Jelica, a mother of three who suffered a stroke shares her #BrainLifeGoals

Jelica Radovanovic, a mother of three who suffered a stroke in 2017, contacted us via our Facebook page to share her #BrainLifeGoals. This is her story.

Jelica with her son, the photo taken at hospital (private archive)

“My name is Jelica Radovanovic. I was born in 1977. I am a mother of three and my youngest daughter was born in 2014. I am retired now but I had worked as a chef. I was 40 when I suffered a stroke and it changed my life in many different ways.

At the end of April, a few days before I suffered a stroke, I was feeling very tired and I believed that it was only my job and all my duties and responsibilities regarding my children especially my 3-year-old daughter. However, on 2nd May while I was putting my daughter to bed, I felt a strong pain at the back of the head and in the eyes. I tried to stand up and I fell from the bed. I knew what was happening to me but I just could not do anything about it. I mumbled and I could not speak clearly. Luckily, my son was there and he called an ambulance. I remember that I was taken to VMA (the Military Medical Academy) but I cannot remember having CT taken. I remember the doctors telling me that I had had a stroke and I was going to be taken to St. Sava hospital. The staff of St. Sava hospital were so kind and caring that even though I still had difficulties in speaking and I could not stand up, I felt well protected because of the way they treated and looked after me.

Jelica with her new friend from hospital (private archive)

I worried most about my little girl. I was thinking about who was going to look after her while I was at hospital and how would they manage to organize themselves without me since organization was mostly my responsibility. This was my greatest motivation to get better soon. Besides, I met a few other patients while at hospital but I made a close friendship with an elderly lady who was my ’roommate’.

After all the researches were done and the therapy, my condition was gradually improving. My family was always by my side but I was still preoccupied for my daughter

Playing with her, hugging her, taking her into my arm… I missed so many things. Before a stroke happened to me, I had various life goals. I was always in a hurry. And when the stroke happened, everything became clearer. I realised that we should all be thankful that we can do some basic things like walking without anyone’s help and without pain, when we can understand and speak without any difficulties. My greatest goal from now on is the wellbeing of my children, looking after my youngest child, playing with her, making memories for her.

Luckily, I have recovered, I walk on my own, speak without any difficulties… And I have changed. I am doing my best to enjoy every single moment of every day. I promised to myself I will not be nervous for the sake of my children. The stroke has changed me. I am stronger now. My family’s love and support as well as the St. Sava hospital staff helped me a lot. Their love and support was crucial for my full recovery.

I am the lucky one who has restored the abilities I lost on 2nd May and my goal is to keep them and be thankful.

Take your time to enjoy small, simple things, the things we take for granted and do not appreciate until we lose them. I am the lucky one who has restored the abilities I lost on 2nd May and my goal is to keep them and be thankful.

Jelica with her youngest daughter

This story was submitted by the Serbian Stroke Association
Find out more about the #BrainLifeGoals campaign here