I've had one of the best and busiest years of my life, so far.
I watched my little boy grow from zero to one, and I myself, went from Miss to Mrs.
Since becoming a Mum, I have abandoned all things 'stroke,' to allow myself to concentrate on my son, my new husband, and my future.
When my stroke happened, it was as if someone had pressed the pause, and rewind buttons, on my life. As I watched my friends and family move forward and continue with their every day lives, I was stuck in time, re-learning, re-strengthening, re-building.
I became consumed by stroke, and telling my story, as for a time, it was all I had. Stroke takes so much away from people, that you will cling to anything that makes you feel you have a purpose.
When I found out I was pregnant, my priorities shifted.
I had a life growing inside me, dependent on me, and me alone, to nurture and protect. My 'purpose' had been completely reinstated, and I was so grateful that life threw me this blessing in disguise.
From week one of finding out I was pregnant, I stepped up my rehabilitation. Beforehand, I had become lazy, and uninterested, believing my physical state would never improve and that I'd be stuck with a limp, left sided weakness, and crippling tiredness for the rest of my days.
I began to go on short walks every single day. Fighting through the first 12 weeks of stomach turning nausea, I continued to walk, and walk. First it was just to the shops, and back, my sister and dog in tow, but those first few weeks of short walks progressed in to even longer ones, until finally I tackled a walk around Bramhall Park.
The park soon became the favourite place to walk for my family and I, and as the months of pregnancy passed, our walks became faster, my weight dropped, and my limp began to disappear. Every single step I walked, I walked with pride. As the life inside me grew, I realised my own life still had it's own growing to do, I had so much a head of me, and the 'stroke' haze was finally lifting.
My son has recently turned one. At eleven months old, Freddie took his first steps. Watching him learn to walk was reminiscent of when I first had my stroke, 4 years ago. From the first tentative and uneasy steps, to the stumbles and falls. Watching him learn to get up off the ground without holding on to anything, and practising to walk while holding things... Babies and stroke survivors have an awful lot in common.
Freddie has quickly gone from walking to wanting to run, and this is something that fills me with dread. Since having my stroke, in 2011, I have not yet learnt how to run again. Walking, and walking well, was something I had to work so hard on, and in the cold weather, or if I'm particularly tired, it can still sometimes be an issue. Like a babies brain, a stroke survivor's brain has to learn, understand and practise before a skill is mastered. My feet and brain have not yet mastered how to move quickly together, but it is now something I am so desperate to be able to do again.
My baby is learning to run, and I need to keep up with him. I need to be as fast, if not faster. I need to be there for him, quickly, if he needs me. If he runs, I need to run.
I have decided to set myself a goal. I WILL learn to run, and I set my sights on running a 10k for charity next year.
Life is a challenge, but let's be honest... It would be pretty boring if it wasn't.