Gratitude and Appreciation

my journey into being thankful for what i have

What? She had a stroke??

on February 28, 2013

Five years ago today, I had a stroke.   I had only been married for a year and a half, and had just turned 27 – I was way too young for something like that!  As I look back and reflect on the past five years, and all the blessings God has given me since then, there is a lot that I’m grateful for.  Here’s a shortened list (in no particular order) so you can see a few of the things that I appreciate in looking back…

1. My wonderful husband, who stuck by my side while I was in the hospital, while I couldn’t remember anything about who I was or who he was, and in the weeks and months (maybe years, ha ha!) after that when I had millions of questions about what happened during the two weeks that I still don’t remember.  He has truly been the biggest blessing to me, and I am so thankful for him!

2.  No lasting impact on my health.  Because the stroke was caused by birth control, I can’t use any hormonal birth control now – but that’s the only thing that’s changed.  I was on blood thinners for three months after being released from the hospital, and that was it.  I did have to meet with a hematologist when I was pregnant with our little guy, and after running umpteen bazillion tests, they couldn’t find any indication whatsoever of a clotting disorder, and said that I didn’t need to worry about being on blood thinners while pregnant.  That was a huge answer to prayer!

3.  My typing speed.  Those of you who know me very well, know that I can really type fast.  One of my biggest frustrations after the stroke was how slow I typed (I think I was typing in the 50-something wpm range).  It took me awhile to get back up to speed, but I’m back to my normal 90-something wpm now, and that’s so great!  =-)

4.  My speech.  I had to go through three sessions of speech therapy after I went home, and absolutely HATED that.  I knew exactly what I was talking about, and could explain it so everyone else knew what I meant, but had a very hard time coming up with the exact word I was looking for… so the doctors made me go to speech therapy.  I still maintain that no one uses llama in their normal, everyday conversations (at least not in this country), but it only took me three sessions to get back to “normal”.  Okay, maybe I still struggle to find the word(s) I want, but don’t we all?  I really had to give myself permission to not be perfect all the time – it’s okay if you don’t know the word you’re thinking of, people do that in normal life too.

5.  My memory.  Like I mentioned above, there are still two weeks that are completely gone from my memory.  I don’t know if I can say that they were erased, it’s more like my mind never held onto that time to begin with.  From what I’ve been told, it’s probably best that I don’t remember it – and as the years have passed, I care less and less about remembering.  They’re just my “missing weeks”.  That’s okay.

6.  Amazing doctors.  My stroke neurologist was fantastic, and so were many of the other doctors that I saw.  We live in one of the best places to be if something like this happens – praise the Lord for the care I received!

7.  Being stubborn.  I believe that this is one time in my life that my stubbornness served me well.  I was determined to walk (without a walker!), to be able to write (and eat!) with my right hand, to drive a car (that was actually a huge one for me), to have conversations, and to be “normal” again.  I’m pretty sure that if I wasn’t as stubborn as I am, recovery would have been a whole lot harder for me to go through.  My stubborn streak was definitely a blessing in this time!

8.  Family and friends.  So many people came around us, lifted us up in prayer, sent notes/cards/emails, loved on my family, and encouraged Ryan.  We were very blessed on multiple levels by all the people who cared so much – and I am still grateful for all that everyone did.

There are many, many more things that I am thankful for in the experience, but those are the big ones coming to mind right now.  I have been blessed – really and truly.  I don’t know why God brought me through after the stroke, but I do believe that He has a purpose for me and for my life.  Why else would I be here right now, if not to be able to point people to Him?

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