Literally a helluva journey. Having a stroke, even a non-massive one like I had, launches a person on a journey that feels like nothing less than a trip through the outskirts of hell.
‘Stroke – A Helluva Journey’ is a series of posts that will attempt to describe this journey. It’s not going to be all pretty and upbeat, although hopefully the reader will understand that this series is intended to help others fight the, seemingly, unsurmountable odds that come with having a stroke.
Let me introduce myself: Hi – my name is Peggy…aka: Pearl Kirkby, author, artist, mother of 5+5+2 (not even counting the various spouses!), grandmother of, omg, well over 50 (one just recent and one on the way yet again!) and great-grand of 8 at last count! Before all of this, I was super active, went to the gym regularly, loved to work outside, create all manner of art and was in the middle of launching my final career as a writer.
I’m the creator and administrator of this and several other websites*. I have published only one book, but was in the process of finishing up a novel (supposed to have been published by Christmas 2017) and in the midst of several other books and one more novel.
More than a dozen paintings bear my name, I carve wood and stone, sculpt in wire, clay and (even soap!) and work in leather, bead, shell, feather and anything else that can be found in nature.
In short, barring outside annoyances, I have been doing what makes me happy for many years.
Until December of 2016. Why didn’t I act on the signs before it was too late………………….that was a hypothetical question.
It is not this writer’s goal to just say, “Don’t worry, be happy”. Rather, the mission is to be brutally honest about what the fight entails – the frustration – the anger (usually self directed) – the tears and the laughter.
The Pseudo Bulbar Affect* that tends to tag along on the road to recovery.
I look at it like this: are you doing a toddler a favour by telling him that an injection doesn’t really hurt, without first trying your best to explain to him and make him understand the difference between real pain and just strong discomfort? It’s never in anyone’s best interest to completely protect them from the inevitable, but always a good idea to prepare them for it.
Gently, of course, when children are involved.
But as the ratio of adult stroke to childhood stroke is about 800:3 – and considering that I’m most familiar with my own experiences – this series will deal with adult stroke.
Suffice it to say that stroke set me on a path that really pissed me off. Personality, physical capabilities, behavioral/expressive filters…all skewed and completely out of whack. All the independence that was an integral part of what has made me – ME – for over a half century…gone. Pfft. Buh-bye.
But I have e’re been a realist, even in the midst of my real, honest-to-goodness intention to find a way into Wonderland or Through (a) Looking Glass (as we understood those places we read in the books, as children)…or even through a portal in Platform 9 – 3/4 at some train station or other, to board a train to Hogwarts or Ilvermorney!
I know those parts of me still exist, but they’re lost.
Sometimes I fantasize about going ahead and thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, or signing up for that t.v. show, “Naked and Afraid”, or even just finally running away from home to live in the woods, all by myself, away from civilisation, like I always told my kids I was going to do once they were all grown. I really and truly still want to do that.
Now, of course, I also am realistic enough to recognize my current limitations (which I fully intend to overcome, by the way. Eventually!). Still, I insist that I won’t let stroke dictate my life to me.
I’m smart enough to know that stroke most certainly does have a say-so in my life, though, and will be on this journey with me, on my road-trip to recovery.
Hopefully as a less annoying “side-seat driver”.
* Pseudo Bulbar Affect: look it up…or wait, ‘cos there will be a bit on that disorder included in here early on