My mother is the most inspiring woman on earth for me. In 2010, she suffered a stroke which left her paralyzed on the entire left side of her body for quite a long time. With an amazing courage and iron will, she fully recovered. Her stroke was terrible for me, but little did I know then, that I had to go through a painful, exhausting and maddening time too.
My awakening started two years ago in April 2012. I woke up one morning feeling dizzy, confused, nauseous with a heavy migraine. Headaches were, unfortunately, already a part of my life since my early twenties. Some days, they gave me a break, and some days, they were back in my life, making me feel highly irritated and sad. At the time, doctors did not know what was wrong with me and so I just kept ignoring the headaches finding relief in some pain killers.
I used to be a transactional business lawyer, so work was always my only priority in life. I considered my body as a machine, it always had to work, no matter what. I was wrong.
This day, in April, felt strange and different, because the headache was so intense that I had to press both hands against my head in order to somehow manage to numb the sharp pain.
After two days of suffering and with the help of my family, I was finally admitted to the hospital. After a long afternoon of blood tests and scans, the emergency doctors discovered multiple blood clots in my brain, shortly leading to a fatal stroke, if left untreated.
I do not remember much of this afternoon, but all I know is that I was deeply shocked and frightened. Almost three weeks at the stroke unit of the hospital followed. No words can describe what I have been through. These three weeks felt like ages.
The treatment with an anticoagulant or blood thinner caused me deep concern. I had to closely watch my diet, as some foods could interfere with its effectiveness. The regular blood tests called INR (International Normalized Ratio), two to three times a week (if I was lucky), led to awful bruises on both arms. Besides, I was living in a constant state of fear that my INR was too low or too high (it had to be between two or three). Generally, if the INR is too low, there is a risk of developing blood clots again. If the INR is too high, there is a risk of hemorrhage.
Regular checkups were the routine. When you are sick, isolation is inevitable, but I will always be grateful for the everlasting support of my family and dearest friends.
One day, at the beginning of 2013, after eight months of treatment, with the approval of the doctors, I stopped taking the blood thinner. I still remember the day, I had tears in my eyes and I felt deeply relieved. I still go through tough times, but I know that no matter what, I am going to make it.
This experience set me free and made me reconsider my entire attitude to life. Everyone's attitude to life can change, even if one has not experienced a life-threatening event. Here are some thoughts that I want to share.
Every morning, I wake up and I just take the time to be thankful that I do not have a headache and that I feel quite alright. Everyone should take the time to be thankful for something, no matter what this might be. Health is the most precious gift that was given to you, listen to the warning signs of your body.
Do not put yourself under undue pressure, because in doing that, you miss all the great, even little, opportunities that life has to offer every day. Just let go and do not fear the unknown.
Keep smiling: The only side effect of smiling is that eventually you will get more wrinkles. But wrinkles are charming and interesting, part of someone's personality, and maybe some of us will have good genes, so they will appear much later.
Accept your mistakes: Mistakes, finally, will get you to the person that you really want to be. Through mistakes, you will learn how to deal with disappointment and defeat. You will progress, grow and become a stronger person.
Stay true to yourself and never lose track of who you really are. Sooner or later, it will naturally lead you to the person that is meant to be with you. Never give him/her up, for whatever reason, because if you do, you know that deep down, he/she is not meant to be with you.
Your past is undoubtedly a part of you: Stop looking back and mainly concentrate on the present and the future. Forget the people that caused you harm. They are not relevant anymore.
Avoid negative people and surround yourself with people you love and cherish.
Be a generous, creative and stunning person: Leave your mark on the planet.
Open your eyes and restore your bond with nature: walk, forget the car, whenever possible. Take your dog with you, if you have one. Simply look at the beauty of nature, it fills you with bliss.
I could continue to write endlessly, but I have to go out for a walk with my dog. He is already waiting for me and he is looking at me with the most faithful glance. I am a lucky person.
For my wonderful parents and sister, thank you for always believing in me.
For Arianna Huffington, an incredible strong woman.
I hope that this post can help other people around the world to face their personal ordeals.
I also hope that this post can convince even the most skeptical readers.