Stroke of Faith: Polly Bennett’s Journey to Self-Healing

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By Judith Albright
Interview by Karen Richards

On New Year's Eve 2009 when Polly set her intentions for the coming year, little did she know they would forever change her life. Her intentions were to:
1) Meet new people
2) See new sights
3) Have new grand adventures
4) Be used as a tool to change someone's life

She could never have imagined that these could or would manifest in the way they ultimately did.

This is Polly's story:
It began on February 17, 2010, when she began suffering a three-and-a half-day migraine triggered by severe job stress. The headache finally cleared, but on Sunday, February 21, she was stricken at 4:30 a.m. with the worst headache she had ever experienced. Polly explained, "It came on quite suddenly and felt as if someone had stabbed me in the left temple with a knife. Fortunately the pain lasted only a minute or so, and at first I thought it was simply a continuation of the previous migraine. But then I realized that my right side was completely paralyzed and I was unable to speak. At the same time I was also experiencing an enjoyable sensation of 'fizzing away' like an antacid plunked in a glass of water. It was extremely peaceful and I didn't want it to end.

“It was at that point, lying on my back, that I heard a 'voice' tell me, 'You will be okay... turn onto your right side.' Not wanting the sensation to end, I ignored what I was 'hearing,' but the voice was persistent. Even though this made little sense, I pushed myself onto my right side and the 'fizzing' sensation gradually ended. I slept for about an hour, and when I awoke I could slowly move my right leg and arm, but without much control. When I tried to speak, many of the few words I could say came out wrong or garbled. Normally, I am a high-energy person who functions well on little sleep, and napping is quite untypical of me. Yet that day I took two long naps."

Seemingly back to normal, Polly went to work on Monday as usual, but needed to nap again at the end of the day. On Tuesday she met with her physician for her annual physical. After being pronounced the picture of perfect health, Polly related her unusual experience to her doctor who became highly alarmed and immediately made an appointment for her to see a neurologist. The neurologist ordered a series of brain scans that clearly revealed a large hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm. Polly was immediately admitted to the hospital. The next day she was transferred by ambulance to University Hospital in Denver where she was constantly monitored for three days.

When she was released, she promised her neurologist (the Chief of Neurology at University Hospital) that when she returned in six weeks for a follow up scan, he would find nothing. He assured her there would always be evidence of brain damage. His words were, "Polly, when blood hits brain tissue, it burns holes in it. You can't heal that." Six weeks later she returned for a follow-up exam. Her doctor looked through many of the 2,600 follow-up CT slides taken on April 19, but could find no evidence of any remaining damage. Nor did an extensive examination of the "tree" of blood vessels and arteries reveal any indication of an aneurysm or hemorrhage. These findings were further substantiated by the radiologist's report. Clearly something remarkable had occurred.

In the following interview with Karen Richards, Polly provides insight into her experience, and speaks about how it has changed her.

KR: During this whole episode, did you ever think that things might not turn out well and that you could die? PB: I didn’t at the time think that I could die. I thought it was probably a hemiplegic migraine and those types of migraines can mimic stroke symptoms. My daughter has migraines like that where she loses part of her peripheral vision and words come out jumbled.

KR: As your symptoms progressed were you ever concerned? PB: The left side of my brain was basically blown out so my analytical side wasn’t functioning. I felt intuitively that I could die, but didn’t think much about it because I felt so good. It was very peaceful. I felt one with the Universal Energy.

KR: What were your thoughts and mindset during the six weeks before your follow up appointment? PB: During the episode, my higher self or God had told me I would be alright [after] an hour [lying] on my right side. So, during the six weeks afterward I didn’t think anything about what had happened. Because of the message, I was completely confident I wasn’t going to die — that everything would be fine. I was then able to go through those six weeks like I was a complete [and] totally healed individual.

KR: How has your life changed as a result of this experience? PB: The one thing that I have noticed following the brain hemorrhage is that my intuition is really revved up. It is extremely sensitive and accurate. I haven’t totally adjusted to that, even though it has been a year since the event. I have also noticed a change in my emotions. I have always been an emotional person, but now I am more willing to acknowledge negative emotions. I have always been known as "perky Polly" and have come to recognize my counter side.

KR: What lessons have you learned? PB: This far after the event I am very aware that I should not have survived — almost no one does. My college roommate actually died from a brain hemorrhage that was very similar. I have no fear and I am totally grateful for the experience and the health that I enjoy. I am also thankful for the love of my friends and family and the support that I felt. I experienced the power of prayer. I actually felt the prayers when I was in University Hospital. At the time no one told me that prayers were being said, but I felt it.

KR: What, if anything, has shifted for you? PB: I now have a calm, comfortable understanding of death. I am not afraid of it — I was about a minute and a half from dying. Having come that close to death and experiencing how comfortable that process was, it was not a scary thing — just peaceful.

Polly advises others facing a serious health crisis to simply remember that what is real to the mind is also real to the body. Therefore it is vitally important to stay focused on perfect health and wholeness at all times, allow the process of healing, both physically and emotionally, and to remember that ultimately, all is well.

Judith Albright, MA, is a stress management specialist with a private practice in Fort Collins, CO. She is also the Chief Visionary for Limitless Living,, an online community where like-minded people who want to live a healthier, happier and more fulfilled life can connect with resources, ideas, and people who can help them achieve that.

Karen Richards is an intuitive/medium and had her first psychic experiences as a young child. She uses these spiritual gifts in readings to assist her clients on their journeys through life.