When I was 47 I had the unfortunate experience of having a stroke that resulted in initial loss of my right side of my body and a discovery that I also have an inoperable brain aneurysm (well, they can but risks are very high) It was shocking – I was in the best shape of my life in terms of exercising and eating healthy but we tend to fool ourselves into believing if we are working towards healthy habits that we are safe but there are a lot of other factors that come into play but that is a blog unto itself.
I must have had a premonition because we were on a business/pleasure trip when it happened and before I left I had the most unsettled feeling. I was restless and driven to have my house spotless before we left. I even called my lawyer and said if anything happens to us, please watch over my children’s best interest – this was extremely out of character for me and one of the oddest of many behaviors. I organized all our books and accounts, I left extra information and phone numbers written out on my desk. It was all just weird. I didn’t feel foreboding at all, just a strong need to have things in order.
I was very fortunate to have regained the use of my right side as a result of my husband getting me to the hospital so fast and receiving immediate care and treatment but I never regained who I was before – medically carefree and oblivious to the dangers lurking in my veins and I’ve never forgotten the sense of helplessness I felt when I could no longer walk or talk coherently. It changed so many things in my life moving forward in terms of how I experienced familiar things and Christmas was definitely one of those things.
5 Things About Christmas That Changed After My Stroke
#1 It’s a milestone, another Christmas I’m here to enjoy with all my abilities and capacities
#2 Peeling and slicing and dicing no longer feels like a somewhat frenzied, less appealing but necessary task when I’m preparing meals. It’s a gratitude reminder that I have the ability to do it.
#3 I let people take pictures of me – I’m not a fan of having my picture taken but I don’t fuss as much as I use to.
4# Having my family together always mattered, but it matters more. I love looking around the table and seeing the people I love most gathered together.
#5 Even though I grew up going to church, for me, Christmas was really more about the general holiday than than any religion aspect and really, it still is but I was reminded how critical faith becomes when you are facing grave circumstance so I try not lose site of it’s real meaning and express gratitude for the miracles in this universe that seem to come from something bigger than ourselves because I know I had an Angel watching over me that day.