A story of how surviving traumatic brain injury turned my life on its head.
You never leave home not expecting to return, that's exactly what happened to me. Everything I thought I knew became insignificant after realising I had to fight to stay alive.
||8 publishers interested
You never leave home in the morning thinking you won't return.
That's exactly what happened on November 5th 2010. Leola suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm at work and collapsed unconscious with no pulse. She didn't return home for 2 months.
There were many times when family thought she wouldn't make it through at all. There was one stage where the Dr stated "Leola is bleeding from the brain. If we don't stop it she will die". Imagine hearing that about someone you love.
Since surviving a near fatal brain trauma Leola has learnt so much.
"I've learnt that everyday is a gift, not a given right and that we must use our time to live our best lives - whatever that means to you.
"I've written this book to share my story and challenges, but ultimately my learnings. Life changes when you face death. By reading my story I hope to encourage a different perspective on life and bring awareness to how truly precious every moment is. "
This book is for anyone with a hunger to change their situation, or feel they are "stuck in a rut". Reading through Leola's experience you will be able to see that anything is possible and you are only as strong as you want to be.
"After realising how fragile your life, health and body is - I am dedicating myself to making a difference in the lives of others. I don't want you to have to go through what I went through, to understand that each and every day we have is truly a gift."
It’s funny how life throws you a curve ball. It’s all about how you react to it – how will this moment define you? Your self-worth is the only worth you should be measured on. Believe that you have the power to change your fate - whatever it may be. Everything happens for a reason. After suffering a ruptured aneurysm and ultimately surviving it - Leola is in the best place (mentally and physically) she has ever been.
"So I thank my lucky stars I was able to go through such hardship to only come out on top.
Together we will live our best lives."
- My story
- My encounter of surviving a traumatic brain injury. All the pain, heartache and a raw and honest view of what it's really like to face death.
- Life before brain trauma
- Describes how trauma does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone.
- Recovery isn't easy
- The side of recovery you don't often hear about. Most of the time it's great when people recover and survive - but no one tells you of the physical and mental struggle that follows.
- The darkness in the well
- Recovery was the biggest challenge for me. Having to come to terms with the loss of both physical and mental ability as well as the questioning around why this happened to me was intensely negative. I fought long and hard and ultimately lost the battle with myself over a number of years.
- There is only one way out
- After realising there was no way out of this funk I was in, I had to pick myself up - there literally wasn't another option. I decided that I wasn't going to let this injury beat me.
- Fail fail fail
- After surviving a near death brain injury there is a certain element of invincibility that I felt. So I tried many things, different career paths, pushing myself to the limits - I failed over and over again including being on the brink of the top 50 of MasterChef.
- A change of view
- Following recovery and ultimately hitting rock bottom, my view of life had changed dramatically. I was no longer the person that I was before. This was hard to accept not only for myself but for those around me. Looking back on it now, it has all worked out for the best.
- Trauma to triumph
- The turning point where I realised that I survived for a reason, I had a voice and I wanted to share my story and encourage others to live their best lives. I felt I had gone through such a significant life changing event that I couldn't just sit back and let "life happen to me" - I needed to shape my own life.
- What is a "best life"?
- This chapter explores the elements of living your best life and how we can apply it to our day to day. It includes my own experiences as well as some that I've learnt and have been taught by great mentors along the way.
Trauma survivors incl PTSD (www.sidran.org)
- An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.
- An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD. About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a given year.
- An estimated 1 out of 10 women develops PTSD; women are about twice as likely as men.
Career driven women who suffer mental illness (https://www.theguardian.com)
- The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity survey of mental health and wellbeing, carried out every seven years across England, reveals soaring rates of mental illness among young women, who are suffering from a range of common mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Despite going to their GP for help, only 20% received treatment in the last 12 months, according to the study.
- One in four women aged 16-24 reported symptoms of common mental health conditions the previous week – a rise from 21% when the study was last carried out in 2007. Young women were three times as likely as men to report such symptoms, with rates of 9% among males of the same age, the figures show.
