My name is Zoe. I have been coming to Headway for nearly 5 years. The reason I started attending Headway is because in October 2007 I had a brain aneurysm that burst, followed by a brain hemorrhage, then a stroke and Terson’s syndrome, which affects vision and it has left me blind in my left eye which has severely impacted my mobility. Two years later, I had another brain hemorrhage which in one way or another has affected my right eye and has left me partially sighted in this eye too. I was also diagnosed with EDS at this time.
From both experiences I have been left with a lot of nerve damage all over the body and brain, leaving me self-catherterising at both ends! I have a lot of cognitive problems from memory to fatigue and all the other things in-between! My youngest child was only 6 months old when I had my first event, without my husband Tim and our 3 children I would not have got through this.
I found Headway very late in my illness, up until then we were coping on our own. Headway has changed my life and both my family’s life. Headway has given me something to look forward to—previously I only had endless doctor’s appointments in my day time. Now I really enjoy my Tuesdays as it gives me purpose. I enjoy the challenges of the work and get great pleasure from the afternoon activities such as cooking and arts and crafts. I really enjoy the outings too. I think it’s amazing that people go out of their way to give their time, money and energy to support Headway and the clients.
But Headway is more than about improving my cognitive skills—there is a real sense of family amongst the staff and the other people who attend Headway. I have made some very special friendships over the years and that has made a real difference to my social life. I now have people I can call who truly understand my experiences as they have been through similar experiences themselves.
Coming to Headway takes you away from being just a patient and makes you feel normal, even if it’s just for one day or a week. It’s nice to talk, laugh and joke about things that have nothing to do with brain injury and its impacts. I can’t finish without thanking everybody at Headway who has touched my life, they don’t know how much difference they make and I don’t think they ever could.