Breaking through


Not all that glitters is gold. The fact is that you don’t need to be gold. Gold is just a symbol. And as a human being you are so much more than just a symbol.

The outer victories are the most celebrated, but we all know (or at least we all should know) that the greatest and most important victories come from the difficult battles fought deep inside ourselves.

It is fall 1994, Los Angeles, California. I was living the best time of my life, living my childhood dream of being a professional model. Only God knows from where I got the crazy idea to become a model. There I was on the other side of the world, in the city of angels meeting celebrities like they were ordinary people. Working for big international campaigns, music videos, doing fashion shows, you name it. Crazy hectic time but still so wonderful that I would not change it for anything else.

For Christmas 1994 I booked a job for big Finnish company, I didn’t even have to audition for it. They wanted me and nobody else. It was perfect timing because I could use this chance to spend Christmas and New Year in Finland with my family and friends.

It was about 8 o´clock on January the 10th.My mother and I were watching TV, and suddenly I started feeling weird, much like I was drunk. Mom took me immediately to the nearest health center, from there to the emergency room.  As we were sitting there waiting for some treatment hours passed.  And after 6 hours I was completely paralyzed. It seemed that when I was watching TV (for crying out loud) I got a stroke. And my life took a U-turn

After six-months of rehabilitation in Helsinki and diagnosed with Locked-In Syndrome (LIS) I winded up living with my parents much like a baby, completely paralyzed, completely depended on them. Not what I had had in mind for future. Depression sunk in. Difficult times were ahead but still I would not take any antidepressants. I thought that I would have to face the music sooner or later so it might as well be sooner and get it over.

I have reached total acceptance along the way. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when it happened. I probably just grew up into it. I managed to understand that these were the cards that have been dealt, and there was nothing else left for me just to make the best out of it.

Now 18 years later I just got married to a wonderful man (as unreal as it might sound!). It was a beautiful sunny and freezing winter ´s day full of glitters, from the snow and our eyes!

My name is Kati van der Hoeven (Lepistö). Physically I am locked in, but every single day my soul soars like no other.


Comments (2)

  1. daniel p siegel 12.10.2013 01:13

    nice to see you, friend to Irina.


  2. Reija Lummemäki 26.04.2014 19:05

    Satuin eilen iltalehteä lukiessani huomaamaan, että sinut oltiin palkittu nuorkauppakamarin toimesta. Paljon onnea siitä!
    Tämän kaiken lisäksi niin sanotusti “eksyin” blogiisi. Olin kuullut sinusta aikaisemmin, mutta eilen luin blogisi yhdeltä istumalta sekä kyyneleiltä ja maha kippurassa kikatukselta en voinut välttyä. Mieheni luuli jo minun tulleen hulluksi..
    Lainasin kirjasi samalla istumalta ja se tuossa hyllyssä odottaa lukijaansa.
    Olen itse liikuntavammainen 29-vuotias nainen, joka kamppailee myös tätä ns. normia vastaan. Minulla on myös terve aviomies ja yhteistä taivalta on jo 13-vuotta takana.
    Haluan päättää mitä itse teen elämälläni tai mitä vaatteita käytän. En myöskään pelkää toteuttaa unelmiani vaikka olen syntymästäni asti ollut liikuntavammainen.
    Löysin jotain itseäni blogistasi ja sain siitä taas potkua jatkaa valitsemallani tiellä.
    Olen siis nyt ollut avustamassa televisiossa ja haaveenani on ollutkin se koko elämäni. Nyt vasta lähes 30-vuotiaana uskallan lähteä toteuttamaan itseäni.
    En ole ikinä vammaani pelännyt tai hävennyt, mutta blogistasi sain itse voimaa tuoda omaa minääni enemmän esille ja jaksaa arjessa.
    Ihailen ja kunnioitan elämänasennettasi.
    Toivottavasti sinusta kuullaan vielä enemmän 🙂
    ps. Minullekaan avustaja ei ole mikään väline vaan kanssaihminen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


View all


    tiny 30 IMG_7013 image20 IMG_0003