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"If I could go back and never have my stroke, I wouldn't"


Joe Borges had a high blood pressure induced haemorrhagic stroke at age 39. Since then, Joe has become a huge inspiration to the stroke community after becoming a motivational speaker, podcast host, and content creator all in hopes to provide others with hope and support.


Interviewed and written by Grace James MSc


 

In 2016, Joe started to get a sudden, intense headache, but reported that he had never been one to go to the doctor because he didn't want to inconvenience anyone. However, while at a concert he felt his basal ganglia rupture. It wasn't until 48 hours later that Joe went to the hospital.


Following the stroke, Joe experienced memory difficulties. He gave the story of his younger sister becoming upset with him because he hadn't contacted her in a while. At the time, Joe was convinced that he had spoken to her every day, but after looking back on his messages he realized she was right. Joe also expressed that he experienced neuro fatigue, stating that he has never known exhaustion like it. Even though neuro fatigue is so common following a brain injury, the concept was never explained to Joe, which of course was frightening and left him wondering if it was ever going to get better.


Like many other stroke survivors, Joe has experienced mental health difficulties following the trauma of the event. Initially, Joe felt angry at the situation and would often find himself wondering 'why me?'. However, with time, Joe started to find acceptance. He felt that he had a new appreciation for the little things and for his second chance at life.

"It took me almost dying to truly live life. My stroke changed everything about my life, it helped me live. If I had an opportunity to go back and not have my stroke, I wouldn't. Its turned me into the person I was always supposed to be."


Joe reported that he has found it really common for stroke survivors to not wish they never had the stroke because it has given them a new, positive perspective on life. Of course, it is important to note that this mindset can take a lot of time and processing, but it goes to show that recovery is not all doom and gloom.


 

Joe started his podcast, Neuro Nerds, with a fellow stroke survivor that he had met while sharing his story at a party. He mentioned that he had a search for podcasts very early on in his recovery journey, but felt a lot of the podcasts out there felt like too much information and were too much to take in at the time. We discussed that podcasts can be really beneficial because they can be played on your own time, turn the volume down if you need to, and there is no guilt of leaving a room as you may need to in a support group.


"When you are ready to heal, we are here to help you".


 

At the end of the interview, Joe had some beautiful words to say to the stroke community.


"This is the greatest, most helpful, beautiful community. I started operation brain buddy outreach where I would randomly reach out the survivors on social media. I have made some of the best friends that I will ever have in life from around the world by doing so. If you feel like you need to connect with somebody, do so, be the weirdo and reach out to somebody. The vast majority of the community need that connection, be the one to reach out to them. We are all in this together, we don't need to be alone. We are here to carry some of the weight. When you talk to another survivor, there is nothing like it. If you need it, that person probably needs it just as bad."


This just raises the importance of reaching out to other people in the community.

 

Joe's work:


Podcast: Neuro Nerds

Instagram: @Joesorocks

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