'Saxy lady' beats odds and uses music to recover from stroke
LYNETTE Gordon-Smith was told she may never be able to play her saxophone again after she suffered a stroke last year.
But 12 months on, and with plenty of determination, the 67-year-old Allora "Saxy Lady" is back doing what she loves best.
Mrs Gordon-Smith, who has been playing since she was 13, said she couldn't imagine her life without music so she was desperate to prove the doctors wrong.
"I was devastated when I had the stroke. I spent five months in hospital and had to re-learn to swallow, talk, walk and use my hand,'' Mrs Gordon-Smith said.
"But I was committed to my rehabilitation and would do extra work on my own.
"It has been painful at times and I've wanted to yell and scream out of frustration, but it has been worth it.
"When I played again for the first time it felt like someone had handed me a winning lotto ticket."
Mrs Gordon-Smith experienced one of 56,000 strokes in Australia during 2017, it is estimated almost 400 occurred in the Maranoa electorate alone.
"I was one of the lucky ones, my husband Chris recognised the signs of stroke instantly when I couldn't move my right side," she said.
"He called for an ambulance and I was able to access treatment quickly as a result. Many others were not so fortunate."
Stroke Foundation Queensland State Manager Andrea Sanders said stroke was largely preventable, treatable and could be beaten.
"With the right treatment at the right time many people are able to make a good recovery from stroke,'' Ms Sanders said.
"Lynette is testament to the importance of accessing high quality treatment fast, but also demonstrates that recovery from stroke does not end when people leave hospital.
"Recovery from stroke can be long and it can be hard, but with determination, assistance and support many people are able to make ongoing improvements and live well after stroke.
"Lynette's story is remarkable. Being able to return to your passion after stroke is a major milestone."
"The Saxy Lady" is having a concert in Warwick on April 22 and Allora on April 29, with her trusted sound engineer Chris by her side.
"I will sell CD's at my shows and donate five dollars from each to the Stroke Foundation to continue their wonderful work towards preventing, treating and beating stroke," she said.
In the meantime, Mrs Gordon-Smith is encouraging residents to learn the signs of stroke.
The F.A.S.T. test is the best way to remember the most common signs of stroke.
It involves asking these questions.
Face - Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms - Can they lift both arms?
Speech - Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time - Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.