I ran my businesses from home as I was the caregiver for my 90 year old mum who was nearly blind, had dementia and was on a walker after having her hip replaced. It was sometimes difficult to run my businesses while looking after a very demanding mother, but coping with trauma when I was hit with two serious illnesses simultaneously, really did set up some challenges for me.
Sometimes I think you work even longer hours when working from home, simply because the work is always there with you. I ran a support association for home based businesses; had a silk painting business which received orders from around the world; I was an international speaker and was also an author. There was never a moment when I was not planning something new or trying to meet deadlines.
This is not so easy when you are in your 60’s, but ‘if the mind is willing the body will keep up’ was my motto. Then the unthinkable happened. I had a stroke and while undergoing a CT scan the medical team discovered that I also had a life threatening brain tumour which was pushing the brain stem out of alignment.
On my second day in hospital I discovered that I could not read. The stroke had left me with the rare condition of ‘Alexia without Agraphia’. This was a real shock and initially shattered me, as my entire life seemed to revolve around reading. But the good news was that I could still write.
Right then and there I decided to set myself the challenge of writing a book called ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’ as without the stroke they would not have found the brain tumour and the doctors figured that I had about three months to live if it hadn’t been discovered when it was.
My recovery was built around being positive; being optimistic; setting goals and challenges; caring for others (I even tried to support others in hospital with me); and being determined (sometimes referred to as stubborn!)
I am somewhat slower now than I used to be, but I know to stop and rest when I get tired. I have a wonderful husband (now my official caregiver) who reads my emails etc to me. For every page of my book that I wrote, he had to read it back to me – I am sure he read the entire manuscript at least 50 times. The actual writing of the book was not as hard as the changes that I made based on the suggestions of an excellent editor. I found it so difficult to get my mind around where the changes were to go and what needed to be moved to where – because I could not read it. But finally the print copy of the book was in my hands! I have just commenced the marketing of it and it is doing well.
For me, coping with trauma was just another step in my life that I had to accept and do the best that I could. I did not see it as the ‘end of my world’ – even though in some aspects, it was. To cope with such unwanted and sometimes devastating occurrences in our life, does require a very positive mind set. You can read just how I was able to cope in my book, Thank God I Had a Stroke.
Tips and Hints
In my next post I will tell you how my confidence soared because of what I was able to achieve in my home based business. It can be scary trying to get back to normal after a serious illness, but you have to try, try and try again. Having determination (stubbornness?) can really make a difference to the speed of your recovery.