In the wake of her strokes, Mennel worked with the Stroke Foundation for a few years, before moving to Switzerlan­d in 2017 to be closer to her husband’s family in Austria in the wake of the tragic loss of his brother. Living in Switzerlan­d was great at first – but then COVID-19 came, along with the progressiv­e breakdown of Mennel’s marriage. “So I found myself about seven months ago alone in Switzerlan­d having to leave my home, leave my cats, and migrate back to Australia.”

Mennel returned to Melbourne to sell her house, before moving to Perth to prepare for her new life. “The great thing about having, I suppose, your life wiped out in some ways is you have all the options. So I decided that I’m going to take the next year to go and travel and see all the places that I want to see.”

Mennel hasn’t had any further stroke scares, but she did face cancer in the first half of 2022. Amid the stress of her marriage breaking down, she found a large lump on her neck. It was removed and turned out to be cancer. “They actually said I was lucky because had I left it any longer, it was just about to go into my blood and lymph nodes.”

Before her strokes and cancer, Mennel had faced around 18 months of intense stress. “There’s been a really big lesson in that. And to get the same lesson twice about stress and looking after myself and wellbeing and things like that, I really am grateful in one way to get the lesson, but very conscious now of how I create my life going forward.”

Mennel turned 50 last year and is loving how empowered and confident she feels, despite her recent challenges. “I get up every day, I go and get a coffee, and I literally dance along the foreshore. Because what else can you do when your life blows up? You can either fall in a heap and sure, that happens, or you can get up and embrace it and at some point enjoy your choices and enjoy your life and enjoy the moment. And I’m probably more in the moment now than I’ve ever been before.”

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