Nikki Mennel - my stroke story
In August 2011, I decided to leave a very stressful job. I took some time off and to relax before working my next step. I had a few days of temp work lined up in the mean time.
On 12th September, I got out of bed, went to the bathroom and washed my hands. I wasn’t able to dry them properly and thought I must have been tired. I leaned over to start making the bed and noticed drops landing on the sheets. I realized that I was dribbling. It was a bit odd so I went down stairs to talk to my husband.
I tried to speak but my words were jumbled. I tried to write down what I wanted to say but wasn’t able to write any words. The right side of my body had stopped working and I couldn’t communicate at all. The strange thing was that I could visualize the words written in my head. Each time I would try to say them, something different would come out. Within minutes, I was not able to stand and my husband sat me down.
At this point my face dropped and my husband realized what was wrong. He carried me to the couch and lay me down. I heard him call for an ambulance straight away. While we waited, he dressed me. It wasn’t easy for him to do, as I couldn’t really move very much.
The ambulance arrived ten minutes later and the ambulance ladies were great. They reassured both my husband and I that it was going to be okay. I remember being in the ambulance and watching the traffic part behind us as we sped through. It was pretty fast for peak hour in Melbourne. A short time later at the hospital, I had a second stroke. I was admitted for five days and underwent many tests. Doctors were unable to determine why I had experienced the stroke. I was 39 years old.
I returned home and went through daily fatigue and the world seemed very big outside. I lost a lot of confidence; even walking to the shop was a planned outing. I became very shy and concerned about strangers. I was overwhelmed easily with too much information. I wasn’t able to drive for a while and always had my phone with me just in case it happened again. I would sometimes dream I was having another stroke. It was a really difficult time for me.
I began researching health and looked for foods that would help with cognitive repair and energy. I wanted to make sure I was making healthy lifestyle changes. This became my number one purpose, as I never wanted to go through that experience again or see the worry on my husband’s face.
I had just started drinking green smoothies in the weeks prior to my stroke. I found that from drinking green smoothies, my energy gradually increased and my fatigue became less of a problem. I also added around 70% raw food to my diet. This made a noticeable difference to my health. My purpose has to been to share healthy living strategies with as many people as possible to avoid or lower the risk of serious illness. I started my smoothie business in January 2012.
It has been seven months since my stroke and I have never been fitter, healthier or more relaxed in my life. I have no fatigue or energy problems and my life is much better for it. I have completed three fun runs since my stroke and have managed to shave 7mins off my time. I am really proud of this achievement. I also recently went fire walking which was amazing. Changing my lifestyle became very easy when I had a big enough reason to do it. Having a stroke was a big wake-up call and it made me re-evaluate what’s important in my life.