"I had a stroke"
On January 5th 2008 I woke up in the pitch black knowing instantly that something was very wrong. I turned to my husband Darren and told him my leg felt strange and could he rub it? Ha ha - no, it wasn’t a come on! He immediately sat up to look at me and reached for the phone, I heard him say he needed an ambulance as unbeknown to me, I was slurring my words so much it I was hard to understand. I’d had a stroke.
I was 42, never smoked, hardly drank, normal blood pressure, and normal weight. The ambulance took me to QMC Emergency department where a scan confirmed what everyone could see.
My left side was paralysed and I couldn’t even sit without falling over, they catheterised me and put me on a drip. Eventually everyone had to leave me and I lay in my hospital bed listening to the strange voices and figures walking around the ward, knowing this was very serious but not feeling the slightest bit scared. I knew God was with me.
I was transferred to the specialist stroke ward at Nottingham City where I was surrounded by other people who’d suffered strokes - but they were all elderly. The next morning I could hear someone asking patients if they’d like a cup of tea, ‘’I will please’’ I said, only to find out I wasn’t allowed any food or drink as my swallowing muscles didn’t work either. It was 10 days before I was allowed to drink!
I received much prayer from my church and lots of churches and I know God answered them because within a week I was walking again and able to lift my arm - although it was a dead weight and pretty useless. At around day 10 the consultant came to see me and checked me over, he shook my hand and told me he thought I’d eventually make a full recovery, I smiled and nodded because I KNEW I would. I had lots of physiotherapy exercises to do and was allowed to go home 12 days after my stroke. But now the hard work would start. My husband had to return to work and Mum moved in for a while as I still couldn’t use my arm much so couldn’t dress or wash myself.
It’s true that in times of trouble we as Christians and non Christians turn to God for strength but I can honestly say that without God's loving care and faithfulness I don’t think I would have survived the following months. There were times I didn’t want to get out of bed to face the day and when I did I was sometimes so frightened and traumatised I couldn’t stop shaking. At these times I would kneel by my bed and pray out loud or read Psalm 91 over and over, it was a great comfort to me and I would immediately feel God's presence and his peace flow over me. I started to recover slowly over the next 6 months and returned to work 5 months after it happened, which in hindsight was too soon.
Before my stroke I was very unhappy in my job as a Beauty Therapist but I’d done it for 27years and didn’t know how to do anything else, I felt trapped in my career. I went back just two days a week. As you can imagine the money was really tight by now. I’d only received statutory sick pay and now I was earning even less than that, also Darren was on short time again at work. Then one day Mum came over with an envelope saying someone from church had said God told them to give us some money. Then the week after, we received an envelope through the post with an anonymous card with money i nit saying the same, then again the week after. All three envelopes had the same amount in and all had different writing and were from different people. God was providing for us.
I finally realised how much God loved me and wanted to take care of me. I had never felt so close to him as I did then. I knew from then on, if I just put my trust in him we would always be alright and I felt so safe.
Six weeks after leaving hospital I had rehabilitation at a local day unit. I attended for 6 weeks and they helped me a lot in my physical recovery and a year later I returned to see if they could give me advice on how to get into working in rehabilitation as I was very unhappy in my job. I’d been praying for God to help me get out of my line of work somehow. The same OT was there and he said I could do some volunteer work with him there one day a week. I did and I ended up being there 10 months I loved it and I eventually got a paid job working as a rehabilitation support worker in a hospital in Belper working with people who’d had Strokes amongst other things. God got me that job and created the opportunities that led up to it. I’m doing a job that I love and we are financially secure all down to God’s blessing.
If any of you are in terrible dark situations just look to God and pray and trust, read your Bible and stay close to him because although you might not understand why it’s happening, God IS with you and he loves you, and he WILL bring you through! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" – Philippians 4:13