July 24 started out like any other ordinary yet crazily hectic day. Then, I had a hemorrhagic stroke. My life as it was, ended, but a new one began. I could have succumbed to depression, I could have listened to the doctors prognosis, and pretty much been a vegetable. But I fought, back from the edge of my cliff, and learned to talk again, learned how to walk again, and best of all, learned how to crochet (one handed this time) again. And with my small triumphs, decided to be an example, to teach others to try, fall down, get up, and try again.
It feels nice for me to be able to help others. There are different levels of recovery for everyone, some are quick, some are slower, and others yet go at a snails pace, recovery never being complete. The most important thing though, even after all these months, is to never, never give up. Never stop moving, never stop believing in yourself. Never. I always say, ‘ never say never’, in the context that when you say never, it will happen.
This however, can be taken as always, always believe in yourself, in your future. Life, though some days filled with dark clouds, is exactly that. It is LIFE. And where there is life there is always hope. It is hard to always keep your spirits up, never be mad at the injustice of it. Impossible to not wonder ‘why me’ and be disheartened. There are days I want to scream about the injustice of it, days I want to curl up in a ball and cry, days I want to give up… It’s hard. It is. If you are a caregiver, after all the days, that turned to weeks, to months, even years, as mine is, it is hard to understand the patient still being disabled. Their parts look fine, but those parts won’t work…yet. Always say YET. It is a very powerful word. It gives hope.
The mind, though the speech may be troubled, is sharp. I don’t mean the person is now brilliant, but they know, that they are 1/2 the person that they were, have to find new and ingenious albeit unique ways to do things, and that to you they may look…helpless at times. And it’s hard to deal with these thoughts of inadequacy. Hard to give up what you were, because now you are this ‘new’ person with different abilities.
The stroke person knows that you get impatient sometimes, having to wait for us with our stumbling steps, ‘it’s been months, come on now’, you feel like saying. It’s tiring for the caregiver to keep explaining to a person who asks ‘what’s wrong with them’. And they miss the person you were. It’s hard to handle all the frustration you feel for and about your stroke person. But a person is exactly what we are, and we know, but can’t click our fingers and make it go away, no matter how hard we try. It is a trial and tribulations for both, and in that we must understand each other. It’s all in the perspective we give ourselves…