Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day~ The Happy/Unfappy Anniversary

Memorial Day will never be the same for me ever again.

Yes, it's that time of year we remember all our fallen comrades (especially family members), but for me, it's a happy/unhappy anniversary as well.

Two years ago, I had a stroke. It is a day to remember in infamy. My life was changed forever.

Two years ago today, I was lying on a hospital bed. No one had uttered the word stroke or CVA to me. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind the thought was that maybe I'd had a TIA, but no way did I have a stroke. It would be another two more days before an MRI proved it, but still nobody said the word. This irritated me a bit because I had no "official" word just me trying to think with my nurse's brain what was going on.

Yeah, I had difficulty moving my arm with purpose and a leg that felt heavy, but still I was thinking TIA. It would all come back eventually. After all, my blood pressure wasn't that high. I had run blood pressures much higher in the past. I didn't have the headache that so many people do. My blood sugar was stable again. I'd be right as rain in a day or so, or so I thought because nobody was telling me any different.

That wasn't the case. On night three, I was in pain. I couldn't get comfortable, my head
hurt, my vision was blurred, I couldn't speak, and I couldn't move anything on my right side. The MRI the next day showed the stroke. A small bleed which closed itself. Just enough blood to kill the damaged neurons from the clot and take some more ability away.

Why did I have to wait for a MRI? Because it was Memorial Day holiday. The MRI tech had a long weekend.

Yeah, I'd had a stroke big time. There was no doubt in anybody's mind even mine, but still nobody said the word at least to me. I knew I wouldn't be going home anytime soon. It was early evening before the neurologist said the word and she asked me where I wanted to go for in patient rehab on day four!

I told my family using one handed hand signals "goodbye" and "I'd see them soon." I was whisked off to In patient rehab the next day to learn how to walk, swallow, talk, and basically care for myself with half a functioning body. I was trying to be strong for them even though I was terrified and full of doubt.

After two years, the doubt of fully recovering what I lost is still on the back burner of my mind. But I weigh heavily on my mantra which carried me through four cancers and assorted hairy situations: 'I'm too mean to die. I'm too stubborn to give up. And lastly but more importantly, I'm in God's hands.'

That pretty much covers all the bases. I remain hopeful and positive. No matter if that little devil on my shoulder occasionally pricks me with his pitchfork. Negativity breeds discontent, pain, anger and a whole lot of self filling prophecy which is bad. Yes, I do have moments of weakness too. Where doubts, fears, cry, get angry, and negative feelings creep in. I am only human after all.

I just refuse to stay there. Every new day is open to new possibilities to achieve a semblance of normalcy. With each new day, brings hope and thankfulness that it wasn't worse. Each new day is fresh and waiting to be experienced. Yes, it might not always be pleasant, but soon it will be tomorrow and the past. Only to be remembered on a memorial day and being thankful for the pain that is past with a sense of gratitude. With a reminder, each day is meant to be thankful for the sacrifices of yourself and others that brought this dawn.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. {{{{{hugs}}}} for this Memorial Day and it's legacy. Hang in there, Jo.

  2. You are a fighter, for many things... you are stronger. May the good shine, bad leave far behind.

  3. God understands when we get angry and frustrated, and he's with us when we do.
    Just keep fighting.

  4. Hi Jo - it's not easy .. and I feel for you .. with thoughts and as you say nothing is impossible with determination ..

    Cheers Hilary

  5. You included my mantra too: "I refuse to stay there."
    I try hard to honest and authentic, but as soon as I touch the pain, I have to stop and go somewhere hopeful in my heart.


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