Superwoman Tracey – My journey back from Intensive Care.

22 September 2018

When did you first realise you had had a stroke?

Had a really bad headache which caused me to be sick. A family member called for an ambulance who took me to hospital as I was looking very poorly. We all thought it was a very nasty migraine. The doctor ran some initial tests which indicated something more sinister. Everybody’s moods suddenly changed. They immediately took me to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) for a brain scan.
What happened?

The results from the brain scan found a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage which was a bleed between my brain and brain lining that has similar symptoms to a stroke. I was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where I spent the next 5 weeks starting in the Intensive Care Unit.

What was your diet like up until then?

My life was quite normal – or so I thought. I did eat too late at night and had too much salt in my diet. I was conscious of eating healthy, and did try but I would allow myself more treats than I maybe should have had. I also drank lots of coffee.

What was your lifestyle like (how active were you)?

I was quite active – I would go to the gym 2/3 times per week. I know I should try to do above 10000 steps each day but I didn’t really prioritise that.

How did it affect you?

During my recovery making conversation was a real challenge as I couldn’t get certain words out. I would struggle with them and movement down my right side was very limited which I have worked very hard with to regain.
What support and advice did the doctors give you?

The doctors didn’t really give me much advice or support to take home. They just told me to reduce my salt intake and change my coffee to decaf. They prescribed paracetamol and later put me on medication to keep my blood pressure down. I was unhappy with the advice and lack of support from the hospital. Mel at Xcel gave me more advice to help me get my health back.

You have turned your life around since? What was recovery like? What did it entail?

The recovery was definitely hard work. I increased my exercise and started counting my steps with a pedometer. I would make an extra effort to make sure I hit my target each day. I just need to learn to rest a bit more now.

How long after did you start to exercise?

Is was 5 months before I could start to exercise again. I teamed up with Mel at Xcel first because I needed someone to watch over me and support me as I had no confidence. This was a big thing for me as going through such an ordeal knocks your own self-confidence. I needed to be sure that I was physically okay to do the exercises and that my body was ready.

Have you changed the way you eat as you have lost lots of weight?

I eat less food than I did. I have reduced my portion sizes and I have less treats as I know this is much better for me.

Do you think you have become more active?

Without doubt - I’ve doubled my gym sessions and I make the effort to go out walking 6 days a week so that I achieve at least 10,000 steps per day.

What “clicked” in your mind to make such a change?

I knew that this something I was in control of and it was up to me to do this. If I wanted better health then I had to change. I’m not ready to go off anywhere just yet!

Was the change difficult or did you just think “I need to change”?

No, it made me realise what I needed to prioritise in my life and what was important to me, then got my head in the right place and stuck to my plan.

How is your life now and how do you feel?

I’m a lot more active which really has made a difference to my health. I feel good about myself, I’m much fitter and people keep telling me I look a lot better which is nice.

Would you ever go back to your old habits?

My family are really pleased with my recovery and all the changes that I have made. I intend to stay active as I do feel much better and I believe that my new habits have replaced my old ones.


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