Posts Tagged ‘stroke’

Happy Anniversary?

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This October 12th will be the two year “anniversary” of the day I had a massive stroke and nearly died.
While I thought that my favorite holiday, Halloween would be ruined forever, it has been quite the contrary.
Through the darkness of a nightmare rays of light have still been able to penetrate through the clouds.
While it has been very unpleasant at times, I find myself getting an education most will never be privy to receive.

I have lived the cliche’ of fair weather friends, and believe me that is absolutely true!
I have been part of a population that goes overlooked and gets forgotten.
However under this much detested label “handicapped,” I have seen more kindness and support from strangers then I ever did when I was “normal.”

Now, to address labels, I am not handicapped and neither are any of the people I see in rehab waiting rooms with missing limbs, in a wheelchair, or mentally retarded.
Are these handicaps?
I don’t believe so because it’s clear that these are also just people unfairly drowned by the seas of fate.
In order to fast forward you as well on some life lessons,I’m going to share with you what I have learned.Luckily you won’t need any serious hospitalization to get it.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” -Proverbs
That statement rings very true. Because before any real signs of hope I was dying all over again.
Just when I nearly lost faith in humanity, it has been revived.
With every stranger( door angels) that open the door for me.
When yet another kind soul donates to a fundraiser held for me.
You see, in order for these “handicapped” people to get better they need real hope not more medical interventions or medications.
In my case that has rung absolutely true.
Until I was given real hope I was on a decline.
However that first testimony of miraculous healing and its existence lit a fire in me.
Once I was finally told something in the positive, it put a crack in the mirror that held a distorted reflection.
For too long I was exposed to the negativity or the “facts” about what happened to me.
The reason I use quotations around facts is because they no longer apply to me.
I don’t accept the reports from these negative viewpoints at all.
Mostly because I have seen and experienced the power of real hope.
When we as people reach out to eachother, things only improve.
The girl that was once discouraged by the results of a neuropsychology test now wants to endure those hours(6)  all  over again, am I crazy!?
Not at all it’s because I have hope, determination,and positive support, because of that I’ll get much better results.
Many might claim I’m being delusional, but I beg to differ.
Success doesn’t happen when you give up or take heed of the negative reports.
I’ve also learned that it’s not selfish to focus on yourself.
When something is important, where your focus is, is the direction you’ll go.
The reason I know that lesson is because they actually taught that in motorcycle classes too!
If your looking at a car while driving a motorcycle the odds are you’ll veer into it.
The same goes for your mind, the mind follows where the heart is.
“As a man thinks in his heart so he shall be.” -Proverbs.
I realized that if I thought too much about what others were doing it only bred jealousy and I cheated myself.
These days I could care less what other people do, and it didn’t take me years to glean that.
What it took was the setting of an insurmountable goal.
A goal that seemed so far off or impossible that I could detect the disbelief in others.
I had to politely ignore and counter the naysayers whether it was mentally or verbally.
I have resolved to not let anything steal my hope.
When I’m faced with a difficult question I always answer with what I hope( it  will be.
This solves the problem of having hope slip away.
If you can’t continually be in the presence of a motivational speaker, don’t worry.
Just resolve in yourself to  take the lead of a broken record and repeat.
It is not false hope or silly to be adamant in telling yourself what others believe to be impossible.
By playing your own broken record, that vinyl will begin to penetrate your heart.
As I illustrated earlier, where the heart goes the mind/body follows.
That is why it’s important to keep the thoughts in your mind positive as well as in your heart.
Furthermore, just as if driving a motorcycle you don’t want to get flattened by a car.
Noone wants to watch a life or opportunities pass them by.
We should all be able to partake of such things as a fulfilling life and opportunities.
While it’s different for each of us, personally I’ve found I just need to get angry to kick a bad mindset.
I finally became angry enough that I wasn’t going to accept not living a fulfilling life.
I’d like to pose a question to you, dear reader.
Would you ever wake up early with nowhere to go and noone to see, yet put on a nice shirt, earrings, shoes, and makeup?
Most people would not because they’d find no good reason to do that.
Although, there is one that absolutely would, my 95 year old Grandmother.
She had none to see, nowhere to go but the confines of a little apartment  and She didn’t have a “real reason.”

