Was it a stroke of luck?
November 1st is a very special day for me.
It is the beginning of the official count down for the “Holiday Season” –wonderful festivities full of good food, family, fun, merriment and time for reflection.
It's the official beginning of sweater weather and the annual “switching of the wardrobe” we say “see you next year” to shorts and bathing suits and feel like we went shopping when we find all the sweaters that we forgot we had!!
The past 4 years have been extra special, because on this day in 2014, I had a stroke. I am sure you have heard this story, so I will fast-forward through the summary – I had the stroke; I didn’t know; it took 5 days and a lot of doctors to figure it out; most people can’t believe I didn’t know; and I try to educate everyone that the third sign of having a stroke is that you lose part of all of your vision (most people are familiar with one side of the body being weak and/or confusion/not knowing the day or president).
The first couple of anniversaries, I spent the time leading up to the day worrying about whether I would have another or when will I have another. But this year feels different.
Reflecting back on the last 4 years, all that comes to mind are good things – a new home, a new life, new direction in work, new friends, old friends resurfacing, new family, new love, and so many days filled with smiles, love, happiness, gratitude and the feeling of being truly lucky.
Having a stroke gave me perspective – an opportunity to get a glimpse of what life could be like and a reality check that I do have a great life, a great job, a great everything! With that appreciation of life’s gifts, I have been able to shake off the wonder/worry about another stroke. If it happens, it happens, and in the meantime, I am going to soak up and enjoy every moment, and try to give back to the power that gave me these gifts. I could easily choose to focus on the negative in the world and personally. But that seems like a waste.
I have learned to sweat the small stuff less (I would love to say that I don’t sweat the small stuff at all, but let's be honest). And learned to appreciate what I have, not wish for what I don’t. I still strive and have ambition, but it's balanced with the recognition that I've a lot to be thankful for.
I am lucky, I have countless positive forces in my life and gifts that I receive. Almost every day, I notice that I am thinking to myself (or saying out loud), “I am so lucky that I have all of this” and then I can’t help but to smile. I was lucky, I had great medical care, support and therapy combined with stubbornness and my age/health and so I recovered. So much so, that people who meet me now, don’t know or don’t believe that I did have a stroke.
I do think it was a stroke of luck.