Tamara Schenk: My stroke and me

Tamara Schenk
This is how the young entrepreneur lives with the consequences of her stroke

© fran_kie / Adobe Stock

Tamara Schenk was always on the go as an entrepreneur and influencer. Until the day two years ago when she collapsed in a restaurant in South Africa.

When I woke up from the coma and was told I had one I had a stroke and couldn’t believe it at first. I didn’t even have a clear idea what that was. My grandmother had a stroke, but I was only 32! Nevertheless, I never asked myself the question “Why me?” No one who wins the lottery would ask themselves this question, but rather make plans straight away with the winnings. So I did it too. Of course I was sad and tired sometimes, but I never felt sorry for myself. The stroke is mine now, it’s mine and I’ve focused on what I need to do to get better.

I was very lucky. I had a so-called hemorrhagic stroke, in which a blood vessel ruptures. When my fork fell out of my hand in the restaurant and I lost my balance, my husband and friends took immediate action and took me straight to the hospital – that was my salvation. After four days in intensive care and a coma, I was transferred to the normal ward, but there I had a recurrence. I had to go into a coma again because my brain was so swollen. My left side felt like it was made of wood, like a prosthesis. As if I had been reassembled from two different halves. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t walk, I kept choking.

To this day I am not 100 percent in control of my senses. Although I train every day and am very strict, I still find it difficult to climb stairs, my arms are also shortened and my brain’s storage capacity is unfortunately not yet good enough. Sometimes I lose the thread in the middle of a conversation. But I don’t want to feel bad about it. “Hey guys, I’m going to forget things you tell me,” I always tell my friends.

Tamara Schenk: From now on, life is celebrated

Through the stroke, I found a much closer bond with my family and my own values. I am especially grateful to my mother. She was always with me, washed and fed me, held my hand when I was scared, and sometimes didn’t tell me what was really going on with me. That gave me a lot of strength. I never had the feeling that something bad was happening to me.

Afterwards she told me that she was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get back to my old self and that I would give up at some point. My strength surprised her. I can’t say exactly whether it has always been in me. I have always been a person who always tries to make the best of every situation.

I definitely got to know each other again. Further, faster, higher – that doesn’t exist for me anymore. The most important thing used to be my company. I went anywhere when it said there was a person who was important to your business. Always this “You have to do this, you have to do that”. Many appointments, always work. Today, when in doubt, I prefer to stay at home. Because I don’t have to do anything except be happy if possible. I am extremely calm within myself and listen to my inner self. I am kinder to myself and like myself as I am – even when things are worse for me. In addition, I feel a great, overarching love for the people around me; My relationships with my friends and my husband have become better and deeper.

That’s also why I’ve decided to celebrate the anniversary of my stroke from now on. I would like to invite my friends and celebrate life together with them. We all do that far too rarely. It sounds absurd, but I’m not unhappy about what happened.


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