We recently caught up with Christine Fergurgue, who, in January 2022 suffered a life altering haemorrhagic stroke - this is her story of rehabilitation, courage and recovery and the part O2 Worx played in supporting her.
1. Explain a little about you and your background
On the 31 January 2022 my life changed for good. It had been a perfectly normal day; I’d finished work and headed home but by 11pm I suffered a severe haemorrhagic stroke (brain bleed).
A feeling of weakness and tingling started to occur down the left side of my body and within 10 minutes I had collapsed paralysed down the entire left side of my body unable to speak or move. For the next nine months I was resident at the Woodend rehabilitation unit where I worked with physios on my core muscles and sit and balance therapy. It was more than a month before I could sit up and more than six months before I could consider taking a step.
After nine months at Woodend, I finally returned home, sleeping in a hospital bed downstairs. I was told I would never be able to go to the toilet or shower unassisted and my independence was gone. My emotional and mental state at that time was at an all-time low, to the point I was considering euthanasia options.
2. What made you try HBOT as form of treatment?
A friend of mine mentioned hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I had never heard of oxygen therapy before and was open trying anything to help improve my situation. I took some time and did my own research and was genuinely blown away by the sheer number of stories and cases where individuals had seen marked improvements in mobility, balance, and cognitive response. This is when I decided to give it a go and contacted O2worx.
3. How did you feel the first time you entered the chamber?
I had a real mix of emotions running through me - nervous as it was my very first time, I really didn’t know what to expect, and excited about the possibilities of change and improvement. The ladies at O2Worx were incredibly kind and patient and really helped put me at ease. They explained the process and answered all my questions. My mobility at this time was so limited I required assistance just to stand and walk so getting into the chamber initially proved to be a challenge but one I was determined to overcome.
4. After how many sessions did you start noticing a difference?
That’s a difficult one to pinpoint, it’s a gradual change. I am currently on my 32 session and my goal is to reach 40 sessions. The research I had done shows with the type of stroke I had 40 sessions tends to be the point that you can really review progress so 40 is the target!
5. Have you noticed any changes so far?
Absolutely! The changes may be small to some but are huge to me. I can now shower unassisted, go to the toilet on my own, stand and sit without the need for support. I have regained slight movement back in my left shoulder and I can walk with the use of my stick. My “brain fog” has cleared and I can think clearly, my overall cognitive state has certainly improved and emotionally and mentally I feel much happier.
6. How, if at all, has your life improved?
For all the reasons above – in the beginning I was beyond depressed, I didn’t want to be here, but these sessions and working with the team at O2Worx has truly changed my life. I have gained my independence back, something I was told would not be possible, hope in a brighter future has been restored.
7. Would you recommend HBOT?
Yes, I would certainly recommend HBOT, I am walking proof that this therapy has improved my life. No one person is the same, so do your own research, speak to people who have undergone HBOT and be guided by those that know.