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Boxing Ring to Stroke Recovery: Prakash's Stroke Journey

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is based solely on the personal experiences and accounts of the interviewed stroke survivors. The symptoms, treatments, and challenges discussed by the interviewees are unique to their individual circumstances and should not be taken as medical advice or generalized medical claims. Readers should consult their healthcare professionals for advice and information specific to their own health conditions. Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA) does not endorse or validate the medical accuracy of the personal experiences shared in this article.

Prakash has always been a physically active guy. In the 1990s, he was a national boxer, representing Singapore in several competitions. His passion for sports extended into his career as well; he taught at a primary school before moving on to teach at the Singapore Sports School. Prakash's dedication even led him to join the Singapore Teachers' Union, where he trained teachers in Russia from 2014 to 2018. Alongside his professional achievements, Prakash is a family man, married with four children, all in their 20s.

Currently, Prakash works at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), specializing in industrial training and transformation. His routine was structured, including regular gym sessions before work. However, life took an unexpected turn on August 22, 2022, when Prakash experienced a stroke that changed everything.

On that fateful Monday morning, Prakash went to work early as usual and headed to the gym in his office. Around 8:15 am, he suddenly felt numbness from the bottom of his right foot to his neck, a sensation he described as being pulled down to "hell." A colleague intervened as he struggled, unaware that he was experiencing a stroke. Paramedics arrived quickly, finding his blood pressure alarmingly high at 220. At the hospital, scans revealed a hemorrhagic stroke, leaving Prakash groggy and unable to speak

In the days following the stroke, Prakash felt lost and struggled emotionally. His doctor attributed the stroke to his hectic lifestyle and lack of adequate rest—Prakash had been sleeping only four hours a day before the stroke occurred.

However, Prakash's story takes a positive turn. A week later, he began to regain his ability to speak and write. With the help of dedicated healthcare professionals and his own determination, he made progress in speech therapy, which included exercises like reading subtitles aloud to regain confidence in articulating words. After a month, he was discharged from speech therapy.

Regaining mobility in his leg took Prakash two months of intensive physiotherapy. He set a personal goal to leave the hospital only when he could walk again, a testament to his determination and resilience. Throughout this journey, Prakash leaned heavily on his support system—his family, friends, colleagues, and healthcare professionals. His sister-in-law even left her job to care for him.

Prakash expressed immense gratitude for the encouragement he received, especially from his boss, Mr Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of NTUC, who visited him in the hospital and emphasized prioritizing recovery over work. Friends created a roster to ensure he made it to therapy sessions, and safety measures like installing bars in his home were put in place to aid his mobility.

Reflecting on his journey, Prakash said,

"This is my new normal. I have to learn how to accept it, make the best of it, and live my life with minimal change."

His positive outlook and determination did not go unnoticed, earning him the 2024 SingHealth Inspirational Patient and Caregiver Award.

As a member of Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA), Prakash aims to inspire and motivate other stroke survivors with his story. He believes in the message that life goes on after a stroke and encourages others to embrace their new realities with courage and resilience.

Prakash's story serves as an inspiration to all, showing that with perseverance, even the most daunting obstacles can be conquered.


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