We met Diana in Portugal during our meeting with AVC – the Portuguese association for stroke survivors where she is working as a communication consultant.
When we were told that we were meeting with stroke survivors, we didn’t know who to expect. When some older people started entering the room, we started greeting them because we thought that we were supposed to talk to them. But instead, one of our greatest fears came true. Three people in their 30s were seated, waiting for us to tell us about their strokes.
The thing with stroke is that even it’s different for every person, but the pain it causes is always the same. So we sat there, not speaking the same language, but feeling empathy and pain.
We immediately clicked with Diana, she radiates kindness so we nicknamed her Princess Diana.
She was 34 years old ambitious journalist and a mother of two lovely children. She had a lumbar hernia surgery which ran smoothly and left the hospital the next day walking.
But when 4 days later, her head started hurting as it never did before and she started vomiting. She dismissed it as her body’s reaction to surgery. She called the ambulance in denial that she is having a stroke.
But… the ambulance thought she was just having an anxiety attack.
Soon after more obvious stroke symptoms appeared: face drooping, speech difficulties, and lack of strength on one side of the body. Only when she was hospitalized, she understood the severity of her condition. Her mother instinct kicked in, and she kept thinking about how her children are going to see her fragile and how it’s going to impact them. Her life priorities changed so fast, her #1 thought was – recover for your family.
Her husband Celio, became her caretaker while having a full-time job. Besides her physical recovery, she had to maintain her mental health so she started going to a psychiatrist.
From that point on she wanted to make her life as normal as it could be, but to minimize stress.
She quit her job as a journalist and became one of the founders of Portugal AVC. She says that the world is not familiar enough with stroke, so their inbox is filled with people who want to know more about stroke recovery.
What she wants you to know is that life doesn’t end with a stroke and she brought proof!
She became a mother for the third time, to a little girl named Maria which she calls a gift from God. Even though her pregnancy was high risk, she took special medication twice a day so her blood didn’t grow thick and had a team of doctors every step of the way.
During nine months she kept living her life as usual and continued her rehabilitation, but even though she could have epidural anesthesia during birth, she didn’t want to have ‘’unnecessary risk’’.
We love you Diana, and we’re proud to know such a brave and kind family as yours is.
If you want to find out more about Portugal AVC, you can do it at https://www.portugalavc.pt/.