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Darlene73, May 18,  2021  6:38pm EST

Support Needed

I am a licensed professional counselor, and am typically the one offering the support and time to listen.  I do have a therapist myself, but am hoping to connect with someone that can understand my plight firsthand. 

My husband had quadruple bypass surgery in June 2015, and although that was successful, he suffered a stroke overnight. He was unable to speak, walk or do anything. He was 43 years old, and I was 42. He only had some slight difficulty speaking as he once did, moved a lot slower due to left sided weakness and was less social. It has been tough as I have had to take control of our finances and household since then. I was very glad he was alive because the prognosis was not good, "dead man walking" is how the doctors described it. If it had not been for a second opinion, he may not be alive today. 

After a month in rehab, he was released. He was able to go back to work about a month afterward. He ended up losing his job in 2019, his contract was not renewed. I believe it may have been because he was not as quick witted and energetic as he once had been. He was a professor and national speaker, and traveled all over the US speaking at colleges and universities. He was able to find an adjunct position where he taught between 2-4 classes a semester to assist financially. It was a tough adjustment for me, I am thankful for my two children that were a huge support. I don't know if I could have made it without them. 

December 29, 2020 my husband had a lacunar stroke. This time, his limitations have gotten significantly more difficult. He has emotional ephasia, increased left sided weakness, very little executive functioning ability, an involuntary laugh(at awkward times), he has difficulty recalling words and at times getting the right words out. For three months we went to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech/language therapy and a lot of specialists and doctor appointments. I had to adjust my hours at work to be able to get him to all of his appointments. He was not able to go back to work at all, I am self-employed and have increased my hours at my office and have taken a part-time job to support us financially and working on a dissertation (or at least I should be, I took a break). This has been much harder to get used to. It feels like I lost my partner, my friend, my lover, my companion. I have to take care of the house, any repairs, food shopping, appointments, etc. 

I am tired, exhausted. We used to be so balanced as a couple, we would support each other and be there with each other, we had so much fun. And now, he just sits. He'll have the television on and be on his phone. Unless I ask him to do something he won't, and sometimes, he just doesn't because he doesn't want to. I can't get mad at him, because I feel like a bully, and it's really not his fault. He's like a little kid, my children have said that. He says things that hurt sometimes, it's just what's on his mind, he has no filter. I guess I just miss him. I want my friend back. I want my lover back. It's just hard. 

So, if you can relate...

9 Replies
  • AHAModerator
    AHAModerator, May 19,  2021  9:58am EST

    Hi Darlene, 

    Thank you for joining the support network and sharing your story. I hope that you find the support that you need. I can't even imagine what you are going through right now but I understand that it must be incredibly difficult to have to manage all of your household affairs and be going through something so emotionally exhausting at the same time. As you wait for others to respond, I can share this link with you on Resources for Caregivers as well as this resource on Life After Stroke that may be helpful.

    I am sorry that you are going through this, but I hope you know that you are not alone.


    AHA Moderator


  • JamesPL
    JamesPL, May 20,  2021  10:57pm EST

    Hi Darlene,

    I am so very sorry to hear about the difficulties you and your husband are going through. I had a quintuple bypass 10 years ago and I know all too well the stress that comes with that alone. I saw my wife in a way that I had never seen her before. I can't imagine the added stress of also having to deal with a stoke on top of the bypass. Please try and keep the faith as difficult as that sounds. You've been through so much and have done your best to work through it but it has obviously taken its toll.

    You say that your children have been a huge support. Do you also have friends and other family members you can lean on as well? It also sounds like your husband is in real need of support too. Perhaps counseling for him will do you both some good. I'm sure you've considered these options but sometimes a little push can help.

    I truly wish you both all the best and will be thinking of you both.


  • Lorra
    Lorra, May 21,  2021  10:37am EST

    Darlene, I can relate, and my heart goes out to you too.  My situation is similar, except for the fact that the marriage was never that great before the health problems, so I had to take care of a man for whom I had/have much anger/resentment.

    The reality of the matter is that the husband you once had and knew is gone.  Sad fact, but it is one you must try and come to terms with.  It's been a few years for me, and I have yet to be able to do it, but maybe you are younger and it will be easier for you.  My husband sits and watches videos all day long too.  He does nothing except when I ask him, and even then, I can never be sure he will do it right.  We hardly talks anymore and lives in his own world.  When he does talk, he makes little to no sense and and I too worn out trying to figure out anymore what he's trying to tell me.

    I do feel for you. 

