Patients Research Gail Bellissimo

Patients + Research: Mike Gardner

Meet Mike

Mike Gardner has received rehabilitative therapy from St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital after suffering a stroke in 2014. He shares his progress and why he feels research is important to Stroke Medicine.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your health story?

I am 53-years-old and married with one adult child. I was raised in Montreal and moved to Ontario to pursue a career in Electronics. I have a Bachelor of Science in Electronics/Computers from Concordia and I have been working intros industry for 30 Years.  I work in Electronics Manufacturing for a Global manufacturer, managing customers like Siemens, GE, Avnet, etc. I travel the Globe in this position to places like China, Europe, USA – regularly.
On a personal medical side, I had a Quad Bypass eight years ago at Ottawa General Hospital. I resumed active life after two and a half months of recovery.  Late November 2014, I suffered a Stroke that affected my left side – primarily my arm and leg movement (full paralysis). I was admitted to KGH for the first 3 weeks and moved to St. Mary’s around Mid December 2014 under the care of Dr. Bagg and Dr. Porter. I was released home at end of Feb 2015.

At the time of release, I was using a wheelchair for mobility.  I had home therapy for about six to seven weeks and then went back to St. Mary’s for an additional four weeks, using patient therapy.

I now walk with the use of a cane (I continue to have some balance issues). I have use of my lefty hand, yet strength is an issue and some mobility issues. Some issues continue with shoulder mobility and movement. I have some issues with left ankle, toes and knee movement.  All that said – the therapy at St. Mary’s brought me back to an acceptable level of independence. And I continue to see some improvement!

The adage “use it or lose it” has been my mantra and has worked for me!

Why does health research matter to you?

Research helps to better identify what the cause of stroke is, the possible prevention of stroke and the recovery of stroke!  The more we can address these areas, doctors and healthcare workers in this field can better assist patients to recover back to a normal life pattern.  Investing in research can help reduce the costs eventually associated to all aspects of stroke survival and recovery. Hopefully research may help to find a real cure, real full prevention, etc.

Imagine that if we can find a way to help prevent stroke, or recover faster and get the patient back to a normal life, we can consider how to use these funds with other kinds of health issues like cancer, Parkinson’s, ALS, etc.

“The therapy at St. Mary’s restored my independence,” said Mike Gardner, pictured here with Physiotherapy Practice Leader, Mary-Jo Demers. 

How does health research contribute to a healthier Ontario?

Research helps with prevention, education and recovery. Research today helps Ontario reduce cost in the future. It helps Ontarians live longer more productive lives!

How can the patient voice support, improve or empower health research?

Patient involvement helps move theory to real life!  The more a patient is involved to help with training, prevention, cure in all aspects of Stroke Medicine – the more it will help with the future of this affliction in a positive way!