Travelling with a Health Condition: Borneo and Beyond (Part 2)
Wildlife-rich jungles, tropical islands and unforgettable memories - read on to hear how I got on travelling for the first time since my stroke back in May 2020.
We touched down in Kuala Lumpur and within moments of freshening up and dumping our bags in our hotel, we were eager to head into the centre and explore the buzz of this cosmopolitan city. Staggering buildings, dazzling lights, humongous shopping malls and an abundance of food choices – Kuala Lumpur was a fun couple of days!
On our first day here, I decided to take the plunge and not wear my FES due to the 35-degree heat. This temperature made me desperately want to wear shorts but, although I could have worn my FES with shorts, I really didn’t feel like having wires flapping about in the wind brushing against my legs. I also assumed that, as our hotel was perfectly located near to the Petronas Towers in the heart of the central business district, we wouldn’t do much walking - but oh how I was wrong! Thankfully, I can walk without the FES, it just requires more effort from my leg as well as taking extra care to reduce the risk of tripping. 7 hours and 15,000 steps later, I soon realised that maybe I should have worn it, but at this point it was too late. By the end of the day, my leg was feeling fatigued which confirmed my decision to wear it on day 2 but I felt satisfied knowing that if needs must, I can manage without it.
Adjusting the times that I usually take my medication was something I felt anxious about before going away, especially with the time difference being 8 hours ahead. However, to reduce the stress and the risk of having a seizure, I worked out the new timings and made a schedule on the notes on my phone before leaving the UK. This involved gradually taking my tablets earlier each day until it got to an appropriate hour. This process started a few days prior to travel and continued a few days in. I was then able to relax on the new set timings for about 6 days before the process started again but in reverse, as I prepped my body to adjust back to BST. Again, it felt like a lot to deal with initially, but after coming up with a solid plan I felt genuinely relaxed managing my meds throughout our trip.
One thing I noticed straight away whilst being on the equator was how much the heat helped ease the muscle spasticity. My arm was feeling relaxed and a lot lighter than normal, which encouraged me to use it more throughout the day – my physio would have been proud! There’s also something great about being in an environment where no one knows what has happened to me. The feeling of being able to ‘blend in’ makes me feel so at ease which contributes to the reduced symptoms of muscle spasticity. This reminded me of the first time I went away with Richard without my walking stick. With fewer eyes on me, I could just focus on being present and soak it all in.
One Grab taxi and three hours in the air later, we touched down in Kota Kinabalu - the capital of Sabah which is a state in the northern part of Malaysian Borneo. Often referred to as 'KK', it’s a coastal city partly surrounded by rainforest and known for its bustling markets, modern boardwalk, tropical beaches and neighbouring Kinabalu National Park. Richard’s aunty lives in KK, so the two nights we spent here involved a pleasant mix of catching up with his family and venturing out of the city to explore the surrounding area. Richard’s aunty kindly lent us a car for one of the days and it was on this day that it felt like our travels had truly begun. Dirt track roads, scenic views and playlist on – the road trip vibes were real. We decided to head for Pouring Springs, a hot springs bath in the middle of nowhere which meant hours of driving through sparse villages and windy roads with mountainous views. This was my first glimpse of the luscious jungle on the island and a break away from civilisation. After a relaxing two hours of dipping in and out of the various springs, we headed into a local restaurant that was remotely perched on the side of the road for a bite to eat before heading back to the city. To break up the 3-hour bumpy ride home, we swung by a local dairy farm, where we petted some cows and sampled fresh yoghurt. This was so random and something I wasn’t expecting to do on our tropical island visit to Borneo, but Richard and I seem to always end up in unintentional places on our travels (in Vietnam we took an unexpected visit to ‘Duck Farm’ where ducks nibbled food from between our toes and we met a buffalo called Donald Trump). I’m not sure I’d recommend the Desa Farm, but it was an experience, to say the least!
Whenever I do something for the first time since my stroke, I always expect it to feel significantly different, but once again I couldn’t get over how normal this felt. Sitting in the passenger seat and watching the world go by reinforced the reality that, although my body functions differently from the last time I travelled abroad, I could still experience the same feelings that come with exploring somewhere new. And now that we were here safe and sound, I felt fully able to embrace that gut-warming feeling that travel brings. Okay walking around the springs barefoot is a little tricky and strangers often ask, ‘what happened to your leg?’, but I’ve come to learn that I don’t owe anyone an explanation if I don’t feel like it, and simply say ‘I’m injured’ is enough to close the conversation and slip back into blending in again.
