Alicia is a vivacious 38 year old woman, living an independent life, surrounded by all the things that bring her joy. She’ll tell you her main focus these days is keeping herself happy. However, this is a new perspective she gained after experiencing a stroke 3 years ago.

In July of 2021, Alicia woke up in hospital from an induced coma. This was extremely confusing and disorienting for Alicia who felt like she had just risen from the best sleep ever, to find out that she had not only had a stroke but she was also diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Alicia felt her whole world was turned upside down, she lost movement on her right side, no longer being able to walk and described her right arm as “dead”. All of a sudden she relied on people to take her to the toilet and wash her – she felt she had no control over her life anymore. On top of this, she was also grappling with the new reality of living with insulin-dependent diabetes.

Throughout this time, Alicia was very concerned about getting back to her beloved dog, Lucky. However, it was going to be a long road before returning home. Alicia ended up spending many months between hospital rehab and a transitional living service (TLS). She claims this was the best thing for her recovery as she was supported to regain her independence bit by bit, by having her own room and cooking and cleaning for herself.

Learning to walk again is Alicia’s self-proclaimed greatest achievement. She notes, “…you will never find someone as proud of themselves as me.” From the beginning, Alicia believed deep inside herself that she would walk again, however to get there involved a great deal of hard work and perseverance. Alicia states matter of factly, “I worked my arse off”. 

Alicia believes she is the woman she is today, because of her Mum, Michelle. Her values, morals and beliefs set Alicia up with the strength she required throughout her recovery. Another source of Alicia’s steely determination comes from Connie, her Grandmother, who recovered from a stroke earlier in life, learning to walk and talk again. It was Connie’s example that continuously inspired and motivated Alicia throughout the toughest of times. 

For Alicia, her motivation and determination has been a large factor in her rehabilitation success, however it’s important to note that each person’s impairment, support and journey is unique to them, so the outcome will look slightly different for everyone. 

Alicia’s community rehabilitation picture has involved receiving our Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech Pathology services. And currently, due to the progress she has made, she no longer requires intensive or regular therapy sessions. Alicia still experiences self-described extreme fatigue, however she has some robust strategies in place to help her deal with this.

Alicia describes her post-stroke life as “bonus time”. She feels she lived life to the fullest before the stroke, so now everything centres around keeping herself happy and doing the things she loves. And Alicia certainly doesn’t do things by halves – she keeps herself occupied and engaged with creating artwork, building an impressive lego collection, mindful colouring in, daily word finds and gardening. The best part is that she surrounds herself with her creative endeavours – this serves as a daily reminder of what she is capable of. It’s truly inspiring to see what she has achieved post-stroke and how she remains motivated. 

Alicia is very passionate about sharing her story, she feels certain topics such as stroke are not talked about openly and she wants to remove the stigma and motivate others who have experienced stroke. Additionally, she finds that sharing her story actually helps her process what she has been through. Since day one, Alicia has kept a diary of her experience and hopes to publish this one day. We are so inspired by Alicia, she serves as an example of true motivation, determination and a positive outlook which has only been enhanced through challenges and adversity.

To find out more about stroke, visit Stroke Foundation.