IT’S MY STROKE-AVERSARY ON SATURDAY!

PHOTO BY AIMAGE, INC: LISA SHEPARD

PHOTO BY AIMAGE, INC: LISA SHEPARD

9 YEARS AGO (ON THE 16TH), I HAD A MASSIVE BRAINSTEM STROKE – BIGGER THAN MY DOCTOR HAD EVER SEEN! A FELLOW STROKE SURVIVOR DESCRIBED A STROKE SO WELL W/THIS ANALOGY:
“… my world was 1 of those snow globes you get the airport and you shake it all up and the pieces go flying all around and eventually fall back into place they’re just not in the places they were before. “

I AM NOW 39 YRS. OLD, CONFINED 2 A W/C, BARELY MOVE, AM FINALLY LEARNING 2 SPEAK, MY LEFT SIDE IS PARALYZED, I HAVE DOUBLE VISION…NEED I GO ON? I NEVER DID DRUGS, SMOKED, DRANK ALCOHOL, ETC., & I EXERCISED: AEROBICS, BALLET & OTHER FORMS OF DANCE. BUT I NEVER FOUND OUT WHY I HAD A STROKE. THE BEST GUESSES ARE CUZ THE DOCTORS COULD TELL FROM BRAIN SCANS THAT THE ARTERIES IN MY BRAIN ARE SOMEWHAT SMALLER THAN AVERAGE (WHICH MAKES THE POSSIBILITY OF A STROKE MORE LIKELY), OR CUZ I HAD TRIED A NEW BIRTH CONTROL WEEKS EARLIER, OR CUZ I HIT MY HEAD A FEW DAYS EARLIER.

LIKE I SAID, I HAVE A VERY THIN ARTERY THAT MAY HAVE GOTTTEN BLOCKED, AND IF I’D EATEN MORE GREENS (I WASN’T A TERRIBLE EATER BEFORE MY STROKE, BUT I HAD MY FAIR SHARE OF EMPTY CALORIE FOODS, CANDY, & SODA, & REFUSED ANY BEANS & ALL FISH– IN FACT, ANYTHING GREEN & HEALTHY WAS NASTY! ), IT MAY HAVE HELPED THIN MY BLOOD. BUT I BELIEVE THAT BECUZ I EXERCISED & TOOK CARE OF MYSELF, IT MAY HAVE MADE THE STROKE OCCUR LATER IN MY LIFE (CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS 6 YEARS OLD HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO SUFFER A STROKE)! THE DOCTORS THOUGHT I WOULD ONLY BLINK THE REST OF MY LIFE, BUT I BELIEVE I’VE RECOVERED SO MUCH, CUZ I WAS HEALTHY!

BUT I COULD NO LONGER RAISE MY 3 KIDS, BE A PARENT GROUP COORDINATOR, BE A ROOM MOM OR TEAM MOM, OR TEACH MY 2ND GRADE CLASS, OR TEACH MY SCRAPBOOK CLASSES, OR TEACH THE CHURCH PRIMARY MUSIC TO THE KIDS THAT WERE 18 MONTHS-12 YEARS OLD. I HAD EVERY RIGHT 2 FEEL LIKE MY YOUTH & DREAMS WERE STOLEN FROM ME! BUT INSTEAD, I FEEL LIKE I WAS ABLE TO LIVE A VERY FULL LIFE AND HAVE THE ABILITY TO GIVE BIRTH TO 3 BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN BEFORE I COULD NO LONGER HAVE THAT CONTINUED BLESSING BECAUSE OF MY HEALTH. THIS MAY NOT HAVE HAPPENED IF I HAD TRIGGERED A STROKE AT A YOUNG AGE, OR HAD BEEN A SMOKER. MY COLLEGE DEGREE, WHICH I MAY NOT HAVE RECEIVED IF I HAD HAD MY STROKE WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, HAS ALSO ASSISTED ME IN WAYS I DIDN’T ANTICIPATE, EVEN NOW!

A CONVERSATION FROM THE MOVIE, THE GOODBYE GIRL GOES AS FOLLOWS:
Paula McFadden asks,” What is that slop you are putting into my dishes?”
Elliot Garfield answers “Granola, wheat germ, soya, lecithin, natural honey. My body is a temple, Miss McFadden, and I am worshiping it. It’s what gives me my energy, my vitality and my natural disposition.…May I fix you a bowl? “

IF YOU CHOOSE THE PROPER FOODS, I BELIEVE YOU WILL HAVE BETTER HEALTH THAN YOU WOULD IF YOU ATE FOODS THAT ARE NOT NUTRITIOUS. I NOW LOVE MY VEGETABLES & SOME FISH & ENJOY SOME BEANS! I AM NOW ON A BIG HEALTH KICK, & IF I DO EVER WALK, I THINK IT WILL BE CUZ OF MY HEALTHY LIFESTYLE NOW, & CUZ OF MY LOW WEIGHT.

YOUR LIFE IS DEFINATELY SHAKEN UP DIFFERENTLY WITH A STROKE & IS NOT HOW U SAW IT, BUT LIKE THE SNOWGLOBE, THINGS FALL BACK IN PLACE, & CAN STILL BE BEAUTIFUL! I SHARED MY NEW FAVORITE SONG, WHERE IT SHARES HOW OUR “TRIALS OF THIS LIFE, THE RAINS, THE STORM’S OF THIS LIFE,ARE YOUR (GOD’S) MERCIES IN DISGUISE.” I CAN SEE HOW THAT IS TRUE FOR ME, & IF I COULD GO BACK IN TIME, I WOULDN’T STOP MY STROKE FROM HAPPENING! I AM GRATEFUL 2 GOD 4 SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE, & ALLOWING ME 2 SUFFER, SO I COULD GROW FROM THIS EXPIERIENCE! AS A PARENT, I KNOW IT’S NOT EASY 2 LET A CHILD SUFFER, EVEN IF WE KNOW THE GOOD THAT WILL COME FROM THAT SUFFERING!

2 comments

  1. Thanks Jenny! This was such a great and inspirational post. I need to eat better =) Thank you for always being an inspiration! Love you!

  2. My sister, also called Jenny, suffered from a massive brain stem stroke 14 years ago. she is also now confined to a wheelchair and has re-learnt how to talk, but has no useful movement below her neck. She turns 37 this August, I’m going to show her your page, she may find some comfort in hearing of your ordeal against hers.

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