A Scottish woman has staged a remarkable recovery after suffering a life-threatening brain aneurysm during a workout at the gym which left her unable to walk, talk or swallow.
Lisa Ross, 35, from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, initially thought she had a migraine when a sudden headache hit as she bent down to pick up some weights in March 2017.
But two days later emergency doctors at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie discovered a brain aneurysm behind her right eye which then ruptured, bringing on a stroke.
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After a CT scan confirmed she had a catastrophic brain bleed, she was transferred to a special unit at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where she had a successful operation.
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Two days afterwards, swelling from the surgery caused a second stroke, resulting in part of her skull having to be removed to relieve the pressure on her brain and save her life.
When the former RBS call centre worker woke up 10 days later she could not walk, talk or swallow and initially failed to recognise her sons Kalvin, 11, and Connor, five.
She will tell her story on Wednesday at a Head Injury Information Day in Glasgow, an annual awareness raising event for the survivors of brain injuries, their families and health professionals.
She said that while her experience had been terrifying, she wanted to talk about her recovery to give hope to other survivors of similar injuries who often struggle to get their lives back on track.
“It still baffles me to this day how I went from fine to nearly dying in one week,” she said.
“I was miserable for months afterwards but I really feel lucky now to still be here, and it makes me cherish my family and the little things in life even more.”
Ms Ross spent almost four months in hospital before returning home to her husband Richard and two sons, but did not realise her road to recovery was only just beginning.
“I remember coming home and constantly thinking ‘Why me?’,” she said. “There’d be endless days of sitting on the couch doing nothing. This low period lasted for months and months.
“It wasn’t until Kalvin one day said out of the blue, ‘I’m so glad you made it through this mummy’. That was my wake up call. It made me realise life doesn’t stop after a brain injury – it’s simply a new beginning.
“Realising the support network you have around you and that you’re not alone and have a purpose encourages you to keep going.
“My love and appreciation for Richard and the boys has never been greater and I now do everything I can to help others in the same situation.”