11 weeks post stroke

Feb 26, 2018

It’s now just over eleven weeks since my ‘health blip’ in South Africa. When people stop me on the island here in Menorca and ask me if I’m okay, I still find it very surreal to talk about. I never thought I’d be having these conversations and speaking about strokes in the first person.

Menorca is a small island with a real community and family-type feel and even though I’m a newbie to the island (we moved here in July 2017), people are so caring and welcoming. It’s really made a few people evaluate their choices and how they’re living their life, not just here on the island but all over the world, and how much attention (or lack of attention) they’ve been giving their health in recent years.

Thankfully my stroke is in the past now, I’m focussing on what I can learn from it to make my future even more impactful, exciting and fun for both myself and others.

My focus is to raise stroke awareness and share my story so that others can take the steps to enjoy health now and in the future. I’d like to help people understand how important being in optimum health is, should a freak occurrence like this happen it makes a huge difference in firstly survival and then in recovery. I’m also focused on raising the awareness of what signs to look out for so people can act quickly.

I just wrote an article for Outdoor Fitness Magazine about the learnings from my experience and may be asked to write a regular column there which is perfect to fit in with the outdoor fitness-filled life Jess and I are now living.

This matches so well with www.menorcanretreats.com and our whole ethos.

Jess and I talk a lot about what we should share with you, and we believe that real stories from us and others will impact you more than the usual ‘how to burn fat, and gain muscle’ messages or ‘new ways to spice up your morning smoothie’ articles. We will naturally still feature those topics and the how-strategy to help you achieve that goal, but we always like to give the subject matter a bit of depth and context and share how we get these results personally and with our clients.

Over the past few months I’ve received a lot of emails from people sharing how my story has touched their lives and I find it very humbling and comforting to know that positives have come out of a not so positive situation.

I’m going to share with you a message I received from a reader of our weekly newsletter, Barry. Barry’s email particularly touched me and you’ll see why.

Please read it carefully and think if this may relate to either yourself or a family member. Acting now, as Barry did, could make a huge difference in your future or someone you know and love….

“Hey Tom, how are you doing?

I wanted to tell you a quick story that I hope you will find life-affirming.

I’ve been having mega headaches and dizzy spells which led to me getting my eyes checked a year ago.

There was nothing wrong and they suggested I go to the neuro which I didn’t bother doing, and instead put the headaches down to stress and tiredness etc. for 12 months.

Clearing out a cupboard recently I found the letter from the hospital and, recalling your story, I thought I should check it out.

I went to see the GP – she sent me straight to hospital with a BP or 167/112 – they’ve discovered I have a slightly enlarged heart as a result – apparently, I was on the edge of a heart attack or stroke.

Two weeks later and I am on meds, my BP is coming down and I’ve re-joined the gym – induction is this week.

Thank you so much for your sharing on here – you inspired me to go and get checked out and might well have saved me.

Keep up the good work, your voice is being heard and you are inspiring people to take sensible action.

Really grateful for your story.”

Powerful reading and all from taking action. I asked Barry if he would be happy for me to share his story with you and I am happy to say that not only was he happy, but Barry Joinson said he is happy to talk with anyone in a similar situation.

We often put things ‘to the bottom of the pile’ hoping they’ll go away. Dealing with things today could mean there are far more tomorrows.

Have a great week and ‘see’ you soon on the blog.



We’re Jess & Tom! A husband and wife team, sharing workouts & nutrition made simple from our island home in Menorca. Our mission? To help people get and stay in shape, and enjoy the journey along the way. We love to travel, hike & bring together inspiring people.