Friday, June 22, 2007

Women’s Stories about Surviving Stroke

A new book by Canadian Sociology Professor, Sharon Dale Stone sheds light on how women experience hemorrhagic stroke [bleeding within the brain which damages nearby brain tissue].

A Change of Plans: Women’s Stories of Hemorrhagic Stroke is a collection of eleven stories by women who experienced hemorrhagic strokes before the age of 50. The author herself experienced a stroke as a young girl. It came on suddenly and the symptoms were misdiagnosed. Who would think that an eleven-year-old girl would be having a brain aneurysm?

As she grew into adulthood, the author thought deeply about the silence that had surrounded her experience and the psychic trauma she wasn't allowed to talk about. In the 1990s, she happened upon an article written by a woman who had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 24, and for the first time she felt less isolated in her experience. With her new awareness that there were others like her, she embarked upon a journey through Canada, the US, England, and Scotland to find and publish their stories.

The book opens with a background discussion of hemorrhagic stroke and the disabling consequences that follow. The women's stories are told honestly and movingly, and touch on the themes of recovery and rehabilitation; being a medical patient; self-image; being or not being recognized as disabled; relations with family, friends and co-workers; and how the stroke so suddenly changed their lives.

The book was published by Sumach Press and can also be purchased through

Dr. Sharon Dale Stone is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON. As an activist and academic, she is committed to giving voice to groups of people whose experiences are marginalized in mainstream society, and has published widely on the many issues facing women with disabilities.