Why a stroke is just the beginning…

 

26th July, 2010 was a pivotal day for me. What should have been a relaxing break resulted in a decompression injury that caused a stroke. To cut a very long story short the stress that I had allowed into my life followed by two challenging scuba dives caused nitrogen bubbles to cause the damage in my brain that a bleed would normally cause.

 

 

The result was I had a body that only half worked. My memory was terrible, my left arm and left leg weak, my left hand pretty damaged and at 40 years old I felt fragile, old, scared and powerless. In my darkest moments I thought that I would have to give up everything I had worked so hard for, including my fierce independent streak and my business dreams.

There were however, rebellious, incredible times when I vowed to rebuild – my life, my body…my way!

I am incredibly grateful to say that within three years that vow came true. My body was repaired, I was able to dive again and I had the blueprint to help every stressed or challenged person I would meet in the future.

I won’t lie, i the early days of recovery the enormity of my task hit me sometimes and I would feel stuck. On those days everything ached more, my brain refused to work and I would grumble – a lot!

What worked best were tiny, baby steps. Picking one thing I wanted to improve and focusing on that. For example the pain in my arm had caused 5 months of sleepless nights and every day was a struggle. In the first instance I took painkillers – really strong ones – to sleep. Once I was sleeping better and able to think more I found a holistic alternative, a treatment called Aromatology and within three treatments my pain went forever, the tablets went in the bin and I felt more human.

Every day I would ask, “What one thing can I do today that will make me a better person than yesterday?” It could be exercising my weak limbs, eating a healthy diet, getting out for a walk, visualising a healthy me or just having a laugh…anything positive.

I also made sure that the people around me would support me in my vision. Whether they believed I would make a full recovery or not (and to be honest I didn’t totally believe it myself), they would rally around me and encourage me on, make me laugh or sit with me on a bad day.

A big part of my recovery was creating a lifestyle that supported a healthy me. Initially I just wanted my old life back, until I realised that it was that stressful, chaotic life that had caused the stroke in the first place…did I really want to go back there?

I now run three businesses rather than one, but my stress is less. I don’t do the, “I’m fine!” thing any more. If there’s a problem, I fix it. Stress and my emotions are my compass that show me when I’ve slipped off my path temporarily.

When we get a medical diagnosis it’s easy to wear it, to take the prognosis and live the life we’ve been prescribed. We give our power to the medical profession easily.

I would suggest that there is someone that knows better: you! Place your hands on your heart and ask yourself, “Is this right? What is my future?” Perhaps, by baby steps and small changes, you too could live a very different, happy, health-filled life that defies logic.

It takes courage, research, support and a love for yourself, but please remember – you deserve it!

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