Against the Odds

Cora Kearney
May 22, 2018 · 3 min read

In 2007 laying in my hospital bed, with no feeling in my left side, no speech, unable to swallow food without choking and struggling with language the odds were firmly stacked against me. I didn’t realise it at the time but my life would never again be the same.

That was 11 years ago, I had Benign Intracranial Hypertension and the fluid pressure on my brain caused a lot of damage, my life has changed a lot in the past 11 years, it’s infinitely better than it ever was before, it’s got it’s challenges but I wouldn’t trade it for millions.

My physical recovery was for the most part pretty quick, but my damaged brain is still a work in progress. The damage to my brain affected my memory, I would recognise faces but couldn’t figure out where they belonged in my life, I couldn’t link faces to experiences. I sometimes struggled with reality. I had vision problems, depth perception issues, language problems were particularly bad if I was tired (it was like translating individual words looking for the meaning of the words with no point of reference). I suffered debilitating exhaustion.

That seems like a whole other lifetime ago. I wasn’t able to work and didn’t think I ever would again. I took on a lot of activities to help me with my recovery, Pitch and Putt to help with my left side weakness. I lived in flipflops to strengthen my muscles in my feet. I played badminton and table tennis to improve my fine motor skills as my brain has no idea what type of grip to use for heavy or light objects. I taught myself to crochet, knit, decoupage and I love a bit of furniture upcycling. All of these things were to help my recovery. I joined a roller derby team, but that was just pure fun. Not every adult gets a chance to go weeeeeee!!

Different problems i had prevented me from going back to any job I ever had before. I couldn’t work but I had to do something so I went to college, my intelligence wasn’t affected but how I learn presented itself with a whole new set of challenges. I started with a Business Admin course. I had done a secretarial course years ago when I finished school but I had to start from scratch, my brain didn’t know which hand to tell to type for my word processing classes. At the end of the course I applied for the next level and got turned down as my tutors didn’t think I was capable. I also applied for an honors marketing degree and didn’t for a second think I would get in. I worried about not being able to handle the work load after my previous tutors didn’t think I was able for a level 6 course, how was i going to be able to cope with a level 8.

I shouldn’t have worried, I’m very creative and hard working. I finished college with an honors degree.

I struggled to get work after college but even in the worst of days at the beginning I always had a positive outlook. I would find something positive about every day. Sometimes the only positive thing I would find in the beginning was that the day was over and tomorrow was another chance for things to be better.

I used Employability Services to help me find work and started work with a company called Metsitaba, (Now called voxgig) with a very important small v. It’s my first marketing job, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve really landed on my feet. I work with an amazing team and am a valued member of the team. Not everyone gets a chance in life to do things over and start again. I love my life, I love my job and if I could go back to before I got sick I wouldn’t change a single thing. Every life experience makes you who you are and to my friends I’m Wonder Woman.

Against the Odds