Herpes Simplex Encephalitis Lived Experience – Ross’ Story

Ross, from Australia, had encephalitis two years ago. The 63-year-old writes about his recovery and how his love of the ocean and surfing has helped his recovery.


“During the first six months of recovery my physical well-being was shot, and my mental state was crazy.

I slept a lot and I had no memory at all of the six weeks I spent in hospital, let alone prior to the episode.

My memory is still real patchy – past and present! But I don’t get depressed about it, I just laugh at myself.

I have been an avid photographer since I was 15 and have thousands of images on my computer. Every day I go through them and it help dramatically with my thoughts n memories!

In Australia, after a brain injury, they take your Driver’s License away for six months. But, luckily, where I live they have an amazing bike path so I made myself peddle a certain distance day after day until I neared my goal to reach the next town.

This was all about building my fitness to get back in the surf!

After three months, I started surfing again and it was like learning all over again. I had no stamina or balance.

Again, I never got depressed. I just set goals. I knew deep down inside I would get back to a standard that I would be happy with.

The desire and love of surfing was never going to leave me.

I have a good mate who loves doing surf photography and he would film nearly every surf I went in and I would study each and every shot and tell myself that in time the ‘flow’ will come back!

My fitness was improving rapidly and self-confidence was high. Many times I would surf by myself on a deserted part of the beach.

This allowed me to free my thoughts and never take for granted the second chance at life I was given. Surfing and the total respect of the ocean to me is so healing.


PS. I still get tired and have an afternoon sleep every day. But WOW being given a second chance. I will never take anything for granted #SurfForLife.


Learn more about recovery from encephalitis 

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Page Created: 11 December 2023
Last Modified: 15 July 2024
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