On Thursday 20th of March Michelle had a bit of a headache. Nothing unusual and a couple of paracetamol sorted it out. When she woke on the Friday George said to her that when she smiled only half of her mouth was smiling at him. She has suffered a left sided numbness previously when suffering a severe migraine but had not had one for over a year and this time the headache was nothing like her previous migraines. Any numbness/weakness has previously subsided within a day!
During the day things didn't improve so we went to the Sir Robert Peel Hospital in Tamworth who referred us straight to Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. She received excellent care there firstly in A&E from the nurses, stroke doctor and porters and then on the HASU ward (stroke ward) overnight.
She had a CT scan at midnight and to our relief the worst case scenario (a stroke) was ruled out and a diagnosis of a rare & complex Hemepligic Migraine was made. She was told she should regain full use of her arm, leg, hand and mouth with 4/5 days and there will be no long term effects. She was discharged with physiotherapy exercises to carry out.
She only asked one question of the Physiotherapist which was " I am doing the London Marathon in 3 weeks time so when can I start running again?" Not "can I" or "should I" but "I am"! That moment right there is the moment I knew she had the mental strength to do London!
Not that I was in agreement she would be at that stage. Obviously I hoped she would be able to as she has worked so hard in her training for this her first marathon. I wanted to make sure she was well enough to do it first. The Physiotherapist said that there was no reason why she couldn't start running in a few days but that Michelle should listen to her body!
If I fast forward 13 days to yesterday I can say that after a lot of walking to strengthen the leg, exercises on the arm, hand and fingers to regain her movement and a general straightening up of her face you would say to look at her that she was fine.
I know of course that her grip strength is still poor, I assume her left leg is still weak and she has some vision issues in her periphery on the left. The difference over that period however is amazing as huge improvements were made daily as she recovered. The first walk we did was very slow and very tiring and she needed my hand for support. 8 days on she made it into work for a few hours and 9 days on she made it to the Poppyfields Ball!
So yesterday she attempted her first run since the attack. I had in my head a 2 mile 10 or 11 mins/mile pace run around the estate so we can get home if it all went pear shaped. Michelle on the other hand simply smashed a 3 mile run up to and round the Castle Grounds at sub 9 mins/mile pace!
I have seen some amazing things. I have seen people push themselves beyond anything they thought they could do. I have seen kids fight through illnesses that would have many of us rocking in a corner and maintain a smile and energy that defies the odds. Yesterday though I was truly floored by her determination and heart! Her resilience and sheer stubbornness would make me a millionaire if I could bottle it! Of course in many ways I am rich beyond imagination but that is totally down to Michelle and our kids.
Many people will say that some things cant be done. Many will say some things shouldn't be done. Some people cant understand the heart, determination, resilience and sheer stubbornness that lies within us all because they perhaps haven't had to call on it themselves or they choose to ignore it.
Yesterday put to bed not only the question of would Michelle be doing London, she had said that at worst it would be a nice walk around London, but also whether or not she would be able to run it.
Our marathon training plan hadn't allowed for this 2 week sebatical so I think we will just call it an early taper, get a few runs in over the next 10 days and she will be found on the start line on the 13th ready to tackle her first marathon.
If you see a freaky white Morph with a big grin grabbing all the attention from the crowd, spare a thought and give a shout to the quiet, steady, unassuming runner next to him sporting her 'Michy' Poppyfields vest. She is the engine, the strength, the determination and heart that powers us both!
You already know she runs for Poppyfields and the money goes directly to help kids fight brain tumours at Birmingham Children's Hospital. If you think her effort is worthy then make a donation. Perhaps forego a pint or two this weekend or better still cut out the takeaways for a week and donate the money you save. Donate at www.justgiving.com/michydoeslondon or text 'HECK78 £10' to 70070 as many times as you like.