Nia (Sonia)

I had a stroke on 27th December 2017.  I was on a 10-day holiday with my sons. We were in Turkey, a long 10-hour flight away from home in Malaysia.


In the beginning, it was a beautiful holiday. However, on the 7th day, I started feeling unwell but continued with the trip because all our plans had already been arranged. I wanted to go back home early but it was the Christmas holiday season so we couldn’t reschedule to get an earlier flight.


When it was time to go home, I was already very ill: I couldn’t walk anymore, and I couldn’t move my hand. Consequently, I had to use a wheelchair at the airport and during the 3-hour transit in Doha, Qatar.


As soon as I touched down in Malaysia, I went straight to the hospital where I had an MRI scan. To my shock, the doctor said I’d had a stroke!!


I really didn’t know that I’d suffered a stroke and never expected it. If I had known earlier, I would have gone to the hospital in Turkey. Looking back, I started showing symptoms of the stroke a few days earlier, but I didn’t realize it at the time. God really blessed me as I was able to fly home in that condition and managed to last the journey.


I was admitted at the hospital for 3 weeks though after 5 days, the doctor asked me to go home. I couldn’t even walk during my stay in hospital, although I had twice-daily physiotherapy sessions.


I thought I could recover in the hospital, but I was wrong. I didn’t know at that time that it takes a very long time to recover from a stroke. When I got home from hospital, I slowly learned how to walk again. Luckily, a week later, I was able to get on my own two feet again, but I was still limping heavily. I was glad to get rid of the cane.


My mum came from overseas to take care of me for 2 months, and I hired someone to cook and to take care of the house for a month.


My arm and leg were badly affected by my stroke. For 3 months, I had intensive rehab, 6 days a week. Thank God that the other parts of my body were fine.


In the 3rd month, I’d learned how to drive again: it was as if I was learning how to drive for the first time except that this time, I was more careful because my right side was not functioning well.

By the 4th month, I was able to do most things by myself. However, it was very difficult to cook at that time.


Having a stroke was very frustrating. In the 7th month, I almost gave up because I didn’t see any progress. Then, I thought to myself that if I didn’t exercise, I wouldn’t recover, and if I didn’t recover, I was going to be the one who suffered. I didn’t want to be in this condition, and I realized there was no short cut to recovery: I MUST EXERCISE daily!


2 years after having had my stroke, I joined an Instagram community for stroke survivors. From there, I got to know so many young stroke survivors from around the world, and I was very glad I found this community. We shared our stories and motivated each other on this path to recovery. I felt I was able to really connect with them, maybe because we were in the same boat.


In the first 2 years, my progress was very slow but in the 3rd year, I could see much improvement.


My arm is doing better than my leg; I can walk but not perfectly. I need to keep exercising, and I really hope I can fully recover. My aim is to make a 100% recovery, but if not, I’ll be happy with 97% – 98.


It is possible to recover from a stroke, but you need to be patient and persevere with your routine every day. The key is to never give up. Progress might be very slow, but you will be happy when you see the results.


Thank you to A Stroke of Luck for giving me the opportunity to share my story. I wish all the stroke survivors out there the best of luck in your recovery.