You’re about to read Elin’s remarkable story of recovering from a brain haemorrhage. This is a story of how life can change in an instant, a story of self-determination and a story of hope.
My story starts on a normal Saturday
January 7 2023 began as a completely normal Saturday. I got up feeling alert and happy, ready to go to the gym and do a CrossFit session with friends. I was looking forward to a busy day, as most days in my old life were and which I loved.
When I was chatting with my friends a few minutes before the gym session, I felt my head spin; it felt like I had a drop in blood pressure. Then I remember thinking I needed to sit down for a couple of minutes and breathe deeply to relieve the dizziness.
When I sat down, I remember holding my head and then some people asked how I felt. I answered, “I don’t know, I feel so strange.” They asked how my blood sugar was. I replied that it was fine, this was not something diabetes-related, and I remember that I was suddenly struck by a feeling that my body had shut down; my body felt like spaghetti, completely weak as if all the muscles died.
My wonderful friends made the life-saving decision to call 112. By this time, I felt something was terribly wrong.
I remember desperately sitting on the floor screaming in despair “I’m going to die, please help me, I don’t want to die!” The only thing I could focus on was staying awake and surviving a little longer so I could see my children and husband.
My time in hospital and rehabilitation
I had experienced a brain haemorrhage that left me weak on my left side and for the first six weeks, confined to a wheelchair.
After a week at the Neuro intensive Care Unit in Lund, three weeks at the Neurology Department at Trelleborg’s Hospital, and another six weeks at a rehabilitation hospital in southern Sweden, I finally came home to my family in mid-March. Here, my rehab journey continued with training at a rehab center in Trelleborg for 4 hours a week, and endless hours of training at home and my local gym.
One of the few memories I have from the first week in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit in Lund is that I wished to be there when my oldest daughter graduated in June. My wish came true; it was a great day and I even gave a speech, walked with a cane and stayed the whole evening, such luck!
A big turning point in my condition was at the end of May when the neurologists in Lund finally found the cause of my brain haemorrhage. The doctors discovered a fistula (vessel malformation). A couple of weeks later, I had surgery and the feeling that everything went well was indescribable, it was such an extreme relief!
In November, doctors were able to successfully remove the vessel malformation that caused my stroke. I can now continue with my rehab without the risk of it happening again.
How I'm feeling now
Today I feel good. I feel hopeful, love, and appreciate life in a different way than before the brain haemorrhage. Before, I was a restless soul who was constantly looking for new challenges and kicks. In a way, I still do and it’s probably that vein in me that makes me have the strength to fight, train and challenge myself in my rehab. The big difference is that today, I also enjoy everyday life.
I feel such gratitude for life, to my amazing husband and our wonderful daughters, that I am alive and still get to be with them and see how they develop.
What inspires me to keep going
My Instagram account (elinstrokefighter) which I started in April has grown to over 31,000 followers today, and I am so overwhelmed by all the responses! So many people contact me with tips and cheers. It gives me the strength to continue with my training, and a kick to be able to inspire and be inspired!
I feel that by sharing my story about what happened and how I was affected, I can hopefully inspire, learn, and share knowledge with other survivors or relatives.
I have noticed a pent-up need out there to see and be inspired by others who are struggling to get back to normal life.
Nothing is impossible
The success in my recovery journey is, without doubt, due to the crucial support and encouragement from family and friends. Also, my drive, persistence and determination to never give up and to continue and vary my rehab training have played a big part in my success.
My quote that I try to inspire and motivate myself as well as my followers on Instagram is that “Nothing is impossible, the impossible just takes a little longer to learn”.
Elin’s story, like many brain injury survivors, started on a completely normal day. Brain injury doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to the fittest of people and at any age.
At SameYou, we’re on a mission to help and support brain injury survivors, because we know that brain injury doesn’t just affect the brain, but the whole person. Will you join our community today to help spread the word, become an activist and support the work we do by donating to us?
With your help, we can support people like Elin on their road to recovery.