This is a lesson, I have seen smart women display.
Afterall if you give into sweatpants and a dirty shirt, eventually you become that way inside as well.
Even though noone may see you, you see yourself whether you like it or not.
I have spent the last year in sweatpants(i.e stretchy pants)because they were easy to get on when I was limited physically, better during physical therapy, etcetera.
Except, do you know what? I’m tired of wearing that with velcro shoes and a hoodie.
Not even my 95 year old Grandmother(Grandma Cookie) would be caught in that junk, it’s time to put on a dress!

**Cheers!** (Bleu)

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Parents just don’t understand

As the young Will Smith sang“Parents just don’t understand.”
While 16 year old me agreed with that, I actually felt that way not too long ago.
When I  was first taken to my parents home for recovery I was highly agitated about it.
I even accused them of kidnapping me!
However, after one day when I was particularly mean to my Mum(i.e taking it out on Her) I began to think that maybe it’s ME that doesn’t understand…
After all they want the same thing I do, which is ultimately to get my life back.
As teens we all despised our own parents at one point or another and I found myself feeling that way again.
Although at the time I failed to take into account that they’re just people too.
We all were struggling with how to deal in the midst of this tragedy(see here.)
After I thought about it more and reminded myself that we were all working towards the same goal, it helped lessen the frustrations.
Because, you know they’re just humans too.
In fact they were a pair of rock n’ roll kids who basically ran away from home together at the age of 18 or so.
See the awesome “professional picture” of them below from the 1980’s which is my favorite. Many a visitor to my NewYork apartment marveled at it.

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When it comes down to it between these two humans, I think they did a pretty good job in raising me. They truly love my sometimes crazy self.
In sum, who I am today has in a large part been due to my parents.
Whether it be due to age or trials and tribulations, I’m proud of who I am.
They helped me when I needed it, and even when I accuse them of kidnapping they still love me and your parents do too, so try and cut them a break once in awhile.

Rock on and cheers!

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Make a list of donts

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 “If your always wishing you were somewhere else, you’ll miss most of your life.” -unknown.

All of us at one time or another focus on what we don’t have.
However, when you flip the switch and focus on what you DO have that list of don’ts, suddenly becomes much more positive.
Lately I have decided to make a list of don’ts in order to feel better.
For example:
While I may have had a devastating stroke, I don’t have many of the problems associated with one, thus I made a list of what I don’t have.
This is like many positivity exercises, although I’m no new age guru.
While I did previously subscribe to some of it, I no longer do.
Instead of believing in only myself, I do indeed believe in a higher being.
Part of that is still very much positivity,health, and wealth.
While your list may be different than mine, I think you too will find your list puts a spin for the better on an otherwise negative view.
Furthermore by taking note of what you don’t have rather than be saddened by it, you’ll probably be more grateful.

While wallowing in your own problems it’s easy to get swallowed by them.
There are times I’m sure when you’d rather be someone else.
Little do you know there is someone who would wish to be you!

I went on for months wishing I was anyone but me.
Except one day I met a woman bound to a wheelchair, that really wished to be me.Little did I know the blessings I had because I was too busy looking much farther than my nose.
When your studying for a test if your overly concerned with the final grade, you won’t do well in studying for it.
I was so worried about where I would end up I forgot to look where I was at that moment.
The best advice my parents received while I was in an ICU dying was this: “Don’t look any farther than right here.[ taps nose]

To summarize, if you look too far in the future or too far in the past, those thoughts will eat you alive.
Life, for me at least truly is day by day.
After all, we aren’t promised a tomorrow.
The best you can do is take advantage of your here and now.
I am still learning as are all of us, but at least I can share my wisdom in hopes you will avoid your own troubles.

