Life after stroke: three years on

Today I am three years post stroke! I would be celebrating with a large glass of prosecco however I am in the middle of two long days so will postpone the celebrating till later in the week. Actually, take me back to three years ago where I was arriving at a hospital for a very different reason and where I am now would actually be a bit of a pipe dream. I've wrote these updates on this day for the past couple of years and I'm so glad I have. I go back and read them myself and see just how far I've come. I'll write this post with the honesty and realism I always have.

Last year I wrote about how it's said that two years post stroke recovery is as good as it's gonna get! Well, I would say that another year on top of that and recovery is still ongoing. Physically, I'd pretty much recovered from the effects a while before that two years mark, but it was more the mental challenges that were ongoing. To be frankly honest I wouldn't say a whole lot of things have improved in that department. The anxiety thing is still a struggle and I wrote a whole blog post about it here. It was very honest and emotional for me to share however the response has made it so worth it. I have received so many kind messages, words and tweets from you all, thanks so much for that! I find sometimes that things get really difficult, then other times things pick up and I'm like 'I'm fine'! Haha, well I'm not I guess but it's a learning curve!

Something that I would say has improved relating to my mentality is my confidence. Over the past year I've gained a lot more self confidence and self esteem. How has this happened? I would say down to the incredible people I have around me. I have some fantastic friends who have supported and held me up (at times literally!) from day one post stroke and they still do now. As well, I have some incredible housemates who make my stomach muscles ache from laughter on a daily basis that I don't think I'd be getting through uni without. They are there for the highest highs and lowest lows, as cringey as it sounds I don't know what I would do without them. I lucked out finding those guys! My mum and dad have had faith in my from the moment of my stroke, and stand by me with all of my decisions. They push me to get help when I need it and give me the confidence to have faith in myself. If any of these people are reading this now, I love ya! Anyway, soppy bit over...moving on.

Last weekend, three years post stroke I hopped on a plane with a friend for a girly holiday. I was sure to wear my flight socks and wiggle my feet about to prevent history repeating itself (last time I went on a girls hol it ended with the stroke!). The trip was so fantastic and gave me that bug again for travelling and seeing the world. We're already planning our next trip.

There are many effects of a stroke you just don't think about. A big one for me was the exhaustion. After my stroke I really struggled with this, but since I started my course and started shifts, I'm tired a lot, but I'm coping with it. The other week actually I went on a night out with a friend, partied till it was light (we did not realise the time!) haha, but my early body clock meant I was wide awake my 9am. That few hours sleep meant that by the time the evening was coming around I was exhausted. It was the first time in a long time I noticed that my speech began to suffer a little bit and I just couldn't get my words. I was actually quite taken a back and my mum was like wow you really are tired. Sometimes I get a tingly sensation down my left side, particularly into my hand, but other than this though I feel that in the past year any speech difficulties I was having have nearly disappeared.

I'm in my final couple of months of the second year of my degree and come September I'll be a third year student midwife nearly qualifying! Oh God! How terrifying! Although scary, I look forward to what the next year has to hold! I hope a lot of happiness and laughter! Once I qualify I'm not sure what the future holds for me, a very long sleep I imagine, but I'm looking to the near future and keeping focus on that.

I'm not sure if this will be the final life after stroke update. I don't know how much longer I'll have anything to write in these! But keep an eye on the blog over the next few weeks for holiday related blog posts!

Thanks for all the love as usual!
Hannah x

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