Stroke has taken away so much but given me the gift of helping others

Sas Freeman uses her experience of stroke and recovery to raise awareness of key issues in prevention, treatment and support.

Prior to my stroke I was fit and healthy; I ate healthily, and exercised regularly; I am naturally slim, and did not put on weight – so not someone I believed to be a candidate of stroke. Post stroke, and now having learned all that I have, I know sadly, stroke can strike anyone at any age.

The day of my stroke I experienced an extremely strong pain in a small area of my head, not like a migraine. Nothing I took would ease it, I later felt sick and began to trip and stumble. My arm too felt awkward and would not cooperate, my one eye wept It crossed my mind it could be a stroke but at that time I wrongly believed I was too young. I was trying to phone my GP practice and I noticed in a mirror my face had dropped, by this time my speech was faltering.

My life pre-stroke days had been hectic I often had to juggle things at short notice. A mother of one, working countrywide doing modelling, television extra work, and supervising teams delivering advertising material for national organisations, client facing and trouble shooting when necessary. Henry, my son was at school and my partner, Nick, working and stepping in with school runs and homework. As a family, we loved our sport and skiing holidays.

Our lives as a family changed suddenly overnight, and forever. Henry the child of the family having to remain so at school but take on an adult career role outside, Nick to be father, partner and career, for me I was plunged into the unknown, a body no longer doing anything for me and a mind not able to make sense of anything or communicate correctly with those around me. My independence had been removed; I was no longer allowed a driving license, or able to participate in the sports I love, struggling with neurological fatigue and having to relearn basic tasks.

I am passionate about raising greater awareness of stroke and stroke prevention. Rehabilitation is key: with hard work and self-belief you will keep improving, and a focus on stroke prevention remains is beneficial for us all. I am mindful of the foods I eat, and keep as active as is possible within my limitations. I still practice meditation, relaxation, and visualization techniques seven years on.

Stroke knows no bounds, has no respect for age, sex, colour, weight or living standards.
It is one of the largest causes of death and it is the highest cause of disability.

1 in 6 people worldwide will have a stroke this year.
Every year, 15 million people worldwide experience a stroke. Over six million die and another five million are left permanently disabled.
1 in 4,000 babies have a stroke at birth worldwide
Up to 40% of children who have a stroke will die from it.
By the age of 75, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men will have a stroke.

Stroke has taken away so much, but equally given me the gift to be able to help so many.
I wrote and published a book to help others like myself and family members who find themselves with so many unanswered questions. It is a personal, honest guide offering advice and support and is available as a free audio book from my website

I hope that through my experience and talks I can help prevent future strokes and the word continues to spread, that must be the ultimate achievement for us all.

Stroke has taken away so much but given me the gift of helping others Reviewed by Anita Wiseman on Tuesday, October 03, 2017 Rating: 5
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