Ashley is a stroke thriver and cancer survivor. She is also one of the most beautiful and kind women I have ever met. Her genuine smile comes right from the heart. She has had quite a journey through health and recovery and has carved a new path to use her strength and hope to inspire others. Let’s hear it from her…
“It began with what I thought were hot flashes at the age of 26. After numerous appointments, tests, and procedures, I was told I was having seizures.
I soon learned my seizures were being caused by a brain tumour, which was suspected to be benign. My doctors recommended a craniotomy that could potentially ease the seizures. My surgery date came about a year later, so I had an adequate amount of time to mentally prepare – and bump up my yoga practice to help me build an inner calmness and a growing strength despite the present weaknesses and ongoing health concerns.
I went into surgery believing everything would be fine. Though I vaguely remember being told by my neurosurgeon about the risk of stroke during surgery, I didn’t fully acknowledge it. I went in, and hours later awoke on the hospital bed, confused and hearing voices around me – some making comments, some asking me to answer questions or move my hand. I didn’t feel good, but I was fresh out of brain surgery and definitely hadn’t been expecting to feel great. I was stunned to realize that I could not move my right hand, or my right arm, or my right foot, or my entire right leg… and my face felt weird too.
The next day, I was told I had experienced a stroke during surgery. (Yes, that risk I didn’t even feel was necessary to acknowledge.) In the surgery, I had been bleeding excessively and having this clot cause a stroke is what saved my life. I was freshly out of brain surgery and new brain injury, so not much was making sense, including this diagnosis and what the future may look like. This stroke had resulted in the loss of movement in my right side.
I went to stay in a rehabilitation facility where they told me that I needed to push my own wheelchair with one hand. I celebrated my 27th birthday and Christmas, made new friends, fell a few times, got angry, cried, got incredible support from family and friends, and learned to become left-handed. For four months, my days were filled with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. While I was here, I learned my tumour had been malignant and I began to try to process this while still working through rehabilitation.
I was most afraid of losing the ability to do yoga, and travel. Yet, it was here that I started to do yoga again with a group of others, focusing on all the poses we could instead of the poses we couldn’t. Being within a community of people that have had a similar experience – and who know exactly how hellish tying shoelaces with one hand can be – was a saving grace after being put into a situation where my previous regular daily life had become a foreign and a distant memory.
Every day was a journey (honestly, every day still is a journey). It has now been 7 years since my stroke, which has felt like 7 years of ongoing rehab, recovery, and a therapeutic personal yoga practice.”
What an incredible story of resilience through recovery and positive mindset! After experiencing the healing power of her therapeutic yoga, Ashley wanted to do more, to help others recover and learn to live well in their recovery. The idea and passion behind starting her own business was born, and here she was on a new journey! Now Ashley has her own business and her mission is to assist other young stroke survivors with ongoing emotional support, meditation, yoga, and reiki so that they can soothe their mind, body, and spirit and thrive in rehabilitation and beyond.
Check out her website: https://www.ashleyvoth.ca/
Words of wisdom and empowerment from Ashley:
I asked Ashley what she feels has been the most valuable lesson she has learned in 2020, and this is what she had to share.
“I feel the most valuable lesson I learned in 2020 was acceptance. It’s an ongoing lesson and definitely not an easy one! Acceptance of the differences in each day, and how my approach may be different each day.
Acceptance of the uncertainty of each week, and how my response to that may be different each day.
And, mostly acceptance of the outcome. The outcome of each day, each week, and the year as a whole.”
I asked Ashley to share her message of strength and empowerment for other women to start 2021 with a positive mindset, and this is her inspiring response.
“If you are feeling uncertain, overwhelmed, discouraged – remember the RAIN acronym.
Recognize what is happening within you.
Allow this moment to be as it is.
Investigate with curiosity and kindness.
Nurture with love and self-compassion.
Allow mindfulness to remind you each and every day that You Are Worthy!”
WOW! What an incredible honour to be able to share Ashley’s story with you. She helps to empower young stroke survivors as they journey through recovery and recognize their warrior within. Regardless of your own personal circumstances, have you recognized the warrior within yourself? What can you conquer in your life by finding your warrior and moving forward? Thank you for reading Ashley’s story, and let’s keep supporting and empowering each other as we continue our journey to live our best life!
ASHLEY YOU ARE PHENOMENAL!!!