand " what the f*** you doing this is simple s*** you have done this a thousand times so do what the f****** right hand is doing" then which was like a bolt of lightning my wife said " you may of had a stroke" my answer to that was “dont talk s***” anyway phoned the gp and before i knew it i was lay in an MRI Scanner before i could say boo to a goose.

“Yes i had a stroke” at 47 caused by my genetic heart defect as i have bicuspid aeortic valve and it sent a small blood clot to my brain i am now on medication to hopefully see it doesnt happen again (clopigodrel).
but i won pick up a tin of beans game with my left hand in the end… i still shouted at my left hand alot though and the wife was right… urghhhhh

So 2 years later this is why i am here. This is me now and did the stroke help to do this to me…because i know some parts of me are missing and it scares me i just dont know how much of me it took?

My personality is like a light switch and i can text/say to my wife some nasty things and i mean for no reason at all and then bammmm i am back in the room apologising and reading what i can only say as auto pilot writing i dont even know what i wrote untill i re read it and it shocks me to my core I dont even know where it came from.

i also have problems in remembering the words i want and add words i think are similiar “how wrong can i be” i felt so stupid at times…one i couldnt remember for 6 months heres what i said to explain this 1 word if i was having a conversation i.e… " u know dave who is working in that shop doing oh ummmm ummmm you know what i mean ummmm he does it for free" their reply would be " yeah" the word is Voluntary…oh and spokes… them things that ummmm oh what they called ummmmn they hold a wheel together. This is a daily thing.

I sleep so much it is not fair on my wife i get up at say 2pm and she has been up all day wanting to go shopping on her day of work (social carer) and yet again i slept and by then i feel useless.

I cannot ride my bike anymore because of depth perception i cannot tell the difference between a low curb or high curb. So if i have traffic behind me i like to jump on the path so i look for a low curb and on i go and yes i have got that wrong alot and ended up doing flying lessons. My doctor says that may never come back.

As you may of noticed my filter is a bit touch and go. This is by way no means funny but i did laugh so loud at the time nobody knew where put themselves but this was about me… " i have joined the rowing club " someone said “fantastic hows that going” i said " stroke stroke stroke " and this is what hurts me. People i talk to at parties…then my wife says " think before you open that hole in your face " my answer is always " how can i think when its gone".

Thankyou for reading this and no doubt you seen my ups and downs and 2yrs later to be honest i am struggling on who i have become as i am ruining my relationship and clueless why…?

I wrote this in a text doc 1st so i could re read it i dont even trust myself at times even writing.


Thankyou for reading my post it took me a long time to get it right… my sense of humour i suppose it didnt take but looking back i realise it took more than expected or should i say realised. By no means my post is a oh woe is me its more of a i have just realised 2 years later what is missing if that makes sense.


@Harmonixx welcome to the forum. Thank you for sharing your story. The start made me giggle :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

As @Mahoney said stroke can affect your personality. Very difficult for you & your l9ced ones. Hopefully, people understand why it happens.

A sense of humour is definitely needed to get through this stroke journey.

Best wishes



Hello Markus,

sorry about your stroke 2 years ago
the good news is that with strokes things settle more and more with time
hopefully you’ll cope okay
good luck, Roland


Welcome Markus to the stroked in the garden club. I zig- zagged around like a a zombie in a pinball machine. Said to wife “I’ve done something stupid” nothing new there she replied, off to a&e for a while sent home only to return for three week holiday in middle of covid, that was an experience I wouldn’t want to have again. But we survived and have to adapt. Still retained a bit of sense of humour which I have to use sparingly. Things have changed around here and I have to make a supreme effort not to rock boat which is difficult at times Good to have you here. Paul


haha. I use that ‘I’m an alcoholic’ line a lot.
Good to read your account. And good to see your attitude for getting on with it the best you can. I am trying to help my brother do the same, although he has had it pretty bad and was a very hands-on guy and less intellectually stimulated.
I wonder if you are able to immerse yourself in reading? Is your concentration and ability to dream affected? Mental stimulation is so important I think.


