Photo of Rachel Wake


Photo of Rachel

Back in June 2011 whilst picking up the children from school, I had a seizure whilst driving. After being taken to hospital they discovered a large aneurism on the left-hand side of my brain.
Dr Nazil Assad, the neurosurgeon, advised me that an operation would be imminent and lengthy because they would have to remove a vein from my left leg to use in the bypass, suffering a stroke during the 15-hour operation was a possibility. I had three young children at home so I was only focusing on them clipping the aneurism and being at Royal North Shore for a week or so.

After a 15-hour operation I suffered a stroke. I was placed in an induced coma for two weeks.

After a couple of months at Royal North Shore Hospital I was transferred to Royal Rehab to adjust to my new way of life. With tireless effort from the staff, I learnt to walk again. There were so many little tasks that you do without thinking about them and take for granted that I was guided every day in how to make them easier for me.

I met incredibly strong and focused people in rehab. They were inspiring because whilst they hated the position they were in, they had the willpower to go on and adapt to their situations.

I can’t use my right arm but am now a ‘leftie’. Thanks to the brains plasticity, I can do everything with my left hand, from putting on mascara to using chopsticks!

When you have the support and love of friends and family the possibilities of what your body and mind can achieve is endless. I still think about what has happened and it is just another journey and like any journey, it has its ups and downs.

I can walk now without a stick and I’m hoping to drive.

I will never take anything for granted again.