It’s Been a Long Road….

Fifteen years ago today, my fiancée and I walked into a hospital in Northern California.  I was going to undergo an ascending to descending aortic bypass that faithful morning.  Little did I know, as I took those last steps outside before the sun had risen, that those would be the last steps I would ever take on my own.

The following day, when I awoke in the CVICU and tried to stand – I immediately fell to my knees.  That was how I would first learn that something had went wrong, a few days later I would learn that I had survived an ischemic stroke to my spinal cord.

At first, I couldn’t run, walk or even stand.  I was unable to turn myself in my bed, control my own bladder and I needed help feeding myself.

Those early days were hard, full of unanswered questions, uncertainty and fear.

During the day, I remained positive and all those who were around me were radiating positive vibes.  No one talked about the elephant in the room, but in the darkness of many midnight hours, I laid awake in my hospital bed, uncertain about my future.

I prayed a lot.  I told God that I was scared.  I told Him that I didn’t know what had happened to me.  But most of all, I wanted to go home and in the darkest corner of my mind I feared that I would never be home again with my cat Laptop and the life that I had planned to spend with my fiancée was now just a fading dream.

Things have changed so much in fifteen years.

As I reflect upon how far I have come in the past fifteen years, I thank God for all that I have overcame.

I still cannot run, but I can walk fast – but when I do I am at a higher risk of falling.

I can walk with a rollator.

I can stand without holding onto anything for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute.

I not only turn myself in my bed, but I kick off the blankets at night and sometimes even kick my wife.

I do not have a hundred percent control of my bladder – yet, but accidents are rare enough that I have ditched the adult diapers.

And I can certainly feed myself all on my own these days – and I have the waistline to prove it.

The passage of time.

Fifteen years can sound like a long time when you are looking ahead, but when you look back fifteen years goes by as quickly as you can blink an eye.

I still cannot walk without a mobility device, but I still believe there may be a day that I will.  Granted, I may not be able to walk across town like I did before my ischemic stroke to my spinal cord, but even a few steps would be a blessing.

And if I don’t walk again….

I am thankful to God for the recovery I have experienced so far.

I am not giving up!  I am not going to settle here.  I am going to keep pushing myself.  My goals has always been to reach the best possible recovery for me.  I may be there and I may not be there, but I will not know unless I keep trying.

My advice for anyone else overcoming an injury

Simply put, I have learned that recovery is a journey, not a destination.  Never stop moving forward.  Only you can determine how far you bounce back from any setback!