And, don't get me started on looks; my face had some residual drooping (and no amount of makeup would hide a drooping eyebrow), my left arm hung awkwardly out of my shoulder socket (called subluxation) and after 4 whole months of not eating anything, when I was allowed to eat again, I wanted all food. McDonald's, Chinese takeaway, vast amounts of chocolate. Jam doughnuts were my favourite treat. Before I knew it I had become a lot heavier in weight.
Before my stroke I was underweight-ish then I lost nearly 10kg... then I piled it back on. And more.
I hated it.
And I had little way of exercising; I was confined to my wheelchair most of the time and very weak.
I went from being a skinny minny:
To some crazy burger-loving woman:
It was hard to find clothes to flatter my dodgy, subluxed shoulder and my now-bigger frame. Leggings hugged my legs in all the wrong places and big baggy jumpers made me look frumpy, even though they hid my belly well. It was a nightmare. It really got me down, weight is a sensitive issue at any age and for anyone but especially to a 17 year-old girl.
My metabolism had slowed right down; whatever I ate seemed to go straight to my hips, despite efforts to cut down.
Before I left hospital, the dietician on my rehab unit put me on a strict diet and made me keep a food diary. That was around the same time when I went home at weekends so I often lied about what I really ate when I was there.. Shh..
When the time came each week to be weighed, I stepped onto the scales with baited breath, hoping some weight had miraculously been lost. No such luck. Albeit smaller increments, my weight continued to mount up. The dietician seemed out of options really. I felt disgusting.
Then I was discharged and things began to change. I got rid of all my junk food. I bought an exercise bike too. My weight stabilised finally and began to drop.
Then 8 months later (once my GP had FINALLY cleared me to enrol at the gym) I lost weight faster (and I even built some muscles too!) and everything seemed to come together. I finally could wear nicer, fitted tops and tight jeans, clothes that I didn't mind hugging my new-found figure.
Before my stroke, I'd suffered with terrible acne (as you can probably see in the picture). I'd been prescribed the contraceptive pill for this.. but it didn't work. Instead it clotted my blood and caused a stroke. Fab.
The long time spent not wearing makeup and having good, nutritious supplements pumped straight into my stomach, cleared it right up, not a spot in sight. Finally my skin looked healthy.
Along with my weight loss, my clear skin and the fact that the residual drooping of the left side of my face had evened up, my confidence has soared right up.
My left shoulder still isn't completely normal, it still hangs a bit dodgy out of the socket but it's something that doesn't particularly bother me anymore. There are some things way more important in life than a weird-looking shoulder guys.
I don't have a 'before' photo but here's a photo of me 'after'- I love a good selfie.
You may have noticed my change in hair colour too; when I was very, very young it was white blonde in fact. Then it got darker and ended up a ginger/strawberry blonde colour. After I came out of hospital I just wanted to get rid of it, I just wanted to try and become a new individual, have a different identity. I didn't want to associate myself with the person I was before my stroke. This was me now.
Anyway, if like me you've suffered a stroke and suddenly found yourself in a pickle with your weight, I would say to you, to never stop moving, really. Enrol at the gym if you can, walk (not only will you lose weight but it'll be good for your rehab too!) or if you're in a wheelchair, cycle as often as you can! (Like in the top picture.)
Not to make it sound too much like a tutorial but for clearer skin, I recommend exfoliating everyday. Experts only say to do it twice a week but don't listen to them! I exfoliate everyday to enable a smooth base for my makeup.
Then use primer. Then foundation and then bronzer.
Hope I've helped in some way or another! By the way, I hope you lot know that if you do have questions or would even like to know more about me (hard to believe hehe), email me, contact me on Twitter or Facebook. I welcome anything; I would love your feedback even on how I could make my blog posts better or if there's something you want me to write about :)