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30 July 2009

On Being A Stroke Survivor

The good, the bad, and the downright silly things I have learned being a stroke survivor!

I am alive! I am approaching my 3 year anniversary and the odds of having another stoke within the first 5 years are high. I have had a few "silent strokes" or TIAs, otherwise, so far so good.

Finally I have numerous photos, proof positive, that I indeed have a brain. My brain has also been "mapped" and I learned of a congenital defect of a major artery, this is good news to have as previously this was not known.

My sons had to mature a tad bit faster then their peers. Some day their spouses will thank me.

I no longer take life for granted. I know first hand that everything can literally change in the blink of an eye.

Want to know how to throw a fabulous pity party? Ask me! I have given myself several.

Exercise is no longer about size, rather it is about reconnecting neural pathways and creating new pathways as well as keeping my blood flowing nicely. It is also a blessing because I am able to exercise. (I still do not like it)

Having a stroke entitled me to a pretty silver bracelet (in case I am found by paramedics) and a subscription to StrokeSmart a fabulous magazine that has proven invaluable. I have also received samples for adult diapers (thankfully I do not need) as well as adaptive equipment (again thankfully I do not need).

I am disabled, but not disabled enough. Yes, you read that correctly. I cannot drive, which means my husband now does the grocery shopping and errands (he does not see this as a positive). It also means I am home when my teen sons arrive home from school, sporting events, or evenings out with friends.

I do not drool or spill nearly as often as I did three years ago. I also do not drop items as often! My aphasia is also improving OR no one notices any longer when I refer to the "floor" as a "ball". Tough call there. I also received a card explaining that I am not drunk, rather suffer from aphasia. I need to find that card again.

Having a stroke really lets you know who your true friends in life are. A huge shout out to Deb, who has always been there for me, even when she most likely has wanted to scream, she has always been there during the good, the bad, and the silly!

My temper is a lot shorter then it used to be. I tend to become frustrated very easily (my husband asked if this was one of the downright hilarious things about having a stroke). A sense of humour is indeed needed by not only the stroke survivor but also by the caregivers.

I have three medicine bags, each a different shade of pink. Do not laugh (actually, go ahead, laughter is excellent medicine), it has helped me as well as my family. Some days the colour coding is more necessary than others.

I no longer care if people see me in my jammies or if I eat a third cupcake. Life is too short, live it to the fullest.


Jennifer-EightyMPHMom said...

Well sounds like your family is absolutely wonderful for you and your boys are responsible and mature. You are an amazing woman, and some days, I know, must be very frustrating. I am so happy to be your friend.

Maizie. said...

Thank you so much for writing this and SHARING this. I had a bad day today (kind of throwing myself a pity party) and this gave me some perspective and I thank you for that. It is so true-life is too short to worry about things like having three cupcakes. You have a motivating story so thanks again for sharing it.

Naomi said...

I am so sorry you had to go through this but also so impressed you are sharing your experience for others to learn from. Your attitude is amazing and inspiring.

Tami said...

Aww Jennifer, I know first hand how a stoke effects people and families. My grandmother had one, well several. LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST was her motto, she no longer cared if she sat in her "dressing gown" and a pair of knickers. She said if my knickers are showing make sure you cover me. She'd smile and give you a kick in the knee. (Her poof she could lift her leg) I;d beg her to kick me again. She'd smile and do it over again.

YOU rock it girl and eat 2 cupcakes for me too!

Lolli said...

I didn't know this about you. Thanks for sharing your experience and your perspective. It's a perspective that we can ALL learn from!

Sandy said...

This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am in awe of how far you have come. May it only continue to get better!

Leane said...

I didn't know that you had all this going on. I have admired your wit and sarcasm. I also love your zeal.
You are one of my FAV bloggers.

Chris said...

Well, this is my first visit to your blog so I don't know the details behind your stroke but your attitude is the bomb! I'm stickin' around a bit and reading more, for sure...Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

NateAndJakesMom said...

Way to put things into perspective my friend.
I am surely glad that I have gotten to know you - You are such a strong woman and I learn so much from you!

Jo said...

Well said - and good for you on the third cupcake ;0)

Tim said...

Amen sister, live it to the fullest! So glad you are coping well, you know that you are ALWAYS in our prayers.

Love and Prayers,


LiveLaughLoveCj said...

How did I miss this post? Knitty I adore you, with or without the strokes, you are vibrant and alive! You are smart, witty and sometimes down right silly!
Whatever road this all leads you on, I'm there for the ride too.
You can count on me to be there by your side (or as close as I can come)to being there with you.

I love who you are, not because of the stroke, as it does not define you, but because of the stroke, because you didn't LET IT define who you are.