In her early 20s, with no prior symptoms Georgie's stroke came as a huge shock and reminder that you never know what is around the corner.
A little bit about Georgie
My name is Georgie Hennah and I’m a 25-year-old stroke survivor from the UK. Back in May 2020 I suffered a rare haemorrhagic stroke, due to ruptured AVM (a cluster of tangled blood vessels which burst), that left me paralysed down the left side of my body. Having had no symptoms prior to this, as well as living a healthy and active lifestyle, this came as a huge shock to everyone and was a strong reminder that you never know what is around the corner.
My ongoing recovery
14 weeks, 3 hospitals and 1 brain surgery later, I finally returned home after following an intense neurorehabilitation programme where I had to relearn how to walk and use my left arm again. It was here that I started blogging about my experience and documenting my journey on my recovery Instagram page. I’ve come on leaps and bounds in my rehabilitation and I’m doing things physically that doctors once told me would never be possible again. The biggest challenges I live with daily are muscle spasticity, epilepsy & foot drop. I still practice daily physio and use electrical stimulation to lift my foot up when I walk, but the hospital appointments have significantly reduced, and I finally feel in control of my life again rather than my condition having control over me.
Turning challenges into opportunities
Although I have been able to stay positive most of the time, the reality of my stroke left me feeling unconfident, disconnected from myself, purposeless, limited, isolated, frustrated and anxious about my health to name a few. It really hasn’t been an easy road, with many hiccups along the way, both physical and mental! Through navigating this new life and figuring out what works for me, I'm finally regaining my freedom and feeling more confident which is enabling me to fully embrace all that life has to offer.
Returning to work, travelling round Borneo, snorkeling on holiday, moving out to live independently and climbing Snowdon are just a few examples of the things I have been up to recently which I could’ve never imagined myself doing back when I was in hospital.
My support network during recovery
Health specialists that have played a huge role in my recovery journey include physios, OTs, neurologists, psychotherapist, sports injury therapists & chiropractor.
My biggest source of support has come from my boyfriend, friends, family, counsellor and neuro physio. Without them I really don’t know where I would be! The online brain injury/stroke community has also been an amazing support and source of mutual understanding.
Following my passion
Having realised that life does not have to stop after experiencing something as life changing as this, and feeling more like myself than ever before, I’ve had a strong desire to help others who are living with a neurological condition/injury. In September 2021 I took the plunge and started a Life Coaching course. After 6 months of studying and countless hours of coaching practice, I received my certification in May 2022 (nearly 2 years on the dot) and have been coaching young people living with a neurological condition on my days off from my other job since. My biggest goal when I first went into hospital was to not let this stroke stop me from living the life I want, and my mission is to help others achieve this too. This has been the biggest high in my recovery so far – using my experience to connect and help with others.
My advice to other survivors & caregivers
Talk about your feelings! It’s a rollercoaster of a ride but having a safe space to acknowledge and share your feelings is so important in moving forward through the journey and processing what has happened.
A quote that’s helped me navigate recovery is ‘We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond!’ and ‘survivors don’t have time to ask ‘why me’. Instead they ask ‘what now?’’