I'm a mom on a mission to make the most of my Second Chance. At the age of 32 I survived a stroke and it's changed my life forever.
I am a blessed wife and a mom of 2 (10yo boy and a 5yo girl). My stroke (spontaneous vertebral artery tear) occurred in June 2010. At the time I was 32, severely overweight with my scale topping at 270lbs, I was an occasional smoker, extremely tired all the time and lacked any fitness regimen. When my stroke was happening, the thought never crossed my mind that it was a Stroke. For two long, excruciating days I waited before I went to my doctor. Just Plain Dumb. After a week in ICU and 11 months recovery and by the grace of the good Lord I was able to recover and received the all clear in 2011 from my wonderful Doctor. I was told one thing, to get my body moving.
“Just give me 5 minutes on the treadmill every day Kelly.” said my Doctor, and I did it.
Now I’ll tell you that the first night I did the 5 minutes I came slowly out of my bedroom beaded in sweat. In my Husbands general direction, I voiced my opinion. Loudly I said “This is ridiculous!! People have Cars to get around!” My awesome Husband just looked at me and said, he wants 5 minutes, if not for you then for our son. Well, that’s all I needed to hear…so on to the treadmill for my 5 minutes every night. In a month that treadmill was no longer a clothes hanger, it was my path to freedom. This led to walking faster which led to a passion for running. I finished my very first 5k a minute under 1 hour, and I was thrilled.
Things changed a bit when I developed several health issues which I thought were stemming from the Stroke medications that I previously took. Odd things began to occur like severe hives in all my hot spots, huge itchy whelps. Another symptom I had was acid reflux, joint and back pain, severe head fog and just plain exhausted. My sense of self was lost and feelings whether up or down were never impactful. I was “getting through” the day. Imagine feeling like a senior woman trapped inside a desperately seeking wellness body, that was me.
In researching on my own, I was introduced by our good friend Google the possible culprit of my decrepit state. What I found was the basis of food allergens, Paleo type lifestyles and I dove in. Dove in big time and I studied clean eating and learned how to cook (sad but I could barely boil water before!), these were life-changing for me. With learning about nutrition, supplements and my new found love of fitness, it was amazing to lose 60 lbs and am still going. We were beyond blessed with our second child post stroke which is just a miracle!
It was not until 2014 when my Dad, my Hero, the best Retired Houston Firefighter/EMT ever was called above that I genuinely started sharing my story in the hopes of helping someone else. Dad always told me that I survived because God had big plans for me here, of course, he was my biggest supporter and encourager. As Daughters of firefighters know, the bond created is something unusual.
When Dad passed suddenly from Pancreatitis in less than a months notice, it was my nightmare. Being forced to live off balance for a while was difficult, however during those hard times I found strength, I found my purpose and I began to take risks.
Being a stroke survivor presented a plethora of emotions and obstacles, and I didn’t acknowledge the severity nor blessing that my stroke was. I never spoke much of it because I was ashamed of it. When Dad passed, and after Grace saved me, it all came abundantly clear. I needed to put myself out there and take some risks professionally and share my story and help others get healthy.
We have one life, one body so making them shine was the goal.
THAT is what A SIZE STRONG IS - taking care of our bodies so we can live the life we deserve.