Today, 14th December, is the first anniversary of my husband's mini-stroke. On this day a year ago as I waved our daughter off to school wearing her Christmas Jumper, my husband was in our shower room having a "funny turn". In true tragicomedy style, a man was downstairs in our kitchen deep cleaning our oven to get it ready for the onslaught of my reluctant festive cooking and I was busy fussing over what to wear later that day to meet a girlfriend for a birthday lunch - totally oblivious to his situation. Life has a funny habit of launching a missile into your midst when you least expect it and his stroke was ours.
Within the space of half an hour our world was turned upside down and I have written in an earlier post "Make May Purple for Stroke" about his experience and how our day unfolded, but sitting here today it seems surreal that that was just a year ago.
My husband always takes annual leave over the last two weeks in December to cover our wedding anniversary as well as the customary Christmas and New Year celebrations. This year, however, he is off for the whole of December as he prepares for a new job, which is the key reason why I decided to have a complete "blog break" whilst he is home, so that we could make the most of some precious and rare quality time together. It hasn't gone strictly according to plan but he would say that's life. This morning, however, I felt the occasion needed to be marked with an interim post as I found myself reflecting on the past year and the changes that have taken place.
Strokes are more common than we all think with someone in the UK suffering from a stroke every three and a half minutes and leaving many with reduced speech as well as the ability to read, write or understand. My husband was one of the lucky ones, his was mild but scary nonetheless as his body went into shut down mode and his mobility was reduced.
It goes without saying that our lifestyles are important to ensuring we remain fit and healthy and it is fair to say that at the time my husband's lifestyle was pretty rubbish. His career demands that he travels a lot but a year ago he was doing far more long haul flights than usual and frequently going straight into a demanding series of meetings on landing. His body clock was often out of sync as it never had time to recover and thus his sleep patterns were greatly disturbed. He was also spending a lot of time either eating airline food or eating at peculiar times of the day and night. Add into this the pressures of work and the unfortunate fact that he had resumed smoking after a decade and quite simply it was only a matter of time before his body reacted and made a significant cry for help.
This year he is looking forward to a new job with less travel, has quit smoking for good, is exercising more which in turn is helping his Diabetes and is several kilos lighter than at any point during his lifetime. Sometimes it is these kind of tragic situations which give us the wake up call we need to make changes to our lives that will really make a difference. Consciously or not my husband has turned a corner and when we woke this morning a year on from that nearly fateful day, our view of the world certainly seemed brighter and after a Christmas with family and friends we will look forward to 2017 and all it has to offer.