Desney has now had ten strokes. Before the first, Desney had been quietly working on a rough draft of a novel for several years. It was almost complete. When the stroke struck, Desney thought the novel would remain as a file on her computer forever. However, 12 years after she began writing it and 18 months of edits (which felt near impossible),Transit of Angels has just been published.
How has stroke changed my life and where am I now on my stroke journey?
I was 60 when, on 23 February 2012, I had the first of many strokes. That stroke completely changed my life.
I was no longer able to work, to drive nor to socialise. And I could no longer write creatively, which meant the novel that was in its 13th draft lay dormant, and my blog posts stopped. I’d been working as a freelance book editor for years, and suddenly had no income, and very little savings.
I’m peaceful, serene, optimistic, and grateful that being surrounded by love and exceptional support has given me back my life. A completely different life, but a rich and fulfilling one, lived almost entirely from my bed.
What advice would I give a stroke survivor or someone who has recently suffered a stroke?
Be gentle with yourself.
It takes time – a long time – to work through the shock of having had a stroke. This can be a very distressing time for the stroke survivor as well as their family and friends. It can also take a long time to fully understand how your body, your capabilities and your life have changed. Allow yourself that time.
Change is a constant for everybody, whether we’ve had a stroke or not. But for stroke survivors, accepting the significant changes is a work in progress. Once we can arrive at a place of deep acceptance of our situation, we are liberated to work on whatever we’re still capable of, which might turn out to be a lot more, or very different from, anything we could have imagined, pre-stroke. Never give up.