Celeste A. Williams Ed.D., founder of Life After Stroke Organization, a non-profit organization in the Bahamas, has turned the tables on the tragic unannounced stroke that almost took her life 14 years ago. Dr. Williams, a vivacious artist, jewelry designer, and educator, firmly believes that she has to make her years of recovery count. While she is not a medical doctor and does not offer medical advice, Dr. Williams is determined to touch lives for the better. Her way of doing this is, in her words, “two-fold.” First, in the formation of the Life After Stroke Organization (www.LifeAfterStroke.org), whose mandate is to make the public aware of strokes and provide information and resources to remove misconceptions and improve survivorship rates of those affected by strokes. Secondly, by empowering people through her newly released book, Loving Life, Embracing Your Healing Journey (Inspire Publishing – April 2022), to embrace life despite the changes
that have presented themselves.
In her highly charged, straight-talking book, Dr. Williams pulls back the curtains to let readers enter the private space of a stroke victim. She takes them on her walk from living a fast-paced, energized life to her debilitating, ill-fated trauma and through the highs and lows of her recovery process. Stroke Rehabilitation Specialist Mr. Lavaughn Neymour highly recommends Dr. Williams’ book, noting, “If you’ve ever wondered what having a stroke feels like or need inspiration to keep fighting through life’s twists and turns, then this book is a must-read.” Myra E. P. K. Mitchell calls it a “riveting yet sobering, captivating, and hopeful depiction of what it truly means to ‘Let Go and Let
“Many people are like I was,” Dr. Williams said, “they don’t know what a stroke is, the different types of strokes, and how to recover from them if you were ambushed by one as I was.” Explaining that there are crucial things survivors, their families, friends, and caregivers should know about their loved one’s way forward, Dr. Williams hopes the book and her organization will become a resource to receive guidance. “I feel that because I went through this health betrayal, I can share and perhaps even motivate stroke patients to stay the course despite the emotional rollercoaster you may feel you are on. Threaded through her nurturing tone and quick wit, Dr. Williams encourages readers not
to take their health for granted. She highlights the importance of being supported by family and friends when your emotions reach that tipping point and confusion tries to make its presence felt.
Even though friendships are appreciated, and prayers are essential, Dr. Williams addresses the need to protect your space from naysayers and negativity to stand and recover your health. Although many irreplaceable people were with her on her journey to recovery, Dr. Williams remembers her mother Esther Williams’ strong faith in God being the tower she leaned on. “Mummy’s faith, encouragement, and unyielding love kept me centered. It was contagious! Though she is no longer with us, I feel her cheering me on to help others walk through as she helped me.” The help, Dr. Williams noted, often came in the form of sticky post-it notes on the railing of her bed, on her pillow, and anywhere there was a free space to place them.
It also came when all you needed was a shoulder to cry on as your brain underwent its healing gymnastics causing uncontrollable bouts of
weeping—for no apparent reason.
“Despite the emotional bouts, the quotes, scriptures, and encouraging words became a part of my daily nourishment.”
Dr. Williams believes the information is critical before, during, and after experiencing a stroke and believes her foundation will play a pivotal part in assisting patients, their families, and caregivers. Loving Life, Embracing Your Healing Journey is now available in Nassau at Logos Bookstore, All Occasions Books & Gifts, Shell Craft on Robinson Road, and Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats.