Back in the summer of 2002. I survived an ischemic stroke to my spinal cord. The stroke (to lay people) or spinal cord injury (in the medical community) robbed me of my ability to run, walk or even stand.
From the very earliest days after my injury, I never felt sorry for myself – I would not allow it. I never focused in on what I had lost from the injury, I was always focused in on being grateful.
I do recall being thankful for many blessings I had at the time.
If I had started a formal gratitude list or journal, I think the following items would have been written down:
- I was thankful that I was not on the ventilator for more than one day with no end in sight.
- I was thankful that my fiancé was staying by my side as an injury such as mine had ended engagements and marriages.
- I was grateful that I had not lost the ability to speak.
- I was grateful that I was able to relearn how to use utensils and feed myself.
- I was grateful that I was able to start physical therapy.
- I was grateful that I was able to learn how to transfer in and out of my wheelchair,
- I was grateful when I relearned how to turn myself in my own bed.
- I was grateful when I relearned how to dress myself.
- I was grateful that I was able to leave the rehabilitation hospital and return home.
- I was grateful that my fiancé’s grandfather gave me his late wife’s mobility scooter so I could get around.
- Although the blood clots in my legs sidelined me from PT, I was grateful that they did not cause another stroke or kill me.
- I was grateful when my doctor cleared me to return to PT.
- I was grateful that I was spending my first Christmas after my injury at home and not in long term care.
- I was grateful when I taught myself how to walk up and down my apartment hallway with my hands on the wall.
- I was grateful that my fiancé married me, despite my injury.
- I was grateful when I learned how to walk alongside the car from the back end to the passenger seat in the front.
- I was grateful when I taught myself how to use a walker then a rollator.
- I was grateful that when I experienced a great fall in 2019, I was able to walk again.
I believe that because of my attitude of being grateful and thanking God for my blessings, I was able to overcome many of the challenges I have faced since my injury. I am confident if not convinced that if I continue to practice being grateful, I will see more success in my life.