As I approach the 2 year mark since my stroke, I just can’t believe how far I’ve come! I also realize how much my life has changed from that fateful day of March 14, 2011. I survived a hemorrhagic stroke!
I know that I’m still a little traumatized from the stroke, because saying the date of March 14, 2011 makes me remember trying to answer the paramedics when they asked me the date. I could answer most of their questions, and I was surprised that they understood me! I could not say 2011, though! I tried and tried, but my brain wasn’t working too well. The funny thing about having a stroke, is you can still think, but to say anything is so hard! My speech was very garbled. I knew it was all wrong, but I couldn’t do anything about it! While I was in the emergency room, I remember thinking that I needed to talk slower, and then maybe I could be understood. It helped a little, I think. To this day, if I talk too fast, my speech gets garbled. I can catch myself pretty quickly, and correct it. If I’m tired or my blood pressure goes too low, I slur my words. The slurring speech is harder to correct, because that calls for enunciating! I don’t always catch myself slurring, or can’t change it, so in those cases I just quit talking and rest as soon as I can.
Most people didn’t see me in the beginning, and we didn’t really take pictures. I’m glad for that. Being paralyzed on one side is a helpless position to be in, but I always knew it would be temporary! I improved so quickly! Every day was exciting, because I couldn’t wait to be able to do new things! It was so fun when the therapists would come in my room, because I knew I’d do something that I hadn’t been able to do before. I looked forward to all of the different therapists that visited. I even had an occupational therapist that was almost blind! She was amazing!
I have great memories of being in the hospital! That seems like a strange thing for me to say, since I had a hemorrhagic stroke and was paralyzed on my right side (and I’m right-handed). But it’s true! I think I was so lucky in so many ways! I had no pain. Everything I’ve read about hemorrhagic strokes says I should have had a raging headache, at least! Nope, not me! So I know that my recovery was maybe a little easier, because I was happy and upbeat every day, just like I always was before the stroke. I remember nurses asking my husband and family if I was always this happy! The answer was always, “YES”! And I would laugh!
That’s not to say that therapy was easy, or getting back the right side was easy, because it wasn’t! It was a lot of hard work, that was pretty continuous throughout each day! I was so determined, though! When you think about the brain having to make new pathways in order to move the body, you realize that you have this chance to get it right, and the sooner the better! The brain is so complicated! I’m glad that I never had any doctor, nurse, or therapist tell me that I was not going to get everything back 100%. They all said that I had the greatest potential to get to 100%! I’m still working on getting there! I won’t stop trying!
Life is different now. I can do most things, but not for a long period of time. My house is not as clean as it used to be, and I’m okay with that! I look at chores as therapy. I have to do them, but only until it gets frustrating, and then I stop. I don’t sweat the small stuff! My life is in perspective. I know what is important, and what isn’t important.
Bryan and I want to start a foundation to help other stroke survivors, and we have a plan. Money is an issue for that, but in time I know it will happen. We both have a great desire to help others! I have so much to do in this life, but all in time, and that’s part of the plan. I’ll let you know when we start our foundation.
I’m going to walk in a 5k walk to benefit stroke survivors in our county. We put together “team Jan”, and anyone is welcome to join my team. It’s $20 to join, and you get a shirt. Let me know if you’re interested.
I wake up thankful every day! I go to sleep thankful every night! I live my life every day in a thankful way, and I truly appreciate my family and friends. Everyone had a part in my recovery. I couldn’t have done it without the support, good thoughts, and prayers from everyone. Bryan made the biggest difference, being there 24/7. He’s an amazing husband! He has done all of the therapy with me, always with a smile! My kids have been amazing, too! They don’t let me get away with trying to be lazy or tired! Haha! I have to thank them for that! Thank you all for these last 2 years of your patience and love for me! I wouldn’t be where I am without all of my family and friends! My life is awesome!