For any first-timer’s trip to Sabah, Sepilok is a must! This is where the orangutan and sun bear sanctuaries are, sitting on the edge of the Kabili Forest reserve. The neighbouring centres can be visited in one afternoon and luckily enough, the jungle lodge we’d booked on Hostel World the night before was only a five-minute stroll away.
We only had one night here, so made the most of the afternoon we had left and walked down the road to the sanctuaries. First up was the Sun Bear Rescue Centre, where we were able to see these endangered species up close whilst learning about the centres' efforts to protect them. We then moved on to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre which cares for young orangutans orphaned as a result of illegal logging and deforestation and those who have been illegally caught and kept as pets. With Malaysia having only opened its borders about a month before we travelled, we felt blessed to be walking around the tourist hot spots with what felt like exclusive access to the grounds. A major highlight for me was watching the different orangutans come and go at feeding time, devouring bananas and making ‘peeling’ coconuts look easy. It was especially cute watching a mother swing her way down from the treetops with a little one on her back.
With jet lag still in full swing, the humidity of the jungle and the overstimulation that comes with just being in a new environment, plus the hours of travelling we’d done in just a couple of days, it’s safe to say I was exhausted. I knew that tiredness could cause a whole host of issues, such as the onset of a seizure and increased muscle spasticity, so I took every opportunity to rest. Taxi journey? Sleep. An hour to kill before dinner? Sleep. Resting where I could, staying hydrated and getting as many nutrients in me as possible (although this was a challenge as a gluten-free and veggie – my diet had already whittled down to what felt like egg fried rice and veg for breakfast, lunch and dinner) were all key to keeping on top of feeling energised.
Turtle Island – Sandakan:
The wildlife adventures continued as we left Sepilok early the next morning and made our way to Sandakan, where we caught a boat over to Turtle Island Park - a safe haven in Sabah for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles. We spent the night on the largest of the 3 islands, Selingan Island, which has the capacity for 50 visitors at a time but again, due to Covid, there were only 6 of us! Referred to as ‘Turtle Island’, turtles visit throughout the year to nest and lay hundreds of eggs. The marine park is managed by Sabah Parks with full-time wardens located on the islands to monitor the turtles, protect the hatcheries, and tag the turtles for research purposes.
During our stay here, we spent the day swimming offshore, chatting to other tourists, napping (of course) and exploring the small desert island whilst catching the sunset. The turtle antics began at around 9pm in the evening which is when mother turtles begin their venture to shore. After getting the nod from the park rangers, we rushed over to where they had spotted a mother turtle nesting. Keeping quiet and not getting too close, we all watched as the ginormous, dinosaur-looking, green turtle lay more than 80 eggs. We then learned all about the hatchery system they have in place to keep survival rate of the turtles high and witnessed the park rangers release a batch of baby turtles that had hatched that day back to the sea (the cutest part!).
Getting on and off the boat was probably the biggest challenge I’d encountered on this trip so far. With the waves chopping and a boat rocking, it was intimidating knowing that I’d have to step down onto the boat with a small crowd of strangers watching. But I had no choice other than to just go for it (even if it wasn’t very elegantly done). It was actually harder getting off the boat when we got to the island, as this involved stepping onto a narrow 3-stepped ladder with no support around and jumping onto the shore. Richard let me get off first and I felt relatively okay until my left foot got caught behind me and sent me into a panic. Even though my brain was telling my ankle to move, the message wasn’t being received (in moments like this the instinct of ‘just moving’ my foot kicks in but is quickly followed by the reality of my mobility). This is where my lack of coordination gets in the way – I was trying to think about what my foot was doing (which was nothing) whilst trying to explain to the man helping me down not to hold onto my left arm, as this throws me off even more. All whilst being petrified of falling off the ladder and seriously injuring myself. I felt like I was stuck for ages but, realistically, after a few awkward seconds my foot was released, and I made it onto the island. Flustered but relieved, I felt pleased with myself for embracing the challenge and ticking off *quite literally* another obstacle.