- At the same time, there needed to be a model that could improve resilience, involving the wider community. Many schools recognised that distressed pupils needed professional help and pilot projects involving schools and mental health providers were supporting youngsters in a variety of ways.
Leola knows how important and fragile life can be. Having suffered a near fatal brain aneurysm in 2010, she is lucky to be alive. Overcoming depression through positive thinking and a can-do attitude, Leola can help you understand the importance of self-worth and help you to live your best life today.
“As a survivor of life’s challenges and tribulations. I want to use my experiences to help others open up to life’s possibilities. My dad always says to me ‘Leola, everything always seems to work out for you.’ I believe that’s because I believe that good things will happen to me. Honestly.
“I still ask the world “why me?” I still haven’t come to terms with what I’ve gone through – even all these years on. But in life, you have a choice. Everyone has a choice. How you react to life’s challenges will define your future. I’ve had to learn the hard way."
"If I can give you one piece of advice it would be to DO IT NOW. Use the fine china, wear the pretty dress, show off the expensive Jewellery. None of this “I’ll wait for a special occasion.” Enjoy it now!"
As a Marketer myself, I understand how important it is to do this right the first time.
I have the following active online channels updated at least every second day with blog posts, relevant third-party articles to my audience, videos and self-help style written content.
Specifically to promote my book I will have a strategic plan calendarised across all online channels. I also have:
- A subscriber list - based on opt in's and attendees to my events
- Events / Workshops - which I run every few months
- A wide network to help share
- Google AdWords account to drive more traffic
All above channels will be used to promote the sale and reach of my book. I will share sample videos and content to help my audience want to read more. Pending interest I can also offer "bonus buy" offers and specials for those that purchase multiple books.
Specific marketing activities to include:
- Consistent and scheduled social media posts
- Website blog posts
- Video promotion - on website, youtube and social channels
- eDM to subscribers with an early bird special offer
- Promotional online banners - FB cover, website home page, Google AdWords
"The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith" Gabby Bernstein
- Publisher: Hay House, Inc. (September 27, 2016)
- In her latest book, The Universe Has Your Back, New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they most long for: happiness, security, and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Readers will learn to stop chasing life and truly live.Making the shift from fear to faith will give readers a sense of power in a world that all too often makes them feel utterly powerless. When the tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, this book will help guide them back to their true power.
"On my own two feet" Janine Shepherd
- Publisher: Random House Australia (April 2, 2007)
- United States author tour April/May 2008! In 1986, champion cross-country skier Janine Shepherd was training for the Winter Olympics when she was hit by a truck and suffered life-threatening injuries. Janine was told that she would never walk again. That story was recounted in her bestselling memoir NEVER TELL ME NEVER, which was subsequently made into a telemovie starring Claudia Karvan. Not only did Janine confound her doctors by learning to walk again, she learned to fly a plane and became a commercial pilot and aerobatics instructor. She married and had three children, despite the medical belief this would be impossible. That moving and inspirational story is the subject of DARE TO FLY, which also describes the incredible response to her first book and the way the Australian public opened their hearts to Janine. The next chapter in her life appeared to be stable and idyllic: buying a farm and moving to the Southern Highlands with her husband and three kids, running the farm, continuing with her aerobatic and flying training, learning to ride a horse. Janine being Janine, she not only learned to ride, but learned dressage, and learned it so well she was in the running for seleciton in the Paralympic Equestrian Team for the Athens Olympics. Then the unthinkable happened. Her husband, Tim, became seriously ill and suddenly, her long-held dream of country life began to crumble. ON MY OWN TWO FEET is the honest and often heart-wrenching account of Janine's struggle to save her family from an unpredictable and devastating illness that threatened to tear them apart. Anyone who has gained strength and inspiration from Janine's previous books will be saddened, touched but ultimately uplifted by this incredible story, told with her characteristic warmth, integrity and humour.
"Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life" Nick Vujicic
- Publisher: WaterBrook; Reprint edition (June 5, 2012)
- What Would Your Life be Like if Anything Were Possible? Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic overcame his disabilities to live an independent, rich, fulfilling, and “ridiculously good” life while serving as a role model for anyone seeking true happiness. Now an internationally successful motivational speaker, Nick eagerly spreads his message: the most important goal is to find your life’s purpose and to never give up, despite whatever difficulties or seemingly impossible odds stand in your way.
"Think and grow rich" Napoleon Hill
- Publisher: Ben Holden-Crowther (February 4, 2017
- In Think and Grow Rich, Hill draws on stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and other millionaires of his generation to illustrate his principles. This book will teach you the secrets that could bring you a fortune. It will show you not only what to do but how to do it. Once you learn and apply the simple, basic techniques revealed here, you will have mastered the secret of true and lasting success. Money and material things are essential for freedom of body and mind, but there are some who will feel that the greatest of all riches can be evaluated only in terms of lasting friendships, loving family relationships, understanding between business associates, and introspective harmony which brings one true peace of mind! All who read, understand, and apply this philosophy will be better prepared to attract and enjoy these spiritual values."
"Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration" Meera Lee Patel
- Publisher: TarcherPerigee (August 11, 2015)
- Start Where You Are is an interactive journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, mindfulness, and self-motivation. It helps readers navigate the confusion and chaos of daily life with a simple reminder: that by taking the time to know ourselves and what those dreams are, we can appreciate the world around us and achieve our dreams.
Well here it goes. I’ve been procrastinating about writing my story for ages now. Guess I was too lazy, too busy with life and didn’t know where to start. After talking it over with those close to me, here I am.
I’ve recently read a few books about people that have been in a similar situation to mine, have overcome it, and gone onto do something great. It’s funny how life throws you a curve ball. It’s all about how you react to it – how will this moment define you?
I hope that once you’ve finished reading this book, you will be as inspired as I was when I read others’ stories. Remember you can achieve anything you want to. Even after a close call with death, I’ve never been so close to happiness.
On November 5th, 2010 I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm.
I was at work, it would have been around 10:30am. I went downstairs for my mid-morning smoko, as I usually did. Everything was normal, it was a Friday, I was in a good mood, sun was shining. It was a perfect day! After I finished my cigarette I went to the bathroom. Sitting in the cubicle, minding my own business a sharp pain in my head struck me. I cannot describe to you the intense pain I felt. I remember my ears
were blocked, I had what seemed like tunnel vision, and then everything went black.
I woke up on the floor of the cubicle. Looking back on that situation, that’s quite disgusting! On the floor of a toilet cubicle with my pants down, surrounded by people I barely knew! Thankfully someone thought to cover me with a blanket. The cubicle doors at my old work didn’t come down to the floor – and thank God for that.
Someone saw me lying on the floor and jumped over the top to see if I was ok. It seems I wasn’t. I was still unconscious at this stage, and from what I’m told, I was out cold for at least 15 minutes. That is quite a long time to be unconscious. I was making noises with my mouth. Like a gurgling, choking sound. They called the first aid officer for my area, who was also a trained nurse. I’ve seen the lady since, and she said that when she found me she couldn’t find a pulse. I cried when she told me that, did that mean I had died? I guess I’ll never know, but I sure came close.
Here’s some statistical data to put things into perspective:
*Aneurysms are present in probably 2% or more of adults, and multiple aneurysms occur in more than 10% of these. The outlook after rupture of a cerebral aneurysm depends on the size and location of the aneurysm, the person's age, general health, and neurological condition after haemorrhage.
^Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit.
^Approximately 15% of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) die before reaching the hospital. Most of the deaths from subarachnoid haemorrhage are due to rapid and massive brain injury from the initial bleeding which is not correctable by medical and surgical interventions.
^4 out of 7 people who recover from a ruptured brain aneurysm will have disabilities.
