It was the time of my life young, healthy and fearless starting a career. First it was Milan, then it became LA Requests were pouring in, no casting no more. My dreams were just a step away from becoming real.
Dizziness and headaches all the time, doctor cannot find anything wrong It must be stress or exhaustion. Perfect timing, going home for a gig. Holidays with family and friends is just what I need.
The dizziness was never so bad. What is happening to me? I swayed like a boat on a stormy sea. I mumbled like an old drunk stumbling off my feet. The doctor is wrong. This is more than just a flu.
Staring at the physicians in the emergency ward. They cannot figure out what is happening to me. I feel all my energy flowing out of my body. “I just don’t have power” to my mother I said. Those would be the last words I would ever speak.
Panic starts kicking in. I could not move anymore. I could hardly breathe. My mom yelled out for help. Doctors, and nurses went through the motions. Still nobody knew what was happening to me.
Three days motionless in bed staring at the ceiling. All I could do is blink my eyes, once for ‘yes,’ twice for ‘no’ MRI results are in, brainstem severely damaged. It must have been a stroke the doctor said. There is nothing more that we can do, chances of recovery is none to minute.
Locked-In syndrome was the verdict. Fully conscious yet unable to speak or move, my life came to a halting end in a blink of an eye. I could not understand why this has happened to me. Evermore trapped inside my body.
I was heartbroken, empty and angry. I cried and I cried; “why didn’t God just take my life.” What sense is there in being alive when you are completely paralyzed”? All my plans and dreams were gone, I felt like my life was forever lost. All I could do is to stare at the world and watch time passing by.
“One should never give up hope” they say. Medically; I could not be helped, but maybe alternative medicine may have a cure. I tried so many different treatments, from the obvious to the absurd They all came to the same conclusion; ‘there is nothing to be done’ In the end even ‘Hope’ was gone and all that I had left was ‘Faith’
I came to understand the real meaning of ‘Faith’. Not faith as it is practiced by religion or portrayed by spiritualism. But true faith that trespasses consciousness and defines our existence. In this faith; I came to understand that strength resides in flexibility. How much one can bend without breaking.
I accepted my life as it was and not as I wanted it to be. I decided that being a victim doesn’t suit me and I was not going to play that role anymore. I shifted my focus from my disabilities to my abilities. I adapted to the circumstances and made the necessary adjustments and improvements. By doing this, I started to change my life from what it was, to what I wanted it to be
Even a person that cannot move at all can do and be, whatever they want to do and be. The power that is needed to make dreams become true dwells, not in the body, but in the heart, the soul, and the spirit
Every breath that we take is a blessing, for it gives us one more chance to make our dreams real. Every time we try to make a dream come true, brings about an opportunity for a miracle to happen.
All one need is a positive attitude and the willingness to believe. In other words; “FAITH”
Once I cried; “why me?” Now I thank God, every day for the chance that he has given me.
Kati van der Hoeven
About the Author:Kati Lepistö's career was cut short after an afflicted brain stem infarction in 1995. Kati was 20-years-old at that time, Kati lost the power of movement and the power of speech completely. With no chance of recovery, Kati struggled through depression till she accepted her situation. Now she is married and lives a meaningful life full of purpose. Together with her husband Henning, Kati writes blogs, makes vlogs, gives talks to encourage and empower others. Blogs can be found on: katilepisto.fi/en & The Huffington post (Henning van der Hoeven) Vlogs can be found on: YouTube-channel Henning van der Hoeven