Rebecca Heads is determined to regain her spot in the Southland Storm basketball team despite being hardly able to walk six months ago.
The 22-year-old, who works in the dairy industry and trains racehorses part time, suddenly started having epileptic seizures in August.
Ms Heads said she was training a horse out in the paddock and felt something was not right.
Initially, she thought it was the horse, so she rode him into the stable and took off his gear.
‘‘I was just hanging the saddle up and I collapsed.’’
She started having seizures.
Someone called an ambulance and she spent three days in Southland Hospital before being airlifted to Dunedin Hospital.
About the time she should have been playing for the Southland Storm in the national D-League tournament in Auckland, she was lying in a hospital bed.
The doctors could not diagnose why she kept having seizures so she was taken for a lumbar puncture.
Unfortunately, while the needle was in her spine she had another seizure.
‘‘It gave my nerves bit of a hurry up.’’
When she was discharged from hospital, she could barely walk because of the damage done to her nerves.
‘‘I had to have walking sticks to get around.’’
The doctors concluded the seizures were stress-induced, Ms Heads said.
Although she was working full time, training her horses and playing basketball, she did not think she was stressed.
‘‘Possibly I overdid it.
‘‘They don’t really know what caused it, so that’s what they put it down to.’’
Next came months of rehabilitation.
‘‘It took about two months to learn to walk again.’’
Her family and friends were very supportive. It was not easy being bedridden, she said.
‘‘I’ve been independent for my whole life and then, all of a sudden, I couldn’t get dressed or get out of bed and had to rely on my family and friends to help me.’’
Her employer had a great returnto-work programme for her.
‘‘It’s been a slow increase in my hours and duties.’’
For a time it had looked like she might never play basketball or train horses again.
‘‘I’ve come a long way in a short time.’’
While she still had some back pain, headaches and was easily tired, she was now working full time, Ms Heads said.
‘‘I’ve definitely come off pretty lucky.’’
She had put measures in place to reduce her workload, which included not coaching netball this season and not training as many horses.
‘‘Since having the seizures, I have starting meditating and deleted all my social media accounts to try minimise my stress levels.’’
She had recently started training two of her horses.
It was ‘‘a relief’’ to have recovered this well so far.
‘‘I’m planning on playing basketball again.
‘‘At this stage I am hoping that I will make a full recovery.’’
The experience had made her realise often people took things like their health for granted, she said.