Its felt like a weight of my shoulders writing this as it has been the 1st time i have actually openly spoke about how this affects me and the trouble i faced alone… or i thought i did… i sent the link my wife and today has been the 1st day in a long time i seen some light and we smiled at each other. I locked myself within myself for 2yrs and thought i could fuction my own way… this is not true…so for anybody who locks themselves away even writing about it and sharing it can work wonders…


Hello dingaling i was a french polisher in a previous life but sadly i am not… i have dreams and and ambitions and hope to start restoring old bicycles again as in full restorations… my last were a pair mens and ladies 1958 raleigh dawn tourists…they looked factory finished by the time i was done…but then i look at what i can do and its like i am looking at someone elses work and i am like wow did i do that " very strange feeling" certain aspects of myself seem to have vanished i do read alot but a book i forgot how to turn the pages hehehe… i actually taught gcse english aswell i was actually clever or i think i still am… the thing i have realised is its not my concentration that affected most now its my attention span… it really cant be bothered concentrating if that makes any sense and thats also face to face conversations… i seem to have no interest in conversations more than 2-3 mins… the wife does not like my drift aways… i dont know if this will work but i did have a mensa iq of 132 the 1st thing i did was test my iq to see if i lost that and the thing is i didnt i ended up with an iq of 136… my cognitive perception seemed to of got better whilst 1 or 2 dropped… so the brain works in many ways and for some reason i was able to work out shapes with ease… maybe some kind of cognitive shape skills may stimulate him… could be worth a try sadly it didnt take my iq but took alot of the person i am… i would of traded my iq for having the person i was back again


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Got to love a good sense of humour :wink:

Hi Mark and welcome, welcome, welcome :grin: So you’ve finally made it to the forum too. Took me about 2 years too :smile:

It is the concentration isn’t it, I understand that perfectly. I very quickly cottoned on to that one, so my signal to family and friends was “brain shutting down now”. So if I was on the phone to anyone I could just say that and they’d immediately hang up without offence…even worked with face to face conversation. My daughter and I just refer to it as "my f**ky brain though to everyone else “it’s just the stroke effect”. So I’m not expecting you to read all this in one sitting :laughing:

Doing anything was in fits and starts, a few minutes here, a few minutes there but it has built itself back up to being able to actual complete the tasks I start now
And conversation has improved a lot for me over the 2 years too, to the point it isn’t much trouble, don’t need my signal, but still can be draining from time to time. I think that is more to do my aphasia from the stroke. I’ve always loved reading so forced myself to persist with it and now, the only quirk I have remaining with reading is my tendency to skim over or skip the last line of every paragraph. And if I try to make myself read it, it’s a battle of wills with my brain…it just wants to cut off that line every time :confounded: :laughing:

I’m fortunate that my daughter is studying psychology at university and seems understands perfectly where I’m coming from. So she was better able to help the to help my hubby and son understand too.

Maybe getting your wife on here to read just this post will help her enormously to better understand what is basically the new version of you. :smile:

The brain has so much to do after a stroke and it can only do so much at a time without feeling overloaded. Too much information still coming in whilst also fighting to repair damage and retraining the various functions that have disrupted or lost. And it all takes time and is exhausting, that’s why we are so tired all the time.

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Welcome to the group nobody wants to join but once here you’ll find shed fulls of support kind words and empathy. Im 10 months post stroke and still on my new version 2 Andy journey. Some aspects of V2.0 me i really honestly prefer but i still work hard to get my left arm shoulder hand working again plus improving my walking.

I will get back to playing tennis one day…in the meantime ive joined total fitness with my wife which in itself is a positive by product of having a stroke. As is getting a brand new car through the motability scheme…

I stay grounded and live in the moment and keep positive and thankful that the stroke didnt kill me (aged 53 snd fit and healthy when it happened) or do me more damage than left side paralysis.

Im thankful for what i can go rather than focus on what i cant do at the moment.

Sense of humour and having awesome family and friends are hugely important on the revovery journey.

Glad to meet you Marcus and keep in touch now youre here pal

Andy just turned 54!!!


Concentration and attention span. I get that. I see it with my brother. It can seem that he became frustrated with the line of discussion, but actually its the loss of focus. 10 mins later, after some timeout, we resume.
I can also see that it affects reading. My brother never read anyway, so I can’t compare so much, but I always thought if I was ‘laid up’ I would find solace in the time to read more. The loss of ability to focus would scupper that a bit, and maybe make reading possibly in small doses.
There is such a wide range of stroke severity and finding your own impacts takes time, as you discovered. The challenges you work on in life change a lot, but you still get satisfaction with small wins.
Nice ‘chatting’ with you all.


