All her life Mum has supported so many charities and good causes, including the Stroke Foundation, so now, more than ever, I think it’s important for me to give back to others, to share my experience, and to create something positive out of this situation, rather than just sitting back and being sad.
She had a major hemorrhagic stroke at the end of last year when an unexpected and stressful situation caused her blood pressure to sky rocket. She had experienced brief periods of high blood pressure in the past, but the stroke was very unexpected and such a huge shock. She’s lucky to be alive, and it is fair to say that our lives have been completely turned upside down as a result. Blood pressure is something you might not normally focus on actively managing, but when you’re in ICU with someone you love, you realise just how important it is that those blood pressure numbers are stable.
Your perspective changes. You can be so busy until you have a situation that completely flips all those things you thought were important around, and you instantly realise how much more important your health is. The ironic thing for both mum and I is that our time now is completely dedicated to recovering from the stroke, with all of those things that we so were busy focusing on no longer even possible.
The more education there is around stroke, the more people can understand and be proactive about their health, and focus on preventative strategies.
We are all so busy, but often it’s this busy, stressful lifestyle that can make high blood pressure worse. We need to turn managing our health into a regular habit that we don't even think about, like brushing your teeth or checking social media — we’re never too busy to do that! We also need to make managing our health as easy as possible. Going into a Priceline Pharmacy to do a blood pressure check can be a lot easier than making an appointment at the doctor; it only takes five minutes.
When you’re younger, it can be easy to take your health for granted, but our health is a gift. A finite resource. Often you don’t realise how critical something may be until it is too late, so making our health a priority is definitely essential. I try to exercise regularly and keep a routine, like going to the gym every Saturday morning for a boxing class and meditating at home using a mediation app. It may look different for everyone, but it's important to have your own routines and healthy habits.