Having read a few blogs about turtle island before our visit, I’d learned that parts of the island were rocky and difficult to walk on. In preparation for this, knowing that walking without shoes and on sand is a big enough challenge in itself, I bought myself some sexy water shoes to wear on the beach and in the sea. This was a great shout and allowed me to paddle in the water without injuring my left foot, which generally has a slower reaction time to things like stepping on sharp bits of coral.
Another early morning wake-up call, quick breakfast and bumpy boat ride later, by 9 am we were back on the mainland. Arriving way earlier than anticipated, Richard and I had a whole two days to kill before the next part of our trip in Danum Valley took hold. We quickly realised this when we arrived on Turtle Island, but with no signal or internet connection for the duration of our stay, there was nothing we could do about planning our next leg until we got back to Sandakan 24 hours later. We sat on our suitcases by the jetty working out our next move and decided to hire a car and head to the wildllife haven of the Kinabatangan River for the afternoon and night.
The drive to Kinabatangan was another 4 hour or so trip, but that was okay. Watching the world go by and soaking up the scenery sparked conversation and I was feeling reflective. This was day 7 of our trip and, tiredness and lack of nutrients aside, I couldn’t get over how content I had continuously felt since the moment we set foot in Heathrow Airport. Apart from the moments of having to think about the logistics of my mobility (e.g. getting on and off a boat) I had been feeling way less concerned about how my body was moving. Why? Because, for some reason, I felt less bothered about what other people thought of me out here. I could be mistaken for just having an injured leg which releases the attached identity that comes with having a stroke. People were meeting me for me now and not thinking about how my recovery is going. There’s also the element of the day-to-day stresses back home that just seem to vanish on holiday, which has a huge impact on the muscle spasticity and causes me to feel more relaxed. Either way, I felt free. This feeling of independence had been long lost, and it was so uplifting to regularly observe that I was so far away from home, travelling like pre-pandemic times and feeling so able.
We arrived at our lodge in Kinabatangan just in time for tea and cake before our afternoon river cruise set off. My energy had already picked up after our fun road trip, but this lodge was the busiest with travellers that we had seen yet! So chatting with new faces from all over the world was refreshing. Wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys, crocodiles, rhinoceros hornbills and long-tailed macaques are just a few of the many species of wildlife we were fortunate to spot on our cruise down the Kinabatangan River. Our stay here included an afternoon cruise, a night walk through the jungle, a sunrise cruise the next morning and communal meals. We loved our time here – unique wildlife, friendly travellers, playing cards by the river and falling asleep to the echoing sound of the jungle. We truly were in the heart of the wild and just soaking it all in.
By the time we had arrived back on the mainland after our stay on Turtle Island, I was feeling weak. The continual early mornings, jet lag and ‘egg, spinach and rice’ diet was starting to take its toll and I could feel my immune system weakening and my body craving nutrients. We scoped out the local shopping centre for food, but the thought of more rice was making me feel sick and the seemingly impossible search for gluten-free and veggie options left me with no better option than a bag of apples and some Mcdonald's chips. Grumpy and run down, I was frustrated for feeling like this whilst being so fortunate to be away, but once I had eaten (albeit not the best selection of food) I’d perked up as we set off on our road trip to Kinabatangan.
