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Elizabeth defied the odds after brain haemorrhage


From the Dunfermline Press 31st July 2008 

it was the worse case he had ever seen and he couldn't repair the damage. "They didn't expect me to live. My family was told to expect the worst but hope for the best, and after I came round they told me that the best that could happen was that I would be put in a nursing home for the rest of my life." Elizabeth said the news left her "shell-shocked", but was determined to fight her condition, which left her paralysed on her left side and blind in one eye.

Following her operation, she spent a year in intensive care at Ninewells, and was then transferred id the brain injury rehabilitation unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Dundee, where she spent another year. As she was still too poorly to go home, she then moved to a nursing home in Forfar, before coming to Rosyth in 2004 to undertake a two-year intensive rehabilitation course, from which she was discharged 18 months ago.

She said, "I had to learn all my basic living skills all over again walking, talking, looking after myself. It was a struggle physically and emotionally very draining.


  "Rehab was very painful and stressful for me but I never thought of giving up because that would have meant giving in. "I felt very frustrated because I couldn't do a lot of things, and impatient because progress was very slow and I wanted to get things done quicker than I was able to, but not getting better was never an option." Sadly, in 2006, her marriage fell apart, because "the strain proved too much for every body".  She added, "My family were all shocked and very upset by my brain haemorrhage as well. Everybody's life was turned upside down because of what happened.  WMm  "My late mum especially never came to terms with it but I think she would be very proud to see me now."   Thanks to her determination and self-belief, as well as an upturn in her health and physical condition due to the rehab, Elizabeth went from strength to strength, regaining the ability to walk and the sight in her eye. 

She said, "I'm a great believer in the power of positive thinking  I never felt self-pity because that would have been pointless. Moving to Fife gave me back my purpose in life. Now I've got my life back on course and I'm not finished yet." 

To prove the point, she com­pleted two courses in computing in the past year and will now be starting volunteer work in befriending at the volunteer centre in Dunfermline.  She is also looking for full-time work, "perhaps at reception", and because she is doing so well, now only needs medical check-ups every two months. NHS Fife has also invited Elizabeth to speak about her condition and recovery at its "Patients' Stories  Powerful Voices" conference next month.  She told the Press, "I've been told I'm a medical miracle. As far as brain haemorrhages go, I've been very lucky because most people don't even survive and I've proved all the medical predictions wrong.

"In the past seven years I've received unconditional support from my family and friends and now I want to put something back for people who have not been as lucky as me. The beginning of the seven years was absolutely awful but it's a case of believing in yourself.

"I think I've changed for the better. It's been a great leveller 1 don't take things for granted so much as before.

"I will never ever be the way I used to be but I want to be the best I can be."

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