Believe In Yourself (Contributed By Sonal Goregaoker)

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I was leading an active life like most people do. I was fulltime Mom and career working women. I was working for CRISIL for 16 years where I was managing hiring across domestic as well as international arena, cutting across levels. I am still a health freak, love to travel/trek in the mountains and valleys within India. I have an adventurous streak in me; hence I went to climb Everest Base Camp.

I trained myself for EBC for around two years. Finally, in May 2017, I went there to Lukla where my trek started. Saw the magnificent mountains ranges and I was awestruck by that. I felt so small compared to Himalaya, as if I was speck of dust in entire universe. The trek was smooth, we took few days to a acclimatize our self. We were on the last leg of the EBC trek and I felt extremely euphoric, almost I have conquered my goal. But the destiny had a different plan for me. On the last leg I suffered from brain stroke and I got aid after 22 hours later by then my brain damage happened. After three days, my family took me back to Mumbai. I was in coma for 8 days, after getting up from coma, I wasn’t able to comprehend anything.

The intensity of my brain stroke was high which impacted my speech and I was partially paralyzed. I realized the ramifications of my brain stroke three months later. I lost my language that is loss of words or grammar and partial body movement were gone. I was unable to express my feeling, unable to move my body effectively. My life changed within a split second, I was a corporate recruiter, it spiraled down to be like a baby in a women body. I was able to say two words to my father, “Why Me”. And he said to me “you have two choices one is TRY ME or be as you are” that changes my entire trajectory of my life “TRY ME”. I never looked back again.

Of course, I had my family, my friends and my organization’s support, without that I couldn’t have achieved some much. They contributed for my recovery in different ways. I did my first ever TED TALK, I completed a course of psychological counselling and I was invited for a podcast. Today I counsel other stroke survivors, especially in area of speech (Aphasia).

Believe in yourself is the key thing I have learnt from my stroke. And make an absolute resolve no matter what happens, your growth is inevitable. Ending with my mentor’s quote “Adversity gives birth to greatness. The greater the challenges and difficulties we face, the greater opportunity we have to grow and develop as people”.


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