Ade’s stroke story
A major stroke in July 2011 stopped Ade Djajamihardja and his partner Kate Stephens in their tracks. The couple from Melbourne had been running their own successful film and television production company since 2007, with work that took them around the world. When they weren’t travelling their lives were just as hectic: 12-hour working days and longer were a regular part of their life.
Ade had suffered a stroke in 2006. It left no permanent damage to his body but it was, the couple says, an unexpected wake-up call. Ade’s blood pressure was dangerously high and his lifestyle, he says, “could have been better”. With no permanent damage Ade and Kate set about making significant changes to their lives: exercising, losing weight, eating better and stopping smoking.
The slip in efforts came gradually, Kate says, and by the time of the stroke last year Ade was the heaviest he had ever been, the most stressed he had ever been, and bad eating habits had developed again. We had not had a holiday in six years and Ade had no idea what his blood pressure might have been. It was high, they found out later.
Ade spent six months in hospital, with a great deal of time spent in intensive care. He was not expected to survive. He underwent brain surgery to reduce the swelling in his skull and was placed in an induced coma for some weeks. It was a long haul back to the couple’s home in beachside Melbourne but after a stint in rehabilitation, Ade was home.
On 10 December, on Ade’s 43rd bithday and on his first day leave from hospital, Ade and Kate married on the front porch of their small flat near the water - Ade in a suit, tie and wheelchair and Kate in a simple and elegant dress.
“It was just so important to us both that we were able to be home together again, that was all that mattered,” Kate says.
Since coming home with complete hemiplegia on the left side of his body, Ade can now walk 15 metres, assisted. This has been the result of extensive home and centre-based physiotherapy and many hours of hard work by Ade, as well as Kate, and much of it paid for privately.
“Getting even this far has been a full-time job,” says Kate, who is now a full-time carer.
“But we have been lucky because our love is so strong and that has sustained us. That and Ade’s sense of humour. He didn’t lose one ounce of his humour.”
It will be some time before the wheelchair is put away completely, but the couple is hopeful that Ade’s recovery will keep progressing, Ade and Kate believe that a positive attitude and belief can make miracles happen. They are working on a media you-tube channel which will focus on health and well being.
Ade has a renewed passion and purpose for his life, Ade and Kate are both keen to use their media skills and passion to inspire others.