A challenging week ends with an unexpected opportunity

It's been a tough week at Warrior Towers. I've been feeling the weight of constantly trying to maintain a positive outlook for myself and Mrs W at a time when every light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be an oncoming train.

This can happen quite often, of course. One of the major side-effects of having a knackered brain is dramatic mood-swings. In plenty of my fellow strokies, this can manifest itself in bursts of outright depression - if you inhabit the stroke-survivor websites and Facebook groups as much as I do, it becomes obvious when certain people are struggling with their mood.

Usually, I manage to pull myself upwards before the black mood reaches rock-bottom. My general view of life is that I'm lucky to still be here after being born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, diagnosed with epilepsy, then suffering a stroke and nearly being run over by a bus. Hell, there's five of the average cat's nine lives right there.

But this week, I was struggling. I can't be sure what caused it but by Sunday, I'd had enough. It was affecting my relationship with Mrs W, it was affecting my ability to do anything (a common issue with stroke-survivors) and I decided it was time to ask for help.

So I posted a few comments on social media which made it obvious what was going on. Within a matter of minutes, never mind hours, I discovered how many friends I have out there who have my back when I need support.

It's one of the cliches of being a stroke-survivor that you quickly find out who your true friends are. The others vanish into the distance, the real ones are always at your side when you need them.

I won't name names, these people know who they are, but within hours support plans had been drawn up, meetings had been arranged and busy people had obviously cleared their diaries to come to my aid. That will not be forgotten, I assure you.

And then, on Tuesday, things changed. Changed as quickly as a light being switched on in my world. I don't win things. I long ago gave up doing the National Lottery; My football accumulators never get past the first game; my life as a follower of horse-racing is summed up by the fact that the first bet I ever placed (actually, my nan placed it for me as I was only nine at the time), was on Crisp in the 1973 Grand National. If that means nothing to you, look it up; you'll find the name Red Rum mentioned somewhere......

Yet on Tuesday evening, while I was at college, my phone kept buzzing inexplicably. When I checked, I found that one of the above-mentioned true friends had been trying to contact me. She wanted to tell me that she had nominated me as being deserving of a free ticket for a business event this coming Friday; an event for which tickets cost over £200. And that I'd been chosen.

It warmed my heart on the coldest night of the year. It will be a challenge, given that Friday had long been designated on my calendar as a duvet day but if it delivers in the way I think it should, it will be worth it. It could change the way I look at life in a dramatic manner. I'll report back here next week.

It all goes to show that we can never have a preconceived view of life, because we never know what's around the corner. In which case, why be gloomy about it?