Book Worth Reading: ‘Stronger After Stroke’

Although it turned out that I hadn’t had a stroke, I still found many things in this book that I could relate to, especially a chapter about finding a purpose in your life despite any disabilities you may have.

So the day after the story about my case was published as the “Medical Mystery” in The Washington Post, I was riding home after a long, exhausting day at Johns Hopkins outpatient rehabilitation therapy, I remembered the chapter from “Stronger After Stroke” by Peter G. Levine  on finding a new purpose in your life. I realized how many of us brain injury survivors are isolated in our homes, no longer able to live independently.

That day, I had met several other brain injury patients while waiting between appointments. Several of them were in their 20s, with injuries sustained in car accidents, who were still having issues and were isolated at home, while their friends were at college or work. I just came across  a Facebook group for the younger crowd Peter mentioned in a post on his blog. It’s called Young Stroke Survivors Global Network.

My brain injury didn’t happen until I was 59. It was a lot easier for me to accept at that age; I had already had a career, two beautiful sons, and even grandchildren.

I remembered the chapter from “Stronger After Stroke” on finding a new purpose in your life. I realized how many of us brain injury survivors are isolated in our homes, no longer able to live independently. But what if it had happened when I was 20? My life, as I knew it, would had been just getting started.

Thus the idea of a blog, eventually christened ournewnormal.support, seemed the best way to reach other brain injury survivors and their caregivers.

How has your life’s purpose changed since your injury or diagnosis? How are you coping? If you can offer any suggestions to aid in our recovery, or the well-being of our caregivers, please share them in the Comments section below. I would also be very grateful for any leads on hopeful or inspiring people’s stories I can share.

We may be limited in mobility, but we still have talents  and can make a difference to others who are struggling, be they survivors or caregivers.

This is my attempt to be of service to my new “tribe.”

I hope you will join me on this daily journey, as we trudge the road to happy destiny.

Frustration wordcloud

Lighten Up, Kid!

You know the warnings on some prescriptions that say: “Do not take this medication while operating heavy equipment.”

I would like to have the following warning sticker for those of us trying to recover from a brain injury:

Mature female student looking confused in class

Copyright Monkey Business — Fotolia.com

“HALT: If you are Hungry, Angry. Lonely or Tired!”

I admit that, because a brain injury survivor, I am normally angry, lonely or tired (except when I’m sleeping).

I have never worked so hard in my life, trying to get better …but, when I’m being realistic, I accept that it’s a process, not a destination.

Yesterday, at visual therapy, I felt like such a failure.

I just couldn’t get the exercises right.

Granted, I had probably pushed myself too hard that morning and the appointment was at 2 p.m. That’s way too close to my self-imposed limitation of 4 p.m. for any activities outside my home.

My friends and family remind me that when I’m frustrated it is MY expectations of myself that are frustrating me.

I would never be so hard on anyone else, and especially not on a fellow brain injury survivor.

But in my mind, if I was able to do something once before, I should be able to check it off the recovery list.

I have lost count of how often doctors, therapist and my support group members have told me: In brain injury, consistency is elusive, at best, and that pushing myself is self-defeating.

Trying to do too much, which has always  part of my ADD personality,  is no longer an option for me.

Lighten up, kid!