After experiencing a stroke, people often struggle with what to call themselves. The most common terms used are patient, victim, and survivor. But, have you ever heard of the term “thrivor”?

Let’s break down the meanings of these terms using a cruise ship analogy. Imagine a ship full of guests sailing on the ocean. Suddenly, it hits a large floating object and quickly sinks. The guests have to jump into the sea and make a choice.

The first group of guests decides they are goners and sink in the water, never to be seen again. This group can be called a stroke victim. I have heard it used to refer to stroke patients in some parts of the world, especially in India & China.

Sitting around the table, these stroke survivors find comfort and strength of others who understand their journey.

The second group decides to tread water and hopes to be rescued soon. This group can be called a stroke survivor, the most commonly used term in the USA (maybe in other parts of the world).

The last group decides to swim towards a faint light in the distance, wondering if they can make it, but it beats their other options. This group can be compared to a stroke thrivor.

If you examine the research about strokes, the authors usually use stroke “survivor” or patient.” I had a discussion with a researcher about the name that he used. He said that he used “survivor” because other people would search for studies that were published, the label stroke “survivor.” They would not search for other terms that represented the stroke patient population. Fascinating. We kind of stuck with the term of the stroke “survivor.”

When I polled people about the name they preferred or used to refer to stroke patients, they chose, hands down, “survivor.” It was a name that showed others that they had survived. I prefer the stroke thrivor. Occasionally, I will use stroke warrior.

A stroke thrivor is someone who not only survives a stroke but also thrives in life despite the challenges it presents. This term emphasizes the idea that one can overcome the difficulties of a stroke and find a way to thrive in their new reality.

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