#BrainLifeGoals – Zoran had a stroke while sleeping

“We continue to actively support the #BrainLifeGoals campaign, launched by the European Federation of Neurological Association (EFNA), by posting stroke survivors’ stories. Our goal is to raise public awareness of the difficulties and problems people with stroke are facing every day. The emphasis is on life goals which are in the case of stroke survivors regaining some basic skill, such as walking, speaking, reading, writing, etc.”

Nenad Nikolić, Stroke Association Serbia

Stroke doesn’t pick a place or time as we always point out. It can happen at work, or at home, during a walk or sleep. This is a story about Zoran Djordjevic (42) from Paracin, Serbia, who had a stroke in his sleep.

Zoran is a father of two. He had actively played football in the years before he had a stroke. He says that he had also been very active due to the nature of his job and because of his little daughter, who was four at the time.

Zoran started smoking at the age of 16. However, he had never had high blood pressure or any other risk factor. The fast pace of life meant being constantly under stress but Zoran says he found the stress bearable.


“He had a stroke in sleep when he was 39.”

photo: private archive

He had a stroke in sleep when he was 39. It was 27th May 2016. He woke up unable to move or speak. He was confused, disoriented and unaware of what had happened to him. His wife tried to wake him up for work. When she saw that he wasn’t able to move, she realised that something was terribly wrong. Zoran’s brother and wife took him to the car and straight to the hospital. He was immediately transferred to the Neurology department at the General hospital in Cuprija. He spent 20 days there and then 20 days at the rehabilitation centre. He also spent 42 days at Vrnjacka banja spa.

Zoran can’t use his right hand. He can walk again but slowly and with difficulty. His ability to speak isn’t entirely regained. He also has problems with short-term and long-term memory, and sometimes loses his train of thought. He can look after himself but with difficulty since he uses his left hand only. Luckily Zoran can drive his car and has received disability support pension.

“His main goal was to walk again and he found the biggest motivation in his children, to be by their side and take part in their growing up.”

Zoran with his wife Marina (private archive)

The stroke he had changed Zoran’s life and brought many difficulties into it. He takes his medicine regularly, is active and follows a healthy diet. He spends more time with his two children, since at the time he had a stroke his wife was pregnant with their second child. He still smokes but significantly less than before the stroke. He says that his recovery went well despite the ‘not so good’ prognosis. His main goal was to walk again and he found the biggest motivation in his children, to be by their side and take part in their growing up.

We are grateful to Zoran for sharing his experience with us. If you want to share your story with us, please get in touch.