It’s been four and a half years since I woke up in an ICU room. Four and a half years since my last miscarriage and four and a half years since the world as I knew it changed forever. There are still days when the emotional weight is heavy or when the physical aspects hit me like a ton of bricks yet there are many ways in which nearly dying actually saved me. Here are some of the things I’ve learned and some of the ways in which I’ve been saved.
- “Familia es mas que sangre.” Family is more than blood.
Since my stroke this has become the motto of the Red Knight and I as we have been surrounded by people who love and support us unconditionally. Not just in huge sweeping gestures but in small and simple ways- like several Aunts arguing about which one can watch Patrice when the Red Knight and I want to have a date night. As time has gone on we are striving to return just an ounce of the love and kindness that has been returned to us though the debt we have incurred will take a lifetime to repay.
- I can feel better.
The last time I updated y’all on my health I told you that I was going to have to be on medication for the rest of my life, which still is the case, yet even with the medication I was still having issues. The absolute last thing that I wanted was to get on yet another medication. So I decided on my own to try out some diet changes, that while a little rough at first, have been absolute lifesavers. The number of headaches I have has decreased whilst my energy has increased. After feeling so bad for so long I cannot tell you what a relief this has been to both my husband and I. Now when I have a bad day it is much easier to pinpoint what it is exactly that is making me feel less than ideal. I might not ever get my old self back but I can still improve the quality of my life and the life of my family.
- Creativity breeds happiness.
Prior to my stroke I had decreased my creativity and increased my negative self talk. You know when you think you have a good idea and then you see what someone else has done and then you think, “Maybe not. . .”–there was a lot of that going on. Since my stroke though, creativity has become my go to when I can not make sense of my world. My projects do not always turn out like I imagined but it feels amazing to actively get my hands on something. Creativity is not about perfection, creativity is about expression.
- Don’t let stress take up long-term residence.
This is easier said than done, I know. My five-year stroke-aversary is in July and in nearly five years I have yet to master stress management. Here’s what I can tell you about stress though-stress will destroy you if you let it. Find a way to keep stress from becoming the house guest who doesn’t know when to leave. Some of my favorite stress relievers are a good book, writing, a cup of tea or when I’m able to, yoga. Whatever sweeps the stress away for you do more of it.
- Everyone is on a journey.
Each one of us is on a journey and our journeys all look different. Don’t compare where you are on your journey to where someone else is on their journey, comparison doesn’t build us up but rather tear us down.
Though my life looks much different than I ever imagined and though I would never sign up to have a stroke again, I would never trade the lessons I’ve listed here and countless others for anything. I wouldn’t trade the blessings of adoption, the gift of perspective, or the blessing of being able to share my story for all the money in the world.