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For my epic post to do for this commentathon, for my regular readers, this post is a part of a big commenting party, but I still hope you enjoy it. I really struggled with what to post about and what would be my topic. I decided to look at my life and think about what has been epic in my lifetime. I know I have mentioned my stroke before on my blog and I am not shy about discussing it. I feel like it is such a part of my life and who I am that it feels weird not to mention it or talk about it. It would be like not mentioning my daughter or husband on a regular basis. All these things make up who I am and are a part of me for better or worse. So I thought for this post I would share a little info about strokes because I don’t believe they are well known enough to the general public. I will briefly share my story, and then I have a list of the ten best things that came out of having a stroke and also the ten worst things.
Before February of 2010, my knowledge of stroke was zero. I knew it had something to do with your brain, and you could die, but that was basically it. After having one going to many doctors and therapy and reading about them I feel like I could almost be a doctor, so I’m going to try to keep this as short and to the point as I can. If you do have questions or want more information about strokes to feel free to contact me. Strokes are basically a brain attack. Your brain is cut off from oxygen which is critical. In the US it is the fourth leading cause of death and one of the top causes of adult disabilities. There are two types of strokes. Ischemic stroke is a blood clot that prevents oxygen from getting to the brain; this is the type I had. Hemorrhagic stroke is less common and is when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. This type is more deadly though less common.
Two million brain cells die each minute during a stroke, so it is really important to receive help quickly. Also if you get to a hospital within three hours, there is a drug they can give you which will help immediately and reduce the damage of the stroke. Unfortunately for me, I was sleeping when my stroke occurred so there is no way to know how long I was suffering before treatment. That is why my brain was so greatly damaged. The saving factor for me was that I was only 25 when it happened and your brain is still pretty resilient and flexible till your mid 20’s so I was able to recover more fully than someone even just a few years older would have been. I still have a lot of side effects and issues from the stroke but the fact that over ½ my brain died I am still a pretty functional 28 year old. My stroke destroyed mostly the right side of my brain and because your brain controls the opposite side of your body than it’s on. My left side of my body is affected. I will always be in a state of recovery and suffer from effects of having the stroke but the fact that I’m not dead and I retained my speech, the ability to walk and my memory I am doing well. To start things off I will list the hardships and negative side of my stroke first so that I can end on a positive note
10 THINGS I HAVE LOST/STRUGGLED WITH
- Walking struggles. I will permanently be forced to wear a brace on my left leg to be able to walk. It’s not real noticeable but is uncomfortable at times and my leg tires easily. Also I can only wear sneakers and I miss pretty shoes and sandals.
- I am left handed and with my left side affected I am not able to write. Thank goodness we live in a digital age. I do everything on my computer or phone but have to have someone else fill out paperwork.
- A lot of centers in my brain are damaged so my emotions are hard to regulate. I’m overly sensitive and emotional. I also have less impulse control and lash out easily.
- My body still wants to send signals to my brain but my brain can’t process them so it causes me to have seizures. I control them with medication but I still get pains from them at times, and there are side effects to all this medication.
- I have high anxiety and depression caused by the stroke. Also controlled to some degree with medication. The anxiety does prevent me from driving because I’m terrified of having a seizure or not being able to drive safely. So for now at least I don’t drive. It’s not worth the pain and anxiety.
- People will sometimes let you down. You might think you know who will support you in times of struggle and when they don’t, it hurts.
- I have lost a lot of self-confidence. I have and continue to struggle with feeling broken and damaged. I am getting closer to acceptance as time goes on, but I’m not there, yet.
- I have lost a lot of respect for family friends and even strangers. I have been criticized for my level of recovery, for how I’m handling things, etc.
- I struggle with fear of another stroke. I’ve been told it’s not likely and am monitored but the fear is there.
- Control over a lot of things in my life. I will never be completely removed from my stroke and as much as I recover and heal it will still affect me for the rest of my life. On that uplifting note, here is my list of what I’ve gained and the positive side.
10 THINGS I HAVE GAINED/LEARNED
- I have learned and discovered who people really are who I can trust and depend on. Trust me you really don’t know until they are put to the test.
- That my marriage can survive pretty much anything. These last few years have been hard but he never left and if this didn’t make him leave I’m pretty sure nothing will.
- That I’m a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for. I hit bottom and have survived it, which makes me pretty strong.
- I think my health crisis inspired a lot of people to take better care of their health, which is always an important thing.
- I became even more sensitive and compassionate towards other people’s health problems and disabilities.
- I have a better sense of what my priorities are, life is unpredictable and I don’t like to waste time on things I don’t truly care about because I realize more than ever how quickly it could end.
- I have always had a fear of hospitals and medical procedures and although I don’t like them any better I am now sure I can handle them if I have to.
- I am in therapy and have been for awhile. Having a strong support system in place to help me recover has made other life challenges easier because my mental and emotional health was already being cared for.
- I am more aware of my strengths and weaknesses more. Some related to the stroke, some not and am more willing to adjust my life according to what is best for me and to ask for help if necessary, which I was horrible at before.
- Due to the fact that I don’t know if working outside of the home will ever be possible for me, given my limitations and disability. This has led me to blogging and I really feel like this might have been where I was meant to be. I enjoy learning and being a part of the blogging world.
To learn the warning sign of stroke and what you should do please go here: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SYMP
I will write a post at some point about the day of my stroke and my hospital stay and recovery.
Have you known anyone who has had a stroke? Do you have any questions for me? What lessons have you learned in hard times?
Thank you for reading my post. I honestly did try to keep it short.