Blow by blow



Extend your right arm over your head and breathe, really breathe into that stretch. Remember this practice isn’t about perfecting the poses; it’s about relaxing and feeling what’s good for you. If you want to sway a little, that’s okay. If you want to circle your wrist, that’s okay too.

Just breathe, and feel.

I leaned deeper into my side stretch and I slowly swayed the arm that was above my head and I realised I was crying. I moved the arm that just a few weeks ago had gone numb and could barely move above my head. The same arm that couldn’t do the simple activity of buttoning a shirt.

Tears streaming down my face, yoga practice still in flow, I cried for the amazing feeling that I could move. I cried that I was in my bedroom and not in hospital, I cried that I could move my limbs, that I had full control of my body and that I was alive.

I also cried for, what seemed to me, the great unfairness of it all. No closer to what’s happening with my liver, and now am struggling to deal with Migraines so severe that everyone thought I was having a stroke.

On a Wednesday afternoon after a shower I was trying to look up an interesting article about a scientist who had a brain split when I kept misspelling the word split and halfway through messaging a friend, my thumb kept hitting the wrong keys. Laughing I put the phone down when I realised that the whole of my right arm had pins and needles.

Thinking I had been sitting at an awkward angle I got up and started to shake it when I realised it felt that it wasn’t attached and I couldn’t move it past my shoulder without it dropping straight back down.

Things started to become blurry and I thought I better get dressed because if I was about to pass out I wanted to be dressed for the encounter. I tried to pull up some jeans but it caused great difficulty because I didn’t seem to have any spatial awareness and kept missing the waist band. Trying to keep calm I managed to single-handedly put them on and reached for a shirt, when I realised that my right arm couldn’t pull it on, nor could I do up the buttons.

Putting on a jumper I said aloud what the Fuck? And I realised that I didn’t sound like me, that the right side of my face had gone numb and that my speech was slurred.

Calling my mum I tried to tell her I thought I was having some kind of allergic reaction, that’s when I then realised that I couldn’t form sentences and then I started to panic.

Straight away my mum told me to get to the hospital.

Trying to call for an ambulance and I became extremely frustrated because I couldn’t remember my post code and I could see it in my mind’s eye, I just couldn’t get my mouth to connect with my brain. After an agonising game of trying to figure out where I lived, I sat and waited for the ambulance to get me all the while thinking “this can’t be a stroke, I’m only 26, this can’t be happening.”

The paramedics came, my voice had returned to normal but I still couldn’t form sentences. I’d get a few words out and I’d either forget what I was trying to say or get upset because I could see what I wanted to say, I knew how to answer the questions, but my brain and mouth were separate.

It was such an awful feeling of helplessness. Overall the whole experience lasted about an hour or so. I had a CT scan immediately, and was kept in the hospital overnight.

Lying in the acute stroke unit is most definitely an experience that I wish not to repeat. I’m grateful that I had a Migraine Aura and not a full on stroke, but regardless, the experience was intense. It is so easy to see what could have been and I have gone to sleep every evening with immense gratitude, knowing it could have been so much worse.

This was about three weeks ago and I still have a deep sense of gratitude for my body and all the amazing things that we take for granted.  Sure, when it first happened I  became really upset and couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening and why it was happening to me. Thankfully I can say I’m not carrying that around with me any more. I am so very lucky that there was not any permanent damage.

Number one focus at the moment is getting my health back on track, I still haven’t a clue what’s happening with my liver, why my IBD is flaring or why this is all started when I came back from Australia.

It’s going to take some time, but I have hope that I’ll be able to feel like I did when I was healthy and loving life in Melbourne.

Enjoy the rest of your day, where ever you are. I’m pretty chuffed as this is the first Bank Holiday I have been able to have in a long time!

Keep smiling 🙂


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