  • JamesPL
    JamesPL, May 21,  2021  11:06pm EST

    I really feel for the both of you (Darlene and Lorra). I can't imagine the feeling of losing any desire to want to engage in life. I was warned of the possibility of depression prior to my own bypass surgery and I took it seriously. I was determined to not let it take me down. Perhaps this is what your husbands need. A will and desire to want to get back into the game. I know I'm making things sound simplistic but can't counseling sessions make someone more aware? I did speak with counselors after my surgery on the advice of others and although I felt like I was already in the right frame of mind, they made me aware of things that hadn't occurred to me. Life is hard and can take us by surprise.  Sometimes we need all the help we can get! 


  • MrsMcAfee
    MrsMcAfee, May 24,  2021  10:52am EST

    Hello Darlene,

    I can relate and my heart goes out to you.  I am also living your last paragragh and just this morning realize I am missing my husband, the man I married and have been married to for 33 years. He started changing after his first heart attacked 10 years ago and has continued to change throughout the years of continued heart disease issues. My husband tries to stay active, but his limitations on what he can do leads him to depression and overall he has become a very negative person and just want's to talk at me and not with me. I've lost my best friend and lover and really want nothing more than to have him back. We had a small issue this morning and it all just came crashing down on me after 10 years and can't stop crying. I don't have an answer for you but know that you are not alone in your feelings.

  • Darlene73
    Darlene73, May 28,  2021  11:35pm EST

    Mrs. McAfee,

    Thank you for sharing. I wish there were an answer or a way to fill the void. It seems as if my husband has given up at times. The man he has become is NOT the man I love. I found myself a few days ago watching some videos of him when he was a National Speaker. I cried myself to sleep that night. It hurts so much sometimes. Thanks again for letting me know I am not alone. Although it is helpful in to know I'm not alone, I hate that anyone has to go through this at all. Thank you again, I do appreciate it. I will be thinking of you, believing for the best. 


  • Darlene73
    Darlene73, May 28,  2021  11:44pm EST


    Thank you so much for your kind and helpful words. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thread and respond. Faith is the only thing that keeps me going and my head up especially through the most difficult days. Counseling can definitely help, and I do have a counselor and am a counselor! Being able to talk to someone, just getting things off your chest and out of your head is helpful. It won't change the situation, but it will release the heaviness that it becomes. It is hopeful to know that you have experienced your own medical situation and have stayed ahead of it. I will hope that my husband will one day be able to as well. 


  • Darlene73
    Darlene73, May 29,  2021  12:00am EST


    It has got to be harder for you to continue to be there for your husband when you have not had a good marriage prior to his stroke. It isn't easy to get used to, and I continue to hope that things will change. It's crazy, I know. There are times that it feels that hoping makes it worse, but something inside me wants to believe it will. I can't see myself getting used to him this way and not hoping for something more. There have been many times in my head, I have envisioned me yelling at my husband telling him to get his head out of his a**! I feel horrible to think it, but know it is a real feeling for me. Prior to his second stroke, I had begun doing roller derby to get my frustration, anger and release all those emotions. However, I broke my ankle and although I recovered and got myself back on the skates, COVID hit. Now, my schedule is so full, I haven't been able to go back since they started back up. 

    Thank you for your response, I appreciate it. I hope something could change for you. Take care.



  • Nireeyes25
    Nireeyes25, June 3,  2021  10:09am EST

    Hi Darlene,

    I can relate to a lot if this. My husband had quadruple bypass 2 yrs ago at age 42, I was 43 and our daughter had just turned 4. We had no idea he had any heart issues, so to find this out was very scary. He shut down for the few weeks between dx and surgery...he stopped doing everything and only worried about himself. This left me with having to do EVERYTHING, on top of continuing to work a very stressful job. I work in mental health also. He was home for 1 week after surgery when his incision got infected. He had to go back to the hospital for 3 weeks and have 3-4 more surgeries to clean it out etc. So I was dealing with him in the hospital, our 4yo, working full time and trying to keep the house up, bills paid etc....my dad who lives 8 hrs away was also getting ready to have valve replacement surgery.... My husband's mom lives 1 mile from us, and NEVER ONCE called, texted or came over to see how her granddaughter or I was doing, or if we needed anything. After he came home the second time it was not great....his depression was worse and he was suffering from post perfusion syndrome. The mood swings were horriable .... His depression, cognitive issues etc. As time when on he went back to working a little. My husband also did adjunct teaching at a local college teaching 2-3 classes per semester ...... He was not doing anything at home unless I asked him to...and even then it was hit or miss. If he did not want to do something he would not do it. Everything fell on me. He felt sorry for himself, he was incredibly selfish.... It was horrible.... It's been almost 2 yrs and some things have gotten a bit better, but not like they use to be. I miss my best friend, partner, spouce. He has his good days, and his bad days.... He is still selfish a lot of the time. He has joined a support group for others with PPS.... It's so hard being on the other said if it because nobody thinks about us, they only think about the person who has/had the health problems....

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