Sam's first brain injury occurred in 2014 when she contracted meningitis and encephalitis. She began attending meetings at Headway Coventry and Warwickshire, before becoming a volunteer and later running the group's Nuneaton branch.
In April 2021, doctors discovered a severe infection in Samantha's spinal fluid. The treatment for this caused a stroke in August of that year, and while Sam is making a good recovery, she has stepped down from her work at Headway to focus on her recovery.
"I have found that much of what I've learned about the brain from research and clients during my role at Headway has really helped me to understand and explain some of my new behaviour and management of my recovery," said Sam.
"As a group during lockdown we took part in some free writing, I've done a few pieces now and really enjoy it.
I wrote this piece, 'My Broken Brain', to help others feel positive and informed of my story.
Nearly 20 years of chronic pain living with my broken brain.
Tablets and more tablets, no answers just more tablets to drive me insane.
Mmeningitis and Fibro ,brain infections and more. Days and weeks in hospital, in bed at home. Years wasted, any more?
Amazing consultant took over my care, her new set of tablets she told me to beware. They gave me a funny face but the brain pain I'd had for the last 10 years has started to fade, a new energy I gained how great I started to feel.
On our way to the sea, I then suffered stroke. Well now I was really broke!
Couldn't move my fingers or my toes, no way, I'll show 'em this won't be the way I'll go!
Within 12 hours I was slowly lifting my leg. Eight weeks here is my steps challenge. Yes things have been tough but unlike before I've not had enough.
Time spent in hospital with those sick and dying, I know I'm lucky and I just keep trying.
Some days are good and others I curse (really bad😆).
The physio says 'your grip is good, you're walking well', but I know that when I'm tired I walk into things and drag my leg and that stroking the dog or brushing my hair doesn't feel the same.
My hand turns over and spills dinner down my front, I might wet my knickers and dribble my tea but that's OK, with my one good eye at least I can still see.
I get confused, I slur my words. I'm forgetful and sharp. I'm still me, Sam with a great big heart.
Don't ask if I'm better now. I'm not, I'm changed. But I'm OK with My Broken Brain.
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