My dad even had to double check this prognosis with my speech therapist, 'will she really never be able to talk or eat again?'
'It's extremely unlikely. I'm sorry.'
I sometimes don't realise just how far I've come since September 2012 when that initial prognosis was made. Looking back it both scares and amazes me. To tell the truth, it scares me to think that I had that said about me, that I could have just stayed completely powerless, totally paralysed with only my eyes to communicate. Not knowing then how different my life would be if I'd remained locked-in.
It amazes me, of course it does. Firstly I survived. To put it bluntly, it was thought I would die that night in A&E. Secondly I pushed through, what I can only describe, as the most devastating, toughest, emotional experience in my life. Something I never thought I would have to go through, let alone go through at the tender age of 17.
And thirdly, I can walk. I can talk. I can eat normal food.
Two years after my stroke I decided to get my first tattoo. I had recently turned 18 and had always wanted to get one. So I got a quote on my upper back, 'Strength grows from weakness'. My dad comments that is very poignant. That quote made me realise that it's ok to be weak. The only way to become strong is by being weak.
Then I got a little butterfly. I had it in black as a symbol of the dark times that I've been in but also, the wings and the simple fact that they fly, symbolises my freedom. Freedom from locked-in syndrome, freedom from 10 months in hospital. Freedom from the darker times.
I'm planning my next one as I type; a hummingbird. Again the wings symbolise my freedom. The beauty of a hummingbird symbolises the person I am now beginning to transform into. As I've previously written, this year my confidence is coming back to me, my old friend finally returning. To me, that is beautiful. That is what I've since desired the most.