Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Depression, strokes and seizures

Just over two years ago, I had two strokes.  Now, I had a seizure about two weeks ago.  Those brain incidents have caused me to reassess my life in so many ways.

I never thought about my mortality. I knew of course that I would die someday, but the concept of my demise was so foreign to me. I thought I would be much older. I thought I would be healthy throughout my life with some life-ending issues at the end of my life. 

I assumed I would have great health for a long time and enjoy my retirement with a full life of travel and hobbies like woodworking and writing. My wife and I would drive cross country in a motor home. We would travel to Europe. We would enjoy our son who was a gift when he was born when we were in our early forties. I had so many dreams about helping him with homework, exploring the possibilities of life, coaching his teams, and telling all that I have learned in my life.

But now, reality is setting in. Certainly, I am “getting better.” Everyone including my doctors says I am a miracle.  However, “getting better” depends on your perspective.

I know that I am down. I know the new anti-seizure medication I have to take for life will work. Soon. I know that the medications have side effects including depression and mood swings.   I am a very intelligent guy despite my strokes and now seizures.

But, this is just so hard. Every day is a struggle.

My hobbies are gone because I cannot read well now. I cannot use power tools ever. I cannot drive for three months because of the seizure (if ever), and the prospect of our family driving cross country is a distant dream. I was a wonderful writer, however, because of aphasia this blog post is almost impossible to compete. Last night, my wife helped our son to get ready for a social studies test. I cannot help him at all because I cannot read aloud; I cannot speak well, etc.  I feel useless.

I am on so many boards because I have knowledge and I want to make a difference. However, I often think I cannot do the work like I want. I have now realized that I was taking everything for granted…my intellect, my insight, intuition, and instincts. Now, I second guess myself every day wondering why I try to persevere and fight.

Of course, I cannot give up. I have realized that I have a depth of tenacity that surprises me every day.

But, it is still hard when you wake up and realize that every day will be a struggle to do even mundane things. Doctors need to be a reality check and they are good for that. They are great to list my limitations. I know also what I have lost, and I know I should be incredibly grateful.

Everyone including me knows “it could have been so much worse.”

But, I miss the life I expected and hope for. 

I do know that it could be worse. So many people have more issues than me, and I should not complain. But it is hard.     

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