When I came to, I was so confused. I was lying side down on the floor of the cubicle, the door was still closed. I had 2 ladies hovering over the top of me, wiping my forehead with cold paper towels, and stripping me of my jacket and scarf. I was
sweating profusely, and seemed to be burning up. “Are you ok Leola?”, “An ambulance is on the way”. I could hear what they were saying, but couldn’t open my mouth to respond. On top of all of this, the pain in my head was excruciating. It felt like the worst migraine I have ever had, pounding constantly at the back of my head. I felt sick, really sick. I wanted to vomit, sleep, and close my eyes all at the same time.
The nurse was trying to keep me awake, I remember the panic in her eyes – but I just couldn’t respond to her. There’s something very scary about not being able to speak. I wanted so badly to respond and say “Yes, I’m fine, no need for an ambulance. Just give me a minute” but I just couldn’t get the words out of my mouth.
The ambulance arrived, two men in their 20’s. Here we go, I felt so embarrassed, yet helpless at the same time. One of the officers came into the cubicle and told me to get up. Looking back on that, I’m guessing he said that to assess how bad I was. But at the time I remember thinking in my head “Are you serious?” - I couldn’t get up. The officer grabbed me from under my arms and helped me up and propped me back onto the toilet. Meanwhile, still with my pants around my legs, I managed to wipe myself! It was so embarrassing, but necessary nonetheless. He kept telling me to “Get up”, I tried, I couldn’t. I started to cry through the drowsiness, then I started vomiting. I
couldn’t understand why, I thought it was just my head that hurt, but out of no where I needed to vomit. After I had stopped being sick, the officer picked me up, swung my arm over his shoulder and walked me out of the cubicle, through the small bathroom and hoisted me onto the stretcher waiting in the hallway.
I felt somewhat relieved lying on the stretcher bed. The intense pounding in my head hadn’t gotten any better, I was managing a few words, but was still very drowsy, groggy and confused. The officers wheeled the bed out into the open area to catch the
lift down to the ground floor. I could see my co-workers staring at me, I couldn’t bear to look at them. We got into the lift, went down to the ground floor and I was wheeled out of the building. The cold air struck me. I didn’t have my jacket or scarf on, and
my clothes were wet with my sweat. I remember a colleague looking at me as they wheeled me out and I thought “I’m going to get so much crap about this on Monday”. I hope you’re reading this Michael Littlejohn – I’ll never forget that.
Once in the ambulance, I was strapped into the bed. Kind of like a prisoner I guess! I was injected with a few things, no idea what. I was told later that it was an anti-nausea drug to stop the vomiting. Not long after, we arrived at the emergency ward of the hospital. I was wheeled in, and left waiting in the waiting area for a doctor to check me out. I was next to an older man, who was moaning in pain. I’m not too sure what from, but the noise was very discomforting. My work colleague came with me to the hospital. Clare Singleton – thank you. She called my partner Merv, and explained I had collapsed at work and had been taken to the hospital. Merv was shocked, but not too surprised. I’ve been severely anaemic for years and regularly suffered dizzy spells and blackouts. He thought it had been related to that. I wish it had been.
Luckily Merv worked nearby, and was at my bedside within 20 minutes. I was still waiting in the emergency ward. I was able to speak at this stage and was telling Merv that I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. All I needed was a couple pain killers and a good sleep. To be honest I wasn’t completely worried either. I just felt really sick, and just thought I needed to rest. I feel as though the next hour or so is a bit blurry to me. I recall the doctor ordering a urine test, which shouldn’t be too
difficult normally, but it seemed I just couldn’t do it. The doctors waited until I could, and after a while I finally did. Not too sure of the exact details after this stage, but I'm told that a doctor demanded that I have a brain scan. Prior to this, nothing out of the ordinary had been found. I would’ve been given a few pain killers and be sent home to sleep it off. Fortunately for me, this doctor ordered my scan.
She saved my life.