Sunday, April 12, 2015

Survivor Spotlight: Christine Webster

I always knew that something life changing was going to happen to me at age 40. I just felt it. On January 1, 2008, I had a massive stroke caused by an Arterial Venous Malformation in my brainstem.

I was 40 years old, a free spirit, independent. I had just received my graduate degree and became a teacher . My passion was to educate children and inspire hope for our future. After a year of teaching, I started to have horrible headaches. Within 6 months I suffered the stroke. For years afterward, I had multiple brain surgeries . It was a long journey home.

My stroke recovery has been about incredible challenges, but it has also been about hope. I tell myself "slow and steady wins the race", "this too shall pass" and inspirational things that keep me
going. A work in progress is what I consider myself now. I don't focus on the past or the future anymore. I focus on the present. I think it's all in how we want to look at our stroke. Is the glass half empty or half full? I choose half full. It takes hard work every day to maintain a positive attitude. It is a meditation for me.

I now accept what has happened and appreciate the new me. I don't believe stroke is easy for any one- of any age. Afte (years of recovery, I started volunteering in my community. I volunteer with stroke patients in the hospital, help tourists at the local chamber of commerce and tutor schoolchildren . I am very active in stroke support groups and public speaking events.

Life was extremely difficult after my stroke, but I adjusted. I live in a great community and have many new friends. I couldn't do it without them. Since my stroke, I have learned to ride a three-wheel bike, make lampshades and take one day at a time. I start each day with a healthy dose of gratitude, laughter, kindness and compassion . It is my intention to make each day my best. I believe that anything is possible and I believe in miracles.

In early January, I started searching online and found Stroke Camp. It sounded so interesting. I flew down to San Diego for the camp held January 23-25 because I just had to meet these incredible people that make it all happen. I want to continue my work with stroke recovery, prevention and education.

I just simply want to help people. My dream is to see Stroke Camp come to Northern California someday. I believe "where there is a will there is a way." I can't give up until stroke statistics decline, until people stop dying and being disabled. I believe I can help to produce that change. At least I can try.

So something big did happen to me when I turned 40. It was life changing and I will never ever be the same. For that I am grateful. I appreciate everything I have been given and have survived. After seven years of recovery, I just got my first job . I am beside myself with excitement for the future. Never give up hope and never stop trying. We all have something great to give.


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