From bestselling author Ben Mckelvey comes the inspiring story of stroke, heart attack, survival and remaking a broken body and mind. A book for those who bought Sarah Wilson's First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, Osher Gunsberg's Back, After the Break and Emma Carey's The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.
For the first twenty-six years and one hundred and seven days of his life, Ben McKelvey didn't spend much time thinking about change, nor about why humans act the way they do. He was young and fit and working as a journalist, interviewing Beyonce one day and Kirsten Dunst the next. Then one day, while at the gym, Ben had a stroke. Totally out of the blue. One moment, he had a head full of language, syntax and verbal dexterity and the next it was all gone. He was twenty-six years old. It was a terrifying time but after a week, he could speak again. Many months later, he could read and function.
There are many things that we don't understand about the brain, and neuroplasticity - the brain's capacity for physical change to accommodate new use - is one of those things: it seemed Ben's brain had fixed itself. Then, three years later, Ben had a heart attack. Emergency surgery followed, then more surgery, then more brain damage. As he recovered, Ben started to question everything about how he'd been living his life. Ben's brain changed itself and in the process Ben changed too, and that led him to being shot at in Los Angeles, embedded in Afghanistan and kidnapped in Syria. It also helped him find a new career, working with others to tell their stories.
Combining autobiography, reportage and science, Ben Mckelvey details his personal story, along with research about psychology and neuropathology. He shares stories about others who have dealt with illness or trauma and some of the most influential people who are moulding our understanding of ourselves.