Recently I was asked to speak at a local stroke support group. The basic topic is "what have I learned since my strokes?"
So many things. My presentation is in a week or so I’m still preparing my thoughts.
Tomorrow, January 10, 2012, will be the 7th anniversary of my first stroke. It was followed three days later with my massive stroke.
After my strokes, I remember thinking my life is over. I could not talk very well. My right arm didn’t seem connected to my brain. I didn’t know my name. I had to learn new terminology like Aphasia. Numbers and letters were foreign.
Simply put, when you’re on the top of your game professionally and personally and then your seven-year-old son had to help you to the bathroom because you’re scared, I just wanted to die.
I felt really sorry for myself. Several months later, my mom was dying of ovarian cancer. Despondent, I was wallowing in self pity. She was dying and I was all about me.
My mom grabbed me with her withered and weakened arm and said, "You can bitch about this and feel sorry for yourself. Or you can make a difference. You could use your story to educate people. You have a choice to make."
She died September 23, 2012.
I will never forget her blunt and sage advice.
So I tell my story to give people hope and educate. Every stroke is different. There’s always hope. Never give up. And be very grateful for your loved ones like my amazing wife and son!