A Stroke of Bad Luck and the Potholed Road to Recovery
A Health and Travel Memoir
By Anne Sigmon
I’d been a fit and healthy–if somewhat klutzy–public relations writer who tagged along with my adventurous husband taking tea with erstwhile headhunters in Borneo, bunking with a stone age tribe in Papua New Guinea and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Even though I had no obvious risk factors, I had suffered a career-ending stroke at only 48 years old.
I soon discovered that I was the victim of “hidden” risk factors that primarily affect women–migraine, miscarriage, common clotting disorders and autoimmune disease–risks that every woman should understand but, like me, most do not. For the rest of my life, doctors told me, I would teeter over a precarious chasm–keeping my blood thin enough to prevent another stroke, not so thin as to provoke fatal bleeding.
A Stroke of Bad Luck follows my journey into a baffling netherworld of stroke rehab and chronic autoimmune illness, with its flares and bleeding scares. The memoir traces my struggle to read and write again, to hold a fork, to tie my shoes; my battle to write and regain keyboard skills in spite of a therapist who thought I ought to braid potholders. I also fought to summon the nerve for third-world travel to Botswana, Burma, India, Laos, Vietnam and ancient Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan, all while living with a chronic disease that threatened to kill me. But these weren’t the hard parts.
The hard part was to find–and accept–a new view of myself.
Excerpts from A stroke of Bad Luck have been published in Good Housekeeping and Stroke Connection magazines and the 2010 travel anthology Wandering in Costa Rica: Landscapes Lost and Found.