Something I can’t skip to mention was the antics of the night walk. For context, I’m not a fan of bugs at all (I know, what was I doing in the middle of Borneo?) so the thought of trekking through an untouched jungle in the pitch black was a bit nerve-wracking. Missing the excursion was out of question, as I didn’t want to waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it would suck if everyone came back having spotted some cool wildlife and I’d missed it without even trying, so I gave it a go. Leech socks pulled up, insect repellent sprayed and wellington boots on – and we were off! To set the scene, it was pitch black and the noise of the jungle was roaring. That’s basically all you need to know. Richard and I forgot to pack a flashlight and our lodge unfortunately didn’t have any spares, so between us, we had to make the most of the *not so bright* torch on my phone. Trekking through the muddy jungle, dodging branches and trying to not ingest any flying insects or get ‘leeched’, we tried to keep up with our group. But it was tough. There were obstacles. It was muddy. And although I consider myself to be a speedy walker these days, I couldn’t keep up. Our guide stopped a few times to show us the nocturnal wildlife we passed by, but after only five minutes of walking, I felt like the risk of tripping over and potentially injuring myself wasn’t worth continuing. I hated to admit this, but Richard could sense I was struggling and was the one to suggest we headed back. We called out to our guide who pointed in the direction of the route home and to my relief we were walking back to the safety of the lodge. Until a few minutes later when Richard accidentally disabled my iPhone, and the torch went out. I screamed. I cried. This was hands down the most terrifying and longest 2 minutes of my life whilst we waited for the phone to unlock so we could switch the light back on, especially as we were in the spot where we’d not long identified a golf ball-sized red spider (eeeew!). Long story short, we made it out alive and as soon as we got back to the main path we couldn’t stop laughing. All jokes aside, this was quite a big milestone for me. My initial thoughts centred around the feeling that I had ‘failed’ to complete the night walk and I felt bad that Richard had to miss out on it too. However, Richard quickly reminded me how much of a milestone this was. It was only 18 months ago that I had been setting goals with my physio such as, 'to be able to walk my dog alone in the woods' and to ‘negotiate uneven terrain whilst wearing my FES’ – and here I was, in the middle of the jungle, dodging spiders and negotiating the squelchy mud of the low-lying Asian forest. This sense of achievement and reshuffle of perspective was extremely encouraging and, once again, reinforced how much I’ve overcome in such a short period of time.
I woke up on day eight feeling extremely lethargic. My body felt even slower than usual, and my brain-muscle connections seemed out of touch. Every form of movement felt 10 times harder, and my body was craving rest. By this point in the trip, we had woken up at 6 am or earlier most days and had been on the go non-stop. Travelling, on top of lacking variety of food, meant that my muscles were functioning slower than usual (literally because the neurons were firing slower), and this was an indicator that I needed to slow down and listen to my body. Thankfully, we hadn’t planned anything for the next stop on our journey, as we were only staying there to be collected for our next adventure into Danum Valley the following morning, so there was no pressure to do anything other than rest up.
Lahad Datu & Danum Valley:
We arrived in Lahad Datu at about 3 pm and decided to have a nap. We obviously needed it because 5 hours later, we woke up, went out for dinner, returned to our hotel and fell back to sleep. Feeling refreshed for the next leg of our trip, we were ready and raring to step into our next adventure in the jungle.
Jumping in a 4x4, we were whisked away deep into Danum Valley – a conservation area that is roughly the same size as Singapore, comprising of lowland dipterocarp forest and home to an alluring array of undisturbed wildlife in south-eastern Sabah. Richard and I decided to stay at the Danum Valley Field Centre, where we could fully immerse ourselves in the jungle whilst learning an endless amount of knowledge about the wildlife and studies that take place here. Hiking, wildlife spotting and more friendly faces - Danum Valley was a special place. Our 3-night, 2-day stay here included guided jungle treks, a night safari, a night walk (this one was a success!) and watching the sunrise above the forest canopy from a viewing tower. Our trip here was another victory for spotting wildlife - orangutangs, red monkeys, mouse deer, civets, gibbons, flying squirrels and slow loris’ to name a few! The cherry on top of our stay (apart from having more food choices!) was being paired with another lovely couple from Switzerland and sharing the same knowledgeable and extremely friendly guide, Wang. This gave us the opportunity to really get to know each other, have a laugh and share our rare jungle encounters together.
Driving two hours deep into the jungle and away from civilisation was a bit nerve-wracking. Some would argue that that it was probably a silly idea being so far from things like health care, but I would argue that you only live once :-) On a serious note though, I was feeling anxious. But as soon as we started spotting wildlife and became more immersed in the towering canopy around us, I felt grounded and was able to switch the anxiety into excitement. I had every reason to feel worried, but I think anyone could overthink it – health condition or not – which helped ease my mind. Besides, we were well on our way, the money had been paid and there was no backing out now. With all this in mind, I thought that I may as well live in the moment and in the wise words of Randy Armstrong, “worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace”.
