This month, I celebrate not only my stroke anniversary; but a new title and a new direction in life.
June 1995, was the month where my life changed forever. Overnight, I went from being a physically fit and totally healthy young mother and wife, to complete paralysis with less than one in a million odds to survive!
My only companions were my thoughts as I lay there on life support, unable to move, to breathe on my own, or communicate with the outside world. I hurt everywhere but I could move nowhere. I was trapped in my body, sealed in a glass coffin. I could think and I could blink. With determination and effort, assisted by an army of helpers, my journey of recovery began. I was eventually transferred from ICU to acute rehabilitation, and the hard work began with relearning to crawl, to walk, to swallow, to speak, to write, to eat, and to dress. In order to regain any function, a lot of very hard work lay ahead.
Once discharged from the inpatient program and I continued with ongoing physical therapy. I received the inspiration to keep going by my experience of helping people reclaim their lives, which in turn helped me in my own recovery. Over the years many avenues of media and print media have brought my story to inspire people. The publicity has allowed me to offer encouragement to thousands of people.
I decided to return to school to enhance my skills so that I would have more to offer to the public, including those with disabilities. Although school has not come easy to me I have applied myself with the same discipline and determination that it took for me to recover from impossible odds.
Despite feeling as though I have wanted to give up at times, I simply remembered the strength it took to regain any function during those dark, lonely, and uncertain days. One class, one semester, and one stroke at a time moved me closer to my goal of obtaining a Master’s in Social Work (MSW).
Once unable to breathe on my own, and needing every kind of assistance, I now desire to give back to others’ who are suffering, hurting, and in need of help. Let’s all reach out and help to make a difference in the life of another.