5 weeks post stroke
It’s Tom here 🙂
It’s been a while since my hands have touched the keyboard…5 weeks in fact.
I wanted to personally say a big thank you for all of the positivity, well wishes, prayers, and your thoughts during this challenging time Jess and I have been through over the past five and a half weeks after I had my stroke on December 11th.
We were literally on top of the world at the crest of Table Mountain, I remember standing there mid-hike, taking a moment to pause and watch the sun hit Devils Point on the mountain range whilst Jess was slightly ahead of me, chatting away about how beautiful this particular shade of burnt orange was on the flower she was looking at…
I remember just feeling amazing and thinking how lucky I was to be there. One of those occasions where you deliberately pause button because you want to soak up every piece of what’s going on around you. The light, the views, the people around you, nature….
Moments later, I experienced what we now know to be the first of two strokes. The intense pain and dizziness I can’t put into words, and the bit that was most worrying was knowing that we had to get down the mountain as we were in such a secluded area – we’d only seen two people coming up the mountain so I knew my focus had to be to get down.
The impact of the second stroke two hours later was worse than the first episode, and I had 16 days in hospital in Cape Town to truly reflect on what had just happened, and how different my future could have looked.
It is so surreal how things changed so fast from great to ‘not so great’!
I got back to the UK safely, thanks to an amazing nurse (Jane you are an angel), and Jess who has been incredible throughout this whole event. I don’t know what I would have done without her.
It was great to get home to my parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephews in Norfolk and appreciate my family fully. I’m a family man and always love being home, especially for Christmas, in fact I’ve only ever missed one Christmas at home in 44 years, so Cape Town upped this count to two.
Appreciating their voices, the sofa in the living room, being able to see and feel the warmth of the log burning fire, having a bath for the first time since having the stroke and feeling the warm water on my temple, watching the sun streaming through the window in gap of the curtains in the morning, and so many other things that I usually take so for granted.
Rehabilitation has gone so well so far, I have an MRI booked for next week to see how my brain is looking and then hopefully I will head back to Menorca in mid February, which is now home for Jess and I since July last year.
My walking is now about 95 percent there, my vision is about the same and my talking is pretty well back to how it was before the stroke.
My right hand is still not fully functional, which is a pain when you’re right-handed, but it could’ve been so much worse. I was looking forward to the challenge of writing with my left hand but it looks like this won’t be necessary.
Part of my focus now will be working on stroke awareness and naturally helping myself with optimising my health (practising what I preach), and then helping many others with optimising their health too.
I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone.
Strokes affect one person in the UK and the USA every five minutes. The large majority of people, like myself, have no prior warning.
The stroke I had was one of the 15 percent that is unavoidable, however the good news is that 85 percent are preventable by good lifestyle choices and mine was really helped from me being healthy in the first place!
These statistics follow suit for most degenerative/lifestyle diseases. Ones like cancer, heart disease, obesity, and so on.
I fully believe that my good health in the first place has help me firstly survive the stroke I had, and then secondly recover and rehabilitate so fast with so little residual damage.
‘What if’ this had happened (as it was going to happen to me one day it seems) if I’d been unhealthy, overweight and making the wrong choices in terms of health and lifestyle?
Would I have firstly survived, would I still be hospital, would I still be struggling to speak, would I be able to walk…no one will know. Every stroke is different.
What I say to you is just focus on being the best healthy version of yourself you can be, starting from right now. Not tomorrow, not next week, right now.
This is in respect to yourself and also to those around you who love you as they are the ones that will care for you if this ever happens to you (God forbid).
Jess and I will provide you with great, insightful, happy – after this email 😉 , useful, real information that you can action in order to get to your healthy best.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.