On the 11th December, on a gorgeous sunny day in Cape Town, on a 1.5 hour hike up Table Mountain via the Skeleton Gorge route, about 10 minutes after the above photo below was taken, Tom suffered what we now know to be a stroke.
He felt like an axe had gone through his head. He looked at me worriedly, and told me “we’ve got to get down this mountain.”
We spent the next 1.5 hours walking very quickly back down Nursery Ravine. Tom felt very light headed, but by the time we were down, he felt totally okay again.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch and then set off on another small walk which Tom really wanted to do up in the trees. It was the reason we came to Kirstenbosch Gardens in the first place, so off we set.
Just a few minutes into this second walk as we were climbing the shallow steps, the headache was back….this time it was worse than before.
Tom felt ‘drunk’, was violently sick for an hour and his speech was worsening.
To cut a very long story short, we spent the next 16 days in hospital in Cape Town. Tom suffered a brain bleed in the cerebellum of his brain, which coordinates the body’s voluntary movements such as posture, sight, balance, coordination, and speech, which is why he couldn’t see, walk or balance.
He has spent the last few weeks learning to walk and talk again, being very sick with vertigo and feeling extremely fatigued.
To watch Tom’s video from last week, where he shares some of his lessons from his journey so far, click on the below image. You’ll be taken directly to his video, which has amazingly reached 23,000 people so far and been shared over 200 times.
I hope his message resonates with you and gives you a little glimpse into these past few weeks, and Tom’s strength, positivity and courage to bounce back. He created the video to raise awareness so that you know what signs and symptoms to look out for, as we had absolutely no idea. I spent the first half an hour Googling ‘altitude sickness’ and ‘gastro symptoms’.
Thank you so much for your kind messages, prayers and love.
We appreciate it so much and are sure that all of this positivity, along with Tom’s mindset and healthy starting point is playing a huge role in Tom’s recovery.
Our 4 tips for 2018:
- Be kind to yourself and to others.
- Keep your friends and family close
- Look after your body as well as you can now, to future-proof your later days, weeks and years.
- Get yourself good travel insurance and look at the T&C’s!!!!
Will be back in your inbox on Friday as usual, but I wanted to write this email to wish you a Happy New Year and also share what’s been going on recently in our lives, in the hope that it gives you a healthy perspective for 2018.
All our very best,
Jess and Tom