Upon arrival to the Field Centre, we were met by our guide, Wang. I promptly told him about my health conditions and wanted to find out a bit more about the walks he had planned, to see if he thought I would be capable or not. We decided that I would skip the 7km walk to a waterfall that was planned for the next day, as it was quite far and involved difficult landscapes such as holding onto a rope whilst walking along a steep hillside. This made sense, but I couldn’t help but feel disheartened. Up until this point, I had really surprised myself with how much I was able to do and so to be told not to do something was a bit of a snap back into reality. However, I quickly reminded myself of how different my life looked 2 years ago when I would have been paralysed in hospital awaiting brain surgery. This rejigged my perspective and instantly made me feel grateful for just *being* here. After processing my thoughts and coming to terms with it all, I quickly realised that I could use the 6 hours of rest to my advantage. After waving Richard and the group off as they set foot into the 100% humidity jungle, I embraced the time I had to myself, listened to a few podcasts and soaked up the surrounding environment. By the time Richard had returned drowned in buckets of sweat, I felt smug and thoroughly rejuvenated, ready and raring to go for the afternoon’s activities.
Leaving the fun of the jungle behind us, we were driven back to Lahad Datu where we hopped onto the next leg of our journey to Semporna, a coastal town in the northeast of Borneo. This was another 1 night stop over before catching an early boat ride to our final destination on Mabul Island the following day. We stayed at a lovely homestay just outside of town with a friendly family who were extremely helpful. We spent the evening wandering around Semporna and indulging in the abundance of seafood on offer. Crab, lobster and scallops – Richard was in heaven! On the flip side, egg, rice and spinach were back on the menu for me, but after eating like a queen at Danum Valley Field Centre I couldn’t complain!
There had been many parts of our trip where I’d felt reflective, but on our night in Semporna it hit me hard, and I couldn’t help but feel excited about the future. Our trip wasn’t even over but the confidence boost I’d received based on what I was experiencing was a feeling like no other. Speaking to the couple we’d met in Danum Valley and hearing about the lives they were living at 30 years old (and the endless countries they’d lived in and jobs they’d had) I was reminded of how young I was, and that life really was just getting started. Being in your 20s is a weird one. There’s this extreme sense of pressure to know what you’re doing and to have things all figured out. But meeting this other couple who really were living life to the fullest was a huge reminder to me about the endless opportunities that lie ahead. I realised that the only limitations I had were the ones I was putting on myself. Yes, I’ve had a stroke, lost full mobility, take regular medication, currently can’t drive and may need to ‘go steady’, but that doesn’t mean I have to tone my life down as a result. I often get caught up living within the box one might categorize me in and think there are things I cannot do purely because of what I’ve been through, but it’s times like this when I’m reminded that my life is what I make it.
The limitations I felt back home due to my condition, such as not being able to move out, were indeed true at one point and vital for maximising my chances at recovery, but having stepped out of my comfort zone repeatedly on this trip and each time only benefiting from it, I soon realised how much more capable of life I was than I had previously realised.
Mabul and Sipadan Island:
Turquoise waters, white-sandy beaches and swaying palm trees – now we’re talking. We pulled up to Mabul by boat and hopped onto the jetty that attached to our hotel – Borneo Divers Mabul Resort. This last hotel was a real treat for us as it offered a little more luxury than the places we’d previously stayed at, which as a nice way to end the trip. We had originally booked 2 nights here, so we could spend our final night in Kuala Lumpur, but after falling in love on day 1 and discovering the hotel could take us for an extra night, we quickly changed plans and knew that the 36-hour door-to-door journey home would be worth it.
Mabul is famous for being arguably one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world and its notorious neighbour, Sipadan island, is what generally attracts divers here and is what brought us here too. An exclusive, protected reef that’s worthy enough to have been featured on BBC’s Blue Planet II, we felt extremely lucky to be visiting during such a rare quiet period - meaning that permit requests to dive on Sipadan were guaranteed.
After checking in, messing around in the pool and indulging in the delicious lunch spread on offer, we headed straight back to the jetty to get kitted out with our snorkel and diving gear. Although I have a PADI Advanced Open Water qualification, due to obvious health reasons, I decided not to dive on this trip but insisted that Richard should still go ahead as the opportunity to dive on one of the world’s best dive spots does not come around often. It was also guaranteed that wherever Richard dived, I’d get to go on the same boat and snorkel with a guide, and that’s all that mattered to me.
As Richard hadn’t dived in a good couple of years, he had to complete a ‘check dive’ with an instructor to refamiliarize himself with the equipment and diving skills. Whilst he did this, I took myself off the back of the jetty and went snorkelling on the house reef. Life jacket fastened, feet in fins and snorkel mask on – it was time to jump into the moment I’d long been waiting for. I thought I would feel a bit gutted to be experiencing my first proper snorkel without Richard by my side, but it was actually extremely freeing. Watching the array of fish dancing in and out of their homes whilst swimming along the colourful reef was peaceful and extremely therapeutic.
