A massive stroke left me immobile and unable to speak, White Lodge has been the backbone of my recovery

With three children and a successful career in teaching I had a very busy life. I was in my forties and was on an activity holiday with my school when I suffered a minor neck jerk whilst abseiling which left me feeling a bit dizzy and nauseous but then it passed. A few days later I felt uncharacteristically out of breath whilst cycling, but again it passed so I didn’t think much about it.

A few days after that, I collapsed at work and was taken home to see a doctor.  I had a headache, sensitivity to light and nausea which persisted despite medication. I then began to feel tingling in my fingers and it became hard to talk and open my eyes, I was taken to hospital and ended up in intensive care, unable to move or speak – I was completely ‘locked-in’.

It took months to figure out what had happened but it seems that the initial minor neck jerk caused a blood clot entering my brain and then a massive stroke.

When I first came out of hospital, I was unable to support myself at all and had barely any strength, mobility, ability to speak or control of my mood. Communication was definitely the biggest struggle as I found it frustrating being unable to express myself.

I am unable to do a lot of the things I used to (e.g. outdoor activities like gardening and hiking or going out in the evening), but I have never lost that inner strength to keep going and focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t.

Nearly seven years ago I found White Lodge where I have been having weekly physiotherapy, NeuroFit, massage therapy and occasionally hydrotherapy. They have helped me with my mobility, voice, breathing, understanding my condition and building my confidence.

I owe so much to them, they have been the backbone of my recovery and are a lifeline. Every person, from the reception to the canteen, is so welcoming and the sessions are adapted to how I am feeling and what I need. For me it is not just a service, I have made so many friends in my group classes, making them great fun! This year I completed all three of the triathlon events at the Superhero Tri, I would never have been able to do that without the support from White Lodge.