3 things about my stroke that make me happy…


photo by motherdedia.com.au

I had a stroke almost 8 years ago.  Can you believe it?

As I think back, I marvel with how far I have come.  Of course, I am not where I WANT to be!  That is normal…right?  When I look at pictures of me in the hospital, I think about all the people who visited me during that time and I am grateful to all of you who visited me during those tough times.

I said it best in my talk:

After the stroke…

You might think those first few days after the stroke were tough, but they were EASY compared to the next 3 weeks at Rehab.  I was completely dependent upon others for all my needs… but really…. all I wanted to do was just sleep.  But they don’t let you “just sleep” at Rehab.  Recovery is the total focus.  Goals, instruction, repetition and discipline. These were the elements I had to embrace if I ever wanted to get up and get out of my wheelchair, and if I ever wanted to speak again.  That was my Everest, that was my Olympic medal — to get up…and walk and talk and think and function like the person I had been only a few days before.

It was so hard. I was so tired, and my brain was so scrambled – I couldn’t make sense of anything.  In speech therapy, I couldn’t point to a red triangle or a green square because I couldn’t make sense of those words.

In Occupational Therapy, I watched the therapist move my arm but I felt no connection to it.  In physical therapy, I couldn’t move my right leg because my brain didn’t recognize those muscles anymore. My whole right side slumped and sagged, forgotten by my damaged brain like a virus that has been deleted from a computer.  Everything I did or tried to do required all my attention.

How am I now?

  • My right side is at 90%.  I still can’t write, but that is my next goal.
  • Golf is coming back…slowly
  • I am still TRYING to get back to work.  That is more difficult than I ever imagined!

But why am I happy???

  • I walk 10,000 steps per day;  I have peaked at 16,000 steps per day!
  • I love my wife…even after 25 years together
  • I wake up and thank God I am still alive …and I truly look forward to the day ahead of me

I can look at  how I am now….or I can look at why I am happy just to be here. I am choosing number #2: why I am happy just to be here.

Regarding #1: I will eventually get there; it just takes time. Who knows:   When I do this again in another 8 years, I may be cured!  I am banking on it!

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