This part of the trip was so special it deserves its own blog piece, but I’ll try and keep this short and sweet. Richard and I did not hang about, during our 3 days here we dived/snorkelled 11 times. How? We went on three different half day trips which all involved 3 dive/snorkel sites. It was just incredible. The perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. You know the kind of activities that give you energy because you feel so fulfilled? And on top of the world? That’s how we felt. We also met some incredible people along the way which topped off our whole stay here. From the friendly dive instructors that hung out on the jetty to the other solo divers who we met on our trips or in and around our hotel, it was refreshing to chat with people from all over the world and to share our passion for what we were experiencing together.
Sunrise dive trips, pods of dolphins, sea turtles, reef sharks, colourful coral, giant shoals of barracuda, jack fish and giant trevally - diving on Sipadan was like swimming in an exotic aquarium. I’ve been fortunate enough to dive all over the world, including the Maldives, and this was hands down the best snorkelling I’ve ever experienced. The visibility, the colours, the masses of fish - it was SO good we paid extra to dive on Sipadan twice. Bursting with excitement, I felt like a child waking up on Christmas but 10x over. This feeling of freedom whilst being at one with the sea was something you do not get to experience often. With countless ‘pinch me’ moments, I absorbed every second and was reminded that this was what life was all about.
It was about 9 months prior to this trip that I started hydrotherapy. From the moment I set foot into the water with my physio, being able to snorkel/swim in the sea was a huge driving factor as to why I wanted to learn how to swim and feel confident in the water again. This is something I have always loved experiencing on previous trips, and I was determined to not let my stroke stop me from missing out on these things in the future. You might think that it’s dangerous to swim in the sea whilst being epileptic and also being at risk to extreme cramping, but I made sure to inform everyone on the boat about my condition, as well as being sensible enough to wear a life jacket, swim with a guide and hold onto an orange ring so that we could be easily spotted. I also burnt the back of my legs quite badly on our first day of snorkelling (sad times), so I chose to wear a long wetsuit for the rest of our trip to protect my skin, but this also gave me extra buoyancy which was a perk!
The biggest challenge for me physically was manoeuvring in and out of the boat during our dive trips (I thought the other boat experiences were tough, but this was something else!!) Clambering onto the boat is one thing but try shuffling across a rocking vessel whilst wearing fins, climbing onto a narrow ledge and finding your balance before slipping into the sea! Not to mention that getting back onto the boat meant climbing up a small metal ladder - a challenge. However, the beauty of being forced out of my comfort zone meant less time to think and instead just get on with it. Also, once I was in the water, although my brain was telling me ‘you can’t do that, it’s too hard, you’re not strong enough’, I literally had no choice but to give it my all and get out. It was not elegant, and yes it was scary, but repeatedly doing this each day meant that it did get easier and by the end of our trip I was a semi-pro at hopping in and out of the boat. With each attempt I had at moving around the boat, I figured out what worked best for my body and I was better able to communicate my needs with other team members (especially at the times when Richard was in the water before me, so I couldn’t rely on his help). This ties in nicely with the saying, ‘you must fail to fly.’ If I had let my fear of falling and embarrassing myself get the better of me, I would have missed out on some of the best moments of my life. You really will never know what you are capable of until you try, and I definitely surprised myself.
Home + Final Thoughts:
I won’t bore you all with the long journey home, but I was not ready to leave Borneo. I have not felt holiday blues quite like what I experienced during the first week of being back home, but this trip really opened my eyes and taught me some invaluable lessons that I will carry with me forever:
1. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way you can grow.
2. You are more capable than you think.
3. It is never as scary as you anticipate.
4. The only limitations are the ones that you put on yourself.
5. The future is what you make it.
6. Life is about living.
With this fresh perspective on life and the realisation that I’m way more capable than I previously imagined, I’m excited to lean into my fears more, keep challenging my comfort zone and crack on with the life I had originally set out on prior to my stroke. My world shrunk when I lost my mobility, confidence and independence as a result of the bleed (Covid didn’t help either) but I finally feel like it’s starting to expand again and I couldn’t be more ready to embrace the adventures and opportunities that are to come.