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  • Writer's pictureSusan Lee Woodward

Gratitude – My “Stroke of Luck”

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Almost 6 years ago I had a stroke in the amygdala of my brain. This is where unhealed trauma resides. I was 55. This left me with weakness on my entire right side, effecting my arm, leg, and right side of my face. I would choke on food, slur my speech, and infuriatingly and frustratingly, stumble on my words. I would have the word apple in my head. I could describe the colour, size, texture, the crunch etc. , but could not say apple. I fell often and developed a chronic habit of bruising myself. My mother died two weeks earlier from a “massive” stroke. This traumatic event brought to light revelations that I never would have predicted. Everything fell apart and everything fell into place.

I felt raw, exposed and vulnerable. This was a wake up call of monumental proportions. Everyone has their blind spots. Intuitives are not immune to the vagaries of life. I was sensitive to a fault and this was the time to pull back, take stock of my life, and examine why my body had betrayed me. I did not want to live my mother’s life – well, parts of my mother’s life. She did some pretty amazing shit and I applaud her courage.

As a Medical Intuitive, I do sessions with clients that get to the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical root causes of dis-ease in the body. They are many and varied, usually a combination. It is the brave soul that will listen to the body and take action to heal the wounded bits. One can only do that by listening to the intuitive voice and following its lead.

After much introspection and examination of where I was and where I wanted to go, I developed an intimate relationship with gratitude. Gratitude does not always come in the sunshine and lollipop wrapper that makes you smile and skip through a meadow. It can be down and dirty hard work that leaves you free to choose the next adventure, using your intuition, on your terms.


I booked a session with Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz (a board certified psychiatrist and Medical Intuitive) whom I had taken some training with. She described in detail the stroke in my brain. She also informed me (this is the cool part), that I had become MORE intuitive to compensate for the scar tissue formed in my amygdala. Isn’t that a kick? So, I am able to serve my clients better and learned a valuable lesson about taking action and responsibility in my life. To draw a parallel, when someone loses their eyesight, their hearing improves. Thank you universe and inner child of mine for guiding me through this ordeal and making me strong again.


I left my marriage. It was toxic, debilitating, and soul crushing. Empaths that lack boundaries, and diagnosed narcissists, fit together like hand in glove. It was time to get the fuck out of there. I remember looking in the mirror and saying to myself that I was dying inside. This became literal. I had to muster the courage to leave and start a new life. It was not easy but it was worth my sanity, my safety, and to finally admit that I was not loving myself. I had tolerated abuse. I even used the expression to friends that “…he would say #$%&^* and my head would explode.” Coincidence? Thank you universe for providing the intuitive guidance, the fortitude, and the courage to walk into the unknown and start over. I listened. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


I love my grandchildren to the moon and back and will teach them by example (what I do, not what I say). They reside in my heart. I have learned to create a small circle of trusted and loyal people that will respect my boundaries, honour my feelings, and love me when I need it the most. They are the rocks of my foundation. Creating this beautiful circle of love requires a diligent culling of those that don’t fit the criteria. Frenemies, narcissists, liars, and cheaters, all had to go. Be ruthless. It doesn’t matter if they are family, friendships of 20 years, co-workers, or anyone else that is wreaking havoc in your life. If their intentions are not honourable, if they never apologize, and never take responsibility, they need to go – period. Thank you universe, for providing me with the wisdom to discern wisely who are my supporters and who are emotional drains that make my body and my mind sick. I will send you love, but only from a safe distance.


Live with integrity and tell the truth. We MUST get honest – unrelentingly honest. It is the only way to heal the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical root causes of dis-ease. Think of a trail of bread crumbs in the forest leading the way out from whence you came. Follow it to the beginning of when your patterns of bahaviours began that were coping mechanisms of survival as a child but have morphed into adult behaviours that cause trouble in your life. As a child I was painfully shy, quiet, and agreed to ANYTHING. As an adult, this dysfunctional way of coping was a liability. Thank you universe for shining a light on this behaviour so I can get real about how I wish to be treated and what I will no longer tolerate from others that are less than kind towards me.


I take risks!!!!! Yippee. I have learned to not be afraid to try new things and venture out into the unknown. It’s okay for me to feel uncomfortable and still feel safe. I became single, I started a new business, I started writing, I play my flute (after 35 years of not doing that), I travel alone. I got my diving ticket, I dance like a fool, I stick my hand out and meet new people. Oh it is so exhilarating and fun to feel brave and not care about what others will think. It’s risky and it’s worth every breathtaking moment. When I opened up, it provided a window of hope and opportunity. I weep at beautiful music, I marvel at sunsets, and I can connect with other people and creatures, sending love and compassion while protecting my safe zone and pulling back when I need to. Empathy does not require experiencing others pain or misery, it simply requires holding space so others can feel validated, heard, and included. We all want to belong. It will be provided to you from others in that small circle of true friends and family that love you. I guarantee it.

To all those in the world that share their love, hope and kindness, I thank you. You collectively make my world brighter. For that, I am deeply grateful.

The truth is, my body had not betrayed me at all. It was providing a wake up call to my shadows, my blind spots and intuitive guidance, to make the necessary changes in my life. It was indeed a stroke of luck and for that I am grateful. Namaste.

I am a Medical Intuitive, Reiki Teacher/Practitioner, MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Meditation Facilitator and Laughter Yoga Facilitator. If you wish to know more about me and what I do please send me an email, or sign up for my blog subscription. Thanks for the read. I welcome your feedback.


Susan Lee Woodward

© Susan Lee Woodward - This article in its entirety is protected by Canadian and International copyright laws. Reproduction of this written content without written permission of the author is prohibited

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