I am pretty lucky to be alive. My family was nearly torn apart when – aged just 34, I had suffered a massive stroke.
I was softly spoken, sporty, community-driven and social. I was a marathon runner, played cricket and always very conscious of my health. I showed none of the warning signs of someone likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury. But with a new dream job working at AFL house, a new baby boy and a brand new house, everything came crumbling down.
I was in a coma for two weeks, endured four brain surgeries and my family were told numerous times that the outcome was extremely poor. However, against all odds I managed to wake up from my coma, but finding myself paralysed and unable to communicate.
I stayed in hospital for six months, and I spent a further 10 months attending full time outpatient rehabilitation. I worked hard to be independent and re-learn things that my brain was unable to do – including how to walk, talk, read, write, bathe, swim, drive, in addition to combating symptoms of anxiousness, epilepsy, vision issues and fatigue.
Almost 7 years on, I am making the most of my new lease on life. I started a blog for other stroke survivors, I had a second child, I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, volunteering at the Stroke Foundation and learning to run. I feel this stroke of luck. A second chance to make a difference. I am now committed to sharing my story, inspiring others while raising awareness of strokes, particularly in younger people.
My tale is one of resilience, gratitude, positivity, beating the odds and finding the silver lining when life deals you what seems to be an unwinnable hand.
For more information about Paul please contact Speakers Bank’s Project Officer on 03 9314 0988 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch Paul’s Video: