It was the day I didn't expect. The kind of day that happens to other people, not to me! But it did happen to me. Four months ago today, I had a stroke. Four months ago, life changed.
It seems like much longer. But it really has only been four months.
This morning I went to therapy. In fact, I'm really not sure what I will do with myself when I don't go to therapy any more! This morning, as we were working on reading and writing, we also talked about how far I have come in these four months.
If you didn't know what had happened to me and saw me out and about, you would have no idea what I have been through. I don't have the physical issues I had immediately following the stroke. I can walk as well as I did before, and I am regaining my strength. Most of the time, unless I'm really tired, I can carry on a perfectly normal conversation. Looking at me, or listening to me, would leave you completely unaware that anything has happened to me. It's remarkable, and I am so grateful for how God has brought me through this!
There are still issues. My therapist refers to them as things that need "fine tuning". I still struggle with numbers. Sometimes I get colors mixed up. And reading is the biggest struggle of all. My reading is improving, but it is much slower than it once was. I have to pick and choose what I try to read. For example, when I'm on Facebook or reading e-mail, I can only manage short sentences at a time. Interestingly, it's easier for me to read from my Bible than from any other book I have attempted. When I do try to read from a book, it needs to have large print and certain fonts work better than others.
All of this is part of the process. I'm learning what I can and can't do. What works well and what I find too overwhelming. I still don't answer the phone, for example. I don't write checks. I don't pay the bill when we go out to eat. I could pay the bill with my debit card, but I can't figure out the tip and I can't add the tip to the bill and come out with the correct total. Right now, anything with numbers is just not in my wheel house.
Yes, there are things I can't do. But there are so many more things I can do! I am doing so much better than I would ever have dreamed possible in those first few days in rehab. And certainly far more than I would have believed based on what I've been told about those first few days in ICU.
I still have struggles. And I struggle more when I'm tired. But I'm doing well and adjusting well to my new normal.
I am a very blessed, very grateful woman. I certainly never expected to have a stroke. And in the first few weeks after, I never expected I would recover so well. Stroke recover is a process, and I still have a long way to go, but I am so very grateful for all the ways God has blessed me through this process.
From now on I suppose I will always be thinking about life as "before stroke" and "after stroke". Here in the "after stroke", life is different, but life is good. Each day is a precious gift. Perhaps that's once of the greatest gifts of this experience - viewing each day as a gift, as part of a new lease on life.
I don't do all the things I once did. I need a lot of naps and I run out of energy pretty quickly. But life is good, and I am blessed!
"I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
(Psalm 34:1 NASB)