Lmao at Emerald Eyes… you was right your post took atleast 3 attempts as i got so far then started scanning then came back to it an hr or so later i loved the " brain shutting down quote " i do that without saying a word i started calling it " bubble world" about 6 months ago as after a bit it seemed everyone started talking bubbles
Dingaling i agree small things can do much bigger wins within yourself but when i think wow. Heres a scenario which is very recent for me and it put me back down… My wife goes to work as a social carer and i thought i need to do something so i hoovered and mopped the floor,hung some clothes out or even started to fold them up when dry now to many this wouldnt take 5 mins. This took me best part of 5hrs atleast when she got home or i would even text her saying i did it… after a week or so she would say “why do you need praise for doing it” to be honest i didnt know why and then i read last night its actualy a trait from having a stroke that u want praise for doing something so small to them but to us its a huge accomplishment that we are trying or hardest to help …
I still get the pains in my left arm and left leg at times but i do try to soldier on plus i have been able to distinguish the pains my heart can give from the pains the after stroke effects give.
My heart are a like a painful pins and needles…
My stroke pains are like my muscle is being twisted which more or less feels like a burning pain " very strange pain "


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Thought it might :grin:

I say brain shutting down because I always think of it as a computer shutting down and rebooting after software updates, and that’s just what our brain is doing whenever we need sleep.

Think about it, any first achievements a baby makes, you praise them so they will do it again and do more, and do better in subsequent attempts: first word, first time turning over, first crawl/walk, etc and so it goes on throughout childhood…in adulthood too come to think of it :smile:

The brain needs praise, positive reinforcement!
’ Positive reinforcement refers to the introduction of a desirable or pleasant stimulus after a behaviour. The desirable stimulus reinforces the behaviour, making it more likely that the behaviour will reoccur.’

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Wow i have a baby brain… hehe joking but that makes so so much sense and i can relate to that i sent my wife what younsaid and she understood…wow


Hi Markus,
Well, at least you can have a laugh - most importantly - laughing at yourself, because it’s a tough old world that we all try hard to get through. I think you’ve got this now, you understand it and now it’s a matter of working on it with your family. It ain’t no walk in the park, but you sound like you’re getting there. As for the jokes - well - I used to sing many years ago and tell a few jokes and people used to say to me “You ought to be on the stage - preferably the 12.50 out of town…”
I’m glad you’ve found us all Markus, take care, John aka Bert


Tyvm… I do understand the i have got this but i think am more on the i am begining to understand more of myself and what my stroke actually did do to me and for the past 2 years i kept it in a bottle and tried to ignore what happened and because of this i started to self implode.
With writing about myself and the events that took place made me open up to basicaly as i would put it strangers who have been through what i went through and this shocked me as i thought i was alone. These past couple of days talking alot about it has made me begin to accept it and understand who i am yes i am still Mark but i am a different person in ways i didnt see coming which i now need to build on and then i will say " I GOT THIS "
Mark aka " Ernie"
I do have another skill set which because of the groups help i will gladly do… my next post will show this…


I also forgot to say i was a graphics/web designer…
Hope thes can be used…


It’s good you are talking now and it’s really so much easier than trying to bottle it up and hide it. This is so good for your wife and kids, makes it easier all round to come to terms with and discover the Markus V.2 together.

Keep on reading and writing on here, there is so much more you may discover using the search bar at the top too, just type in key words/symptoms/issues/whatever and it will list links to older posts containing those key words. Saves time scrolling through endlessly.

This stroke forum is good for support and advice, it is also a good physical therapy, improving your typing skills, retraining the finer motor skills of fingers, hand to eye coordination, reading, spelling, etc., and it doesn’t matter how bad or good you are at it, we all seem to understand what’s been written anyway and understand why we struggle and make mistakes. And there’s no need for apology as it is seen as an achievement in itself, another hurdle on the path to recovery has been conquered and we applaud you for that :smile: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

It’s therapeutic, addictive at times too just finding so many fellow stroke survivors all in one place who, nine times out of ten, know exactly what is going on inside you. Wish I’d been able to come in here sooner, way back in the beginning, because the level of knowledge, experience and understanding in here is phenomenal. And they truly are a wonderful group of people to speak with.

Like you, I write in fits and starts and before I realise I’ve written yet another essay that will no doubt take you some time to read :laughing:


Oh i am not going anywhere. The help everyone can give on here is amazing so i am glad to be one of the crazy gang… more posts will come from me just more interesting and lighthearted…oh i am here to stay i like it… yup 1 more crazy to the mix hehehe

Yes i agree… 2 years is a long time 2 shut the world out and including the ones you love…i am glad i am here i still have alot of healing to do so i think i will set up camp here for a bit…

Haha if you notice i kind of run away with it and before i know it i have wrote another copy of lord of the rings…hehe



My youngest lad about to start a degree course in Graphic Design at Staffs Uni in Stoke on Trent…

Are you considering going back to work at some stage, wirh the flexibility of working at home i guess