I was really chuffed when I was commissioned to paint a large wall mural for a Heritage Listed building and was able to complete it after suffering both a stroke and a brain tumour. There is no doubt that a serious illness can create huge problems working from home.
Receiving this commission certainly gave a boost to my confidence. Because I was slower than normal, I decided to make short videos of each step so that the client could see the work in progress and not fret about the length of time it was taking me. This worked sensationally as the client sent the link to all her clients and ended up getting more work from old clients because they were so intrigued by the videos.
I received a number of orders for silk product from my online catalogue while I was actually in hospital. My husband told them what had happened to me and offered to refund their money. They all said “no” and said they would wait until I was well enough to do the paintings. I am sure they had no idea how this sped up my recovery. I was so anxious to complete the orders that I ‘willed’ myself to get better.
I did not try to complete a painting in one attempt as I used to. I would only paint for an hour at a time and even then, stopped every 10 minutes and did some stretching exercises. My shoulders and back were feeling the pressure of long periods of time on my feet, bending over the screen and holding my arm steady as I drew and painted on the silk.
I knew I was getting my ‘act together’ again when I decided to develop an online silk painting course. It took off like a rocket and I now have a number of students from around the world. It was so good to know that I could still think and act as an entrepreneur in less than two years after the stroke.
I had a short video made a few months after the stroke, of me telling the beginning of my story. At first I was concerned that I may forget a word (this was part of the Alexia problem I now had) or lose track of what I was saying. So it was a test of my ability to speak fluently. It worked well and it now has over 37,000 viewers on You Tube and is listed on page one for the keyword ‘stroke recovery’.
The next real test for my ability to speak came when I was invited to speak at a Liberal Party event for the Menzies Research Centre. I was one of six presenters which included Tony Abbot the leader of the opposition. When individuals came up to congratulate me on my talk, I knew that I could cope with public speaking again.
My philosophy is now “I can do whatever I want to, I just have to figure out how.” Being confident, optimistic, caring, determined and concentrating on what I could do (rather than on what I could no longer do), all went towards making my recovery a speedy and successful one.
Problems working from home did not seem so huge anymore. By being able to accept my disabilities and still feel worthwhile and a useful member of society, as well as still being able to run my businesses, is something I will always be grateful for. In my book ‘Thank God I Had a Stroke’ I explain in more detail just how I was able to get back into a productive lifestyle. It was so good to hear that folk who read my book found it both inspirational and interesting. You can too, if you really want to!
Tips and Hints
Don’t think that your world as you knew it is over. Concentrate on getting back to do what it was that you loved doing, Accept that you may have to do them differently, but feel confident that you will still be productive and can lead a rewarding life. If you really want to, you will be able to.