What's happened has happened, you can't turn back time, no matter how hard you wish.
All the while, laying in bed on the Acute Stroke Ward at Addenbrooks' Hospital, just thinking 'Why me?' I stared at all the pictures of my friends and family on the wall in front of me, constantly crying and just wishing I could go back to the fun-loving 17 year-old that I was. Back to normality.
Just seeing my name on medical documents sent me into a frenzy, 'my name isn't meant to be there..?' This just doesn't happen to anyone in my family. This doesn't happen to me. Up until now I had never been in hospital for anything. Never broken a bone, never suffered anything so serious.
I was the only 17 year-old on that ward. Not that I could move about or speak to anyone, I couldn't make friends with people anyway because our ages were so different. That was another reason for moving me to the Regional Rehab Unit in Northwick Park, at least there I would be with people of similar age, they said. I remember meeting 2 or 3 young people on that ward, stories all so tragic and heartbreaking but so inspiring to see how despite, what had happened, they remained so cheerful.
I accepted very early on that I'd had a stroke. Although I find it hard to comprehend sometimes that something so severe happened to me, never do I wish that it had never happened. I'm not saying that I'm thankful for it, no way, that's crazy! But basically it has set me on a path; I now know what I want in life. Apart from the typical things like love, good friends etc I now know what I want to do; help other brain injured people. Helping those who are going through what I've been through would honestly be the most rewarding thing. Knowing that I'm helping them go through what will be the hardest time of their lives would be invaluable to me.
Getting messages now from fellow stroke survivors is just the loveliest thing; I can't quite explain how amazing it is to know that I'm inspiring others. I always get so emotional too, I think to myself 'are they really on about me?'
My life took an unexpected turn and the past 3 (coming up to 4) years have been crazy, to say the least. I've experienced both highs and lows that I'll admit, have been hard to handle at times. I have days where I get overwhelmed with the things that I now have to deal with, I can spend all day curled up in my room feeling crappy. Not once though do I ever blame the stroke itself, I honestly cannot.
But 9 times out of 10 I'm very happy and cheerful! :)
I have met some truly incredible people along my journey and you have all made my recovery so much easier.
My neurophysiotherapist, Haley Mersh, MUST get a mention. You are amazing; since coming to you, I have improved continuously, despite being told my recovery would stop. You always surprise me with what techniques you've come up with to help my rehab, every session is different. You are only ever a WhatsApp message away and I love how I always message you when I notice even the slightest of improvements in myself and you will always message back with multiple emoji's to show your delight!
I always look forward to sessions with you because I know we'll have a good old laugh!
Bev Creagh, my friend for life. Not only have you followed my story for nearly 2 years but have always been there for me; all I have to do is send you a quick email. You've taken me where I've wanted to go if my parents haven't been able to and you've highlighted possibly every aspect of my story/recovery in the newspaper, helping me raise awareness.
And of course, you nominated me for the Young Person Of The Year award this year.
Kate Allatt, I've only met you once in person but you have inspired me from the very day I found out about your charity 2 years ago.
When I met you, I felt an underlying connection, I think both our stories are just so similar. I don't think I've ever cried so much as when I read your book!
What you've achieved since your stroke and what you continue to achieve inspires me so much; one day I hope to write a book and give speeches around the country about my story too. I am in awe of you!
Daisy Hythe-Clayton, you are an absolute star! Every time I see you, it's always so lovely and we have such a laugh! You've enabled me to share my story in the media many times, which I am so thankful for. You helped me with ideas for this blog; it was a great 2 hours spent in the pub!
Lizzie Ashmore, Angharad Lloyd-Thomas & Lauren Bradfield, you have all been invaluable! After my stroke I felt like the only young person to experience this, I felt so isolated. But meeting you guys has enabled me to feel normal again, messaging you lot and sharing my story or just talking to you about 'normal' stuff, has made me feel like the young girl that I am. Thank you!
Vicky Pickford, Dora Asalon, Krishna Pindolia, it's an absolute pleasure talking to you guys. Vicky, you always give me such great support in anything I do, we share knowledge and understanding and I know I can message you when I have an issue I want help with! I will definitely come up and see you & Paul in 2016!
Dora, it's so nice to just have someone to talk to, especially going through hard times. I so hope we can meet before Christmas :)
Krishna, you always give such positive feedback on my blogs! Your story inspires me, even 10 years on, you're still achieving great things! It's amazing to see where you was after your stroke, to now; it's definitely giving me hope.
I haven't forgotten people; everyone I've met on Facebook, stroke survivors or not, thank you!
Receiving messages from you lot means so much to me, I don't know how many times people I don't personally know have contacted me but it's means the world to know that I'm reaching out to you in someway or another.
I love you all!