Cheers my fellow friends and travelers! I bid you well on this journey,

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Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

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“You used to be much more…”muchier.” You’ve lost your muchness.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

Much like Alice we are all on a journey to find our muchness.

I have found that my own personal journey has very much reflected the story of Alice in Wonderland.

Over the past year and a half I have met character after character.
The jabberwocky for me was the recovery and overcoming of  the massive stroke.
Many times I have been at a crossroads of confusion.
It was as if the Cheshire Cat was pointing me in all sorts of directions.

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However, I couldn’t always listen to him but follow my own feet as best I could.

The evil queen of hearts for me though, resided in a large hospital castle.

She sent her army of doctors after me,while I ran thru a garden maze looking for the exit.

Luckily, I have found the tiny door to a room that leads out though.
When I finally return from the depths of the rabbit hole I have plans.
Like Alice,I too have large dreams and new frontiers to set sail for.
Alice keeps getting questioned who she is in the film repeatedly.
Until, finally the mad hatter recognizes her after she regains her”muchness.
I also was questioned repeatedly on who I was.
In test after test I determined to show therapists “I’m still here,  I’m okay!”
After months of outpatient therapy, I began to feel mad.
However as in the film:
“The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter’s temperature]
I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

**Cheers!**

bleu

 

 

Everyday is Like Ebay.

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“There’s alot of nice people in the world, be one of them.” – unknown

Just as a fortune cookie is  unpredictable  so is the world of online  bidding.

In a more recent interaction I saw  the glaring differences in the interactions you can have.

Interaction A) via stateside…

A girl takes a screenshot of my auction and posts it on her Facebook because I unknowingly used her picture.

Many messages of harassment and nastiness ensue from her and her friends.

It ends in me contacting ebay over the harassment and eventually pulling the auction.

Interaction B) via our neighbors from across “the pond.”

A girl simply retracts her bid after I ask her  to because shipping is too costly as I guessed it would be.

It ends in a resolution for both parties  and myself feeling like just shipping her the item for free 

Did I? Unfortunately I couldn’t because there was another bidder, otherwise I would have loved to.

The  gap  between these two interactions is wide.

One exchange left me feeling like giving out hugs, the other slugs.

The  reason is simple, whether it be in person or online the way you treat someone reflects you  and determines the results you’ll receive.

This is obvious as it’s something most Mothers and Sunday schools tell you.

However, even so rarely do I see that difference  in interactions so close together.

They were nearly back to back!

One girl had me highly frustrated while the other made me just want to give her the$150.00 Spirithood( the auction at hand)

Although it should be obvious to treat people well, for some it isn’t.

I’m adverse to being identified as a hippie, but on this theology I can agree.

Because of the difference in attitudes of  these two ladies it caused me to see the differences and thus inspired me to write about it.

This micro event can easily reflect the bigger picture, which is: “you get what you give.”

  There is no reason to spread darkness, only light, even if your having a bad time.

Be kind to others as you don’t know the battle they’re fighting.”  -unknown

The reason this seemingly meaningless interaction meant so much was because  I was having a bad time, a very bad time making kindness all the more meaningful, even thru a computed message.

Cheers!

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Standing on a soapbox.

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                                   “Dying is easy,it’s living thats hard.” -unknown

I find this statement to be quite true at times.

Not just for me but for everyone on this earth.

Anyone can get on a soapbox with a bullhorn.

Except few people can command attention with it,despite their cries of indignation.

Through circumstance I have been given that authority,

likewise ,“With great power comes great responsibility,” as said by Stan Lee.

Through unexpected,and unplanned circumstances I’ve found myself primed for a soapbox.However small the audience,each person matters.The question begging an answer is,now that I’m here, what do I have to say?

