Five years ago, in my thirties, I had a totally unexpected stroke which turned out to be the result of a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm.
Luckily for me, it was quickly diagnosed and successfully coiled. I was in hospital for weeks, suffering terrible pain, unable to do much with my right leg and arm, experienced excruciating light sensitivity and had awful double vision.
When I left hospital in a wheelchair, I was unable to walk unaided, couldn't use my right arm, still had the double vision, and continued to suffer from debilitating headaches. I also had cognitive difficulties, got tired very easily, would burst into tears for no apparent reason and was absolutely terrified of being left alone.
Gradually, with the support of my wonderful husband and a steady supply of paracetemol, I recovered my abilities and some of my confidence.
Around 15 months after the SAH, I was thrilled when I was told I could drive again, although it was another 6 months before I was able to quell my nerves sufficiently to test drive and purchase a car. The day I picked up my new vehicle was a real milestone for me, as I had felt so dependent on others for almost 2 years.
I still suffer from anxiety (partly the result of worrying about a second aneurysm which I am advised should not be treated due to its tricky location meaning the risk from treatment outweighs the risk of rupture), I have blinding migraine type headaches and continue to tire more easily than most people my age. However, people who meet me and don't know about my illness never guess that there is anything wrong.
I had to give up my management career, but I started my own business which gives me the freedom to work from home and I can work around those days when I'm not feeling 100%.
The NHS did a fantastic job of saving me and although my recovery was slow, I am almost back to where I was and am enjoying my new life. I hope my story may help anyone who is feeling bleak about the future after experiencing something similar.