Pity Party, Table for One

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”  – Ernest Hemmingway                                                                                 

It has been four years since the stroke. Notice that I don’t say “I had a stroke” or “my stroke”. The stroke is something that happened to me, it wasn’t given nor do I own it.  However, I own my recovery. I am in charge of rewiring and rerouting my brain so that I could have a full, thriving life post-stroke.

These past four years have been marked with many trials, errors, fears, and success. I have a deep appreciation of what I have overcome and of the support and love of people around me. I also know that I have a long road ahead of me in terms of recovery. Some people celebrate the day of their stroke as another birthday.  They celebrate a renewal of life. 

I do not celebrate what some call a “strokeaversary”. I cannot celebrate a day that negatively changed my life and that of my family forever. Celebrations, I believe, are for happy events and joyful memories.

These are the reasons I why don’t celebrate:

  1. The stroke was a very scary experience for my family. My children and my husband worried for days if I was going to wake up again. And if I did, would I even recognize them. Stroke traumatized my family.
  2. My relationship with my kids has changed. I went from being a full-time caregiver to someone who needed to be taken care of.  
  3. My husband has become my caregiver. Now that the boys do not need us as much, Armando and I should be enjoying ourselves. Instead, he constantly worries about me.
  4. I feel that the stroke was part of the reason for my mother’s untimely demise. She constantly worried about me and I definitely was not easy on her. I am sure the stress of caring for me contributed to her stroke.
  5. I lost my independence. I am still not driving, my family doesn’t think I am ready to be behind the wheel. To be honest, I don’t think that I trust myself with driving yet. My reaction time is still pretty slow and I easily get overwhelmed. As a result, I have to rely on others for rides. Uber or Lyft is great, but not always practical.
  6. I was a healthy, active, and confident 43-year old. I was at a point in my life where I was happy with myself. I worked hard to get there.  I thought I was doing everything “right”; eating healthy, staying active, and enjoying positive relationships. The stroke took away what I had worked hard to achieve.
  7. Running was more than a hobby, it was a passion. It was an activity that boosted my morale, my ego, and my endorphins. It was a good and healthy way for me to de-stress. Through running, I met the greatest friends I could ask for. 
  8. Everyone in my family was negatively affected. I am not the sister, aunt, daughter, and friend I used to be.  I cannot celebrate that.

I know that there are people whose lives were changed for the better after a stroke. They have become more self-aware, and have made strides towards a healthier and better version of themselves. 

My life was not perfect before the stroke, but I was at a place where I was content. There were stressors of course, but they were manageable. 

I am still angry. I am still grieving. I have lost more than physical abilities to stroke. There are days when I feel like I am fighting a never-ending battle.

Stroke tried to kill me, but only succeeded to break me. I am slowly rebuilding the broken pieces. I remain hopeful, resilient, and persistent.  Maybe someday I will celebrate a strokeaversary. 



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I am a 52 year old wife and mother. Armando, my husband of 27 years are enjoying our somewhat empty nest as our boys 25 and 22 are very independent and yet like to hang out with us. We are also in charge of Twinkie our lab and three cats: Jessie, Leo and Asher.

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