While driving along to a concert with my family a thought occurred to me;Attempting to describe any singular great experience is akin to trying to fit music and the entirety of feelings it encompasses into a box.

Besides such an act seeming impossible, at times so has my recovery.

However, I have some good news it’s not impossible.My hopes besides a full recovery are to demonstrate what’s been given to me to others similarly in need of their own recipe to bring them through their troubles.No one person can fulfill this because its something we have to find on our own however other people, like the Cheshire Cat(Alice in Wonderland),can certainly help point the way.

Which direction will you choose? Well, that depends on which cat you encounter.

The best kind are positive,follow through with what they say,and are able to properly demonstrate love.

It is in love that I recommend blocking out the negative things of this world,

especially when faced with an important mission.

It is not enough to simply be alive, but to also actively live your life and share that lust for life with others.Because were all in this boat together.

Overall it has been these types of people that have built a human chain of sorts that has brought me through.

Humanity is like a chain link fence,were all together as one, if any link be weak,strengthen it.

How do you help the weak link? Just as you would a metal fence,build it back up.

Be it with words,inspiration,a hug,some physical help,or whatever the method it’s important to do it.

***When I was living in New York City I saw that negativity could spread throughout people almost like a cancer and physically exhaust you.

Now that I have been able to look back into it like a snow globe after returning from the brink of death,my hope is to be an inspiration,not only thru actions but in,interactions as well.

Each one of us is a walking,living story, in order to let other people read your book, you have to show them.

Nonetheless I am determined that where I’m headed is nowhere near where I came from.

 

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A new beginning.

What were you doing on October 12th 2012?
Well, I can tell you what I did because I had a massive stroke that day
while out of the city (NYC)for my job.

I was found unresponsive and very near death by a cleaning woman in my hotel bathroom.
I was then rushed to the very hospital I was working for.

                                                                 Below Photo: In Wilson Hospital  of New york in ICU

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Seven blood clots,many cat scans,a med flight, and a few surgeries later here I am in present day time. It has been a year and a half of recovery from my personal war in a hospital in upstate New York (Wilson Hospital).

A team of healthcare professionals worked tirelessly to save me while I was surrounded by my family and friends praying to God for my life to be spared.
Against the odds it was spared and I survived.

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I was flown to University of Michigan Hospital where I remained for 64 days
in in- patient rehab.      My Father and I during the medflight on Kalitta Air. (above)I  relearned how to walk again and built up  my strength  As well as re-learning things like reading,writing,reasoning,and conversation skills   with speech&language therapists.

It has been an unimaginable journey and it  still continues.

Now I have another “go-around.”

This time  I am not only smarter and more determined but also know how to go about things better,I’m thankful for that.

In conclusion, this has certainly highlighted the fragility and beauty of life for me.

At an all too young  age, I  have suffered what some do in very old age.

This has led me to appreciate different things.

As well as meet a slew of special people along the way.

Today I’m sitting at a beautiful  new desk  and typing on a new computer.

I still have physical problems and work to do.

However I know it will get better and continues to.

The world may think I’ve “lost.”

I beg to differ,I’ve gained more than most.

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These Days

On October 12,2012 I suffered a massive stroke that  has  surely  changed things ,mine will be a story of recovery and fighting the good fight to get back what I lost as well  as be grateful for the things I still have and can offerI have found very little in the way of fellow young survivors save for one,Nina from Boston,Massachusetts who had one at the age of26Shehas a great quirky blog check it out here——>POP!

Cheers!
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These Days….

On October 12 of 2012 I   suffered a massive stroke at the age of twenty eight I personally  have found very little in the way of other young survivors except Nina from Boston who has a great quirky blog whom also had a stroke but at an even younger age of twenty six,check it out here—-—->POP! I plan on sharing my story of rehabilitation and fighting the good fight to regain what was lost,please feel free to share and/or contact me(lcotham@rocketmail.com with any questions or ideas/stories,Thanks for reading!!

Cheers!Picture 80

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