The stroke I had changed my life. I took it as a stroke of luck – a warning to change my existence. Just a few years ago, I was a woman who looked amazing from the outside. I was very social, but, I was also stressed with work, children, family, finance, and more.
One evening, I was getting ready to go to a social function for a good cause and speaking on the phone at the same time. Suddenly, I felt dizzy — couldn’t get my voice out — couldn’t open my mouth. My left hand could not hold my phone and … I fell to the ground. What seemed like a few hours were actually 20 minutes of my inability to move. I wanted to speak but couldn’t get the words out. I wanted to scream for help to my kids but my mind and body were not connecting. At that instance, the fear settled in my mind. Is this it? Am I dying? Is this what it feels like to leave? I didn’t want to die, just not yet. My little ones needed me and I wanted to see them grow up. That episode of 20 minutes changed my entire life. I was more scared about transient ischemic attack (TIA) aka mini stroke, than the time I was paralyzed waist down for one year. At that brief moment I saw how my life was being taken away from me. I wanted to live, be happy, see my kids and be with my husband. I started to think of the things I could have lost.
Sometimes, it takes something so sudden before you are hit with your reality. For months, I struggled to walk. I pushed myself to go to the gym. My situation became worse than the stress I felt prior to my stroke. I had gained 45 pounds. My autoimmune system could not cope with my condition nor could it support me in improving my health. I would go out to a party after six-eight months, but would just sit there. The next day, it was difficult to get up. I would cancel meeting with people and after some time, they would stop interacting as they could not understand what was wrong with me. From the outside I looked perfectly fine but I had become accustomed to not showing my vulnerable side. If I attempted to return to work, I would start having panic attacks. I started to feel cornered, not knowing how to help myself.
Close to one year later, I started to think that either I can live this life or push myself to recover. I started to take my dog, Toby out for walks for a few minutes; then those walks extended to thirty minutes and eventually into five miles. The biggest joy was being able to jog to see the progress in my weight. I had lost 20 pounds. I was able to sleep peacefully and think better. I was able to cook meals and still have energy for other activities.
I had to work on my autoimmune system. With an autoimmune disorder (leaky gut, gluten and thyroid problems, wheat allergies, lactose intolerance and more), you are constantly hit with various challenges. I decided to change my life completely and worked on becoming certified in Integrative Nutrition as a health and life coach. As an entrepreneur in the pharmacy industry with a psychology background, it was enough for me to communicate on proper healthy living, and yet, I knew there was something lacking in our health industry. I knew that if I was facing numerous health challenges, I needed to support those struggling just like me; who needed answers other than taking prescribed medicines to help buffer their symptoms.
I embarked on this journey to support those who wanted to become stronger inside out, to find the root cause of their illness and to help those determined to move forward despite their challenges. This road I took was certainly unconventional (at least with regards to the 15 years of profession I had created and worked on) and strangely I felt connected to people more than ever when I made a difference and saw a smile of gratitude. My heart would swell up. This became my passion. I wanted to teach the world that medicine is important and how you take care of your whole body takes more precedence. Having chronic migraines, I now take less frequent headache medicine. I enjoy the food I make and understand the importance of self-care, and my body thanks me each day for the resiliency.
I see the change reflected in my kids with their healthy eating, exercise, and vibrancy. They don’t ask for junk food and readily eat healthy lunches during school time. This itself is a gift!
I am amazed how these small changes allowed me to overcome stress through proper sleep, breathing exercise, and eating habits. I now focus on being around positive people who are concerned with uplifting each other. I continue to strengthen my motivational speaking through toastmasters and consistently listen to influential people. Life gives you choice, either you can feel life is negative and has ended for you or you can meet it head on and embrace your life for the goodness that already exists, that you didn’t see before.