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Lived Experience: Jaden’s story

Coming out of the dark

Jaden, suffered a stroke at just 21, which left him in a coma, paralysed and unable to speak – but with the support of Brainkind he is planning his return to rapping, working, and travelling the world

No one expects a super fit 21-year-old gym supervisor to have a stroke, but this is exactly what happened to Jaden.

As Jaden explains, he had a series of headaches that he describes as “skull crushing” in the days leading up to his stroke.

I was at the gym, where I work as a supervisor and another headache had just started, so I told my boss that I was going home. That’s the last thing I remember from that day, I awoke from a coma several weeks later completely paralysed and unable to speak.

Jaden had short stays in Northwick Park and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at the beginning of 2023 before being moved to Thomas Edward Mitton House – one of Brainkind’s short stay neurorehabilitation centres in Milton Keynes

Jaden has been supported by staff at Thomas Edward Mitton House to get back on his feet – and to learn to do the things he loves again. Jaden told us:

I have been working on my speech and mobility. The team here have been brilliant, helping me to learn to speak and walk again and supporting me with my memory as well. When I woke up in hospital it was scary not being able to tell people what I wanted, but by the time I moved here I had started to find my words again.

I needed help stringing them together into proper sentences and not having to spend ages searching for words and how to form them. It takes lots of repetition, practice and trying not to get frustrated. I am really into making music and rapping so it has been a real priority for me. It’s been a dark time, but I feel like I am back in the light now.

I have done loads of work with my physio and occupational therapists, around movement, stretching and walking. This is because when you come out of a coma all your muscles are really tight and the message from your brain can takes ages to get through as they haven’t been used for a while.

My brain and muscles have had to learn to talk to each other again, so when I think ‘step forward’, my foot, knees and leg all perform that action at the same time. It’s mad how your brain and body work together and having a stroke can mess with the brain and it can send messages that don’t get answered at all or by the wrong part of your body!

Starting Again

Jaden has been going home for the last few weeks at weekends, which has allowed him to regain his independence in his own home and became comfortable with day-to-day tasks. He then returns to the centre and talks to our multidisciplinary team about what he feels he still needs more support with – and they spend the week working on those issues with him.

Annalise Masad, assistant psychologist at Brainkind says, “Jaden has been very motivated to engage in all sessions, working hard with staff to increase his independence. He is always open to feedback and works hard to complete independent tasks set for him.”

Thanks to the support he has received, Jaden is feeling optimistic about his future.

I can’t wait to get home for good, I want to get into the studio and make some music, I have loads of it in my head just waiting to get out. I also want to do some travelling. First, I want to fly again, maybe to the Alps, Morrocco, or America -and next year I am going to Dubai!  I love travelling and I won’t let this experience hold me back.

I am only 22, so to come back from a coma and being paralysed to being able to think about my future like this, in just over 18 months, is amazing.

I am so grateful that I am still here, and I can’t thank everyone at Thomas Edward Mitton House and both the hospitals in London and my family enough for all their support. I said when I arrived, I wanted to be home for my birthday and these guys have made that happen!

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