My name is Myla Brugmans, I am a stroke survivor. At the age of 23 (1993), I suffered 3 TIAs (transient ischaemic attacks). At that time there was no stroke education like today. I had experienced blurred vision, severe headaches and numbness on one side. Anyone today would automatically know that those are 3 of the 4 signs of stroke. At that time I was not as fortunate. Although, I was rushed to the hospital after my third TIA, I was still not diagnosed as such. I was in hospital for 3 days when I suffered my massive stroke. This left me a left hemiplegic.
While in the hospital over duration of 5.5 months, I eventually re-learned how to roll over in bed, sit in a chair and walk short distances with a cane.
I left the hospital only to find that I was being laid off. After the second year, I was thankful to have been exposed to a magazine published by CPA that had a disabled skier on its cover. I was a sports enthusiast pre-stroke and was still unsure how or if I would still be able to partake in such activities. I made a call to the publisher and asked how I could get involved in disabled skiing. They directed me to a local Toronto group. ADDS, Adult Disabled Downhill Skiing was meeting in three days on that Sunday. I mentioned it to my husband and siblings. They strongly advised me that I was barely able to walk. How did I expect to go down a hill without killing myself?
Well, I went anyway and was off the baby hill by the afternoon. I have never let anyone tell me what I can and cannot do. I met some great people in this sport who taught me the motto… “There is nothing we can’t do; we may just have to do it differently”. In 2000, I was recruited to ski for the Ontario Alpine team.
As for my career, the layoff in 1994 and the fact that I was rejected for disability insurance was the BEST thing that had ever happen to me in terms of my career. I was working for a company as a desktop publisher at the time of my lay off. I hit the proverbial pavement, attending conferences and meeting with head hunters. This kept me employed and in demand for five years. I was eventually hunted for CSC in 1998. Starting as a level 1 support analyst, I moved to four different companies and four promotions. Until the recent recession hit, I lead a Domino team from home for my clients in five different continents.
In spite of having three children, Skye (DOB 1992), Taye (DOB 1992) and Kyle (DOB 2000) and very busy work schedule, I still make the time to continue my physical re-habilitation at a Premier Fitness 6-7 days a week. With the help of the trainers there and my compulsive nature, I am in the best shape of my life. I dropped 8 sizes in 8 months.
I guess I should include what I can’t do. Here is the list:
I cannot put my hair in a pony tail.
As of June 21st, 2011 at 12:30 am I managed to learn to tie my hair in a ponytail. This was one of my biggest worries as the day approached closer and closer that I was to live without my teenage children who clearly were getting sick of mom waking them up at 4:50 AM every morning to help me with my hair so I could go to the gym.
I recently became an empty nester and grandmother to a beautiful baby girl, Harley Quinn. I am fighting a rare sub-type of Diabetes called Brittle Diabetes that affects only 1 in 1000. I fight for my life every hour of each day.
I look forward to beginning a new chapter in my life. Today I am the executive assistant to two company president/general manager, All Overhead Doors and Cadetta Drain Company.
Who says life slows down after a stroke? NOT me!!!
Everything that I have experienced in life, good and bad has served as a learning experience to show me that I have the inner strength to live this 2nd chance to the fullest.
Each day a gift to watch unravel is the most beautiful thing. I am a grateful stroke survivor.
These are my accomplishments:
I have survived a fatal stroke that left me paralyzed on my left side.
I am diligently controlling my diabetes
I managed to stay fit and active regardless of my age, disability and medical conditions.
I am currently trying to cut down to 4-5 days a week at the gym.
I live, work and play at my fullest.
These are my fitness related goals:
Body fat percentage in the mid 20s.
Better diabetes control.
A more stable gait.
Not to ever be mistaken as a mother or grand mother.
To make this my lifetime committment
These are the sports and/or activities I participate in: