My Name is Georgina and I live happily in South Gloucestershire with my husband, 3 children and my dog Peppa.
I had a stroke in 2019 when I was only 28, but I survived it and I have gone on to do well in my life. Far from thinking ‘Why Me?’, I have learned to live my life, accept my stroke, and have found my post stroke life to have turned out in unexpected ways.
I was born and bred in Bristol and have always been a very creative and artistic person. When I was 21 I met Laurence and had 3 children. Life was busy, but fun.
My stroke happened very suddenly, whilst I was a passenger in my husband’s car. I had a really severe headache, felt sick and ended up virtually falling out of the car.
Because of my age, a stroke was not suspected at first and nothing showed up on a CT scan, but I knew something was very wrong. Six days later, an MRI showed that I had a dissecting artery (which relates to hypermobility of my joints, discovered later) and eventually I was diagnosed with a brain stem stroke, which has affected my left side.
I initially struggled to walk and my balance has been affected - I still have ‘blips’ and fall now. I felt dizzy and tired and found ‘normal’ things so difficult. I think as well as the physical effects of a stroke, it’s the hidden side effects which are in some ways more difficult to overcome. The visual problems, fatigue, dizziness and anxiety can make you feel very distressed at times.
It was difficult to manage family life, even with the support of my mum and husband and we were unable to get support from social services. Some months after my stroke I was referred to Bristol after Stroke. Along with the support from my Stroke Coordinator, Val, I have received counselling and have attended their Cafes and groups. Thanks to Bristol After Stroke’s support and services, I was able to gradually improve.
A turning point in my recovery was joining Rosetta Life (a performance-based project in partnership with Bristol After Stroke). This gave me a chance to remember my creative artistic side - I even gave a solo performance and danced in a show we produced. I think being able to perform and be creative along with a group of like-minded supportive friends has been vital in my recovery. Although Covid stopped our planned tour, we still meet up regularly on Zoom and have other performances planned.
In fact, life is good and full now. The children are at school and I have a part-time job in a Café. I also run a Community Group called Downtime, which stands for Diverse - Open Minded – Welcoming – Neighbourhood- Talk- Imagine – Make -Enjoy. Having a stroke has a massive impact on your mental health and I am now so glad to be able to support people going through life’s challenges - stroke or not.
I also feel that my stroke journey is bringing back my artistic side even more and I am now exploring going in to healing and spiritual areas. Maybe Reflexology (I don’t mind feet!) or massage.
I now feel more confident in myself and I am ready to move forward with whatever life brings.