Rugby mum was close to death after stroke at 35

Life-changing incident Louisa with her husband Gary and sons Toby, 11 and Jack, 15
Life-changing incident Louisa with her husband Gary and sons Toby, 11 and Jack, 15

A woman who put her persistent headaches down to a stressful house move nearly died after suffering a stroke.

Louisa Wallace, who lives in Bilton, was just 35 when her loved ones were told to prepare for the worst.

The 41-year-old finance assistant at Brooke School in Rugby, said: “We were moving house and I kept getting headaches and put it down to tension.

“The pain persisted for three weeks and no painkiller was helping.”

She was referred to the neurology appointment after a number of visits to the doctor.

“I was driving the kids to training one weekend and saw two of every car.”

Louisa, who is married to Gary and has two sons, was treated at the eye clinic at Coventry’s University Hospital, where she was told her optic nerves were severely swollen and she needed a scan.

“The stabbing pain was so bad doctors thought I might have a brain tumour,” she said.

“I decided that I needed to get home and see my boys.”

Louisa, of Bilton Road, had suffered a ‘mini stroke’ and lost her speech two months after her scan. But a month later, matters would get even more serious. Her son found her collapsed on the floor and she was taken to hospital.

They missed the fact that there was a clot on first scan.

Louisa said: “My family was told there was a clot on my brain so big there was no room left in my head as the pressure was so high.”

They started treating Louisa with steroids, but an operation to remove the clot was deemed too dangerous.

Louisa added: “After being unaware of anything for three days, the day I woke up properly was the day my loved ones were all in tears.”

She had physiotherapy but was later diagnosed with a rare auto immune condition called Neuro-Behcet’s Disease – a condition which causes inflammation in small veins and vessels. Louisa said: “They believed that this is what caused the clot. On discharge I was told that life probably wouldn’t ever be totally the same, even though I had regained all use of my left side.

She said being so close to death has changed her outlook completely.

“I try not to worry about the little things any more, and I like to think I am a positive influence on people I meet. Life is too short, and I came so near to not watching my boys grow up or growing old with my husband and it has made me appreciate people and want to encourage and touch people like so many people have me.”

‘Boot camp training helped get my life back’

After piling on the pounds due to her course of steroids and lack of exercise after her stroke, she joined Airborne Fit in Rugby, run by Karl Fraser. She said: “He and his other bootcampers really took me under their wing and encouraged me. I have now lost more than two stone, dropped three dress sizes and come off the steroids.” Louisa recently completed the 10k Wolf Run as Stanford Hall. She added: “Karl and all the team at Airborne Fit have changed my life.” Telephone 07940 161249 or email for more information.