About Me

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I suffered a serious stroke over 10 years ago (aged 43 at the time) and it's been a slow, often frustrating, recovery... I lost my speech and was totally paralyzed on my right side, but with patience and regular physiotherapy, I can now speak, walk short distances, operate the computer, but my right side is still paralyzed. I get botox injections 3 times a year in my right bicep and forearm, which relaxes the high-tone muscles and makes it easier to stand and walk. Last year I started weekly sessions of hydrotherapy, where I build up the wasted muscles by exercising while supported by the warm water. It's bliss at the time, but I ache like heck next day - but it's so worth it :)

21 September 2013


Today is a grey, overcast, autumn day...

And I feel like this leaf, dropped by its tree.

I don't want to be morose, but the reality is that the stroke removed me from the workforce. I was a freelance proofreader and editor with several academic publishers, so not a great shaker and mover, I admit, but I was a tax-paying, useful member of society. I was connected to the great tree of society, albeit at the end of a rather obscure, little branch.

Also, I was connected to friends - we would meet up for coffee or a drink in a pub. I would give folk lifts to book group or a local craft fair...

But the reality is, these friends - many of whom I've known for decades - have just disappeared in the past 6 years, and that is sad. Many did visit me in hospital in those 3 months after the stroke, and some did visit me at home in the first year.

But now, 6 years on, the phone doesn't ring, and yes, I'm sad, and I miss them.

The faithful few do keep in touch, and for them I am grateful. But everyone is busy with jobs, with family, with ageing parents; and meeting up with me is time-consuming - they have to drive, pack up the wheelchair, then push me around...

And so, I lie on the ground like this leaf disconnected from my former-life network, but unlike this leaf, I'm not passively waiting to be turned into mulch...

I am actively creating new connections, online connections with real people. Only this week, Eileen came for lunch on the train from Nottingham, whom I'd 'met' in an online class with Janet Conner a few months ago.

Currently, I'm 'meeting' people in Susannah Conway's Journal Your Life course, which is directly responsible for the creation of this blog. This week's prompts have been about connecting with our bodies, and asking direct questions, and this is what I scribbled yesterday
I know I look older than my 49 years with my half-paralyzed, unsteady body, but in my heart, in my soul, I am fully able-bodied and young and interested in life...

Every human being is always more than the sum of their parts, and the internet is at its best when it's giving people a platform, a voice; especially those who otherwise would feel disconnected and voiceless...

... like this leaf.


  1. Hi Claire - thanks for the mention and I felt it was an honour to meet you. One of the things about reaching out across the internet is that it matters less what physical state we're in than the interest we show about our lives, the world and the larger picture in spiritual terms. We can connect at a level that might in other ways take us a long time to let down our guard and share. However low you get, you are still in a position to be an inspiration to others.

  2. So beautiful Claire, you've expressed the experience of chronic illness, disconnection and new connections so well! I am deeply, deeply grateful to be a link in the chain of newer connections in your life.

    blessings to you on this day, and all those that follow... lots of mysterious surprises await.

  3. Hi Claire - it's very true - major illness totally changes everyting from your morning routine to your networks. But this happens to everyone eventually. I once went to a Psychic who said i would out live all my friends & much of my family. A sobering thought. And there has been the death of Christopher - the close family friend, - and then my parents & aunt......And then there are all those house moves! But new things & people arrive bringing their gifts & surprises - especially for someone as determined & tenacious & open to exploration as you are!!


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