The first year, maybe 2 years after an injury like this you’re going to seriously contemplate checking out of this world.  I did.  I contemplated that a lot, probably everyday.  Don’t.  Those first couple of years, just stay alive.  The hell stops.  When I got sick, I didn’t read anything like this that told me that my life was actually going to improve a lot and the nightmare would end.  And I read everything.  So, if you’re a relatively new stroke survivor, know this – it gets better.  That first year Oh.My.God.  I so badly wished that the stroke killed me.  Now I don’t wish that.  The reason I didn’t off myself is – well I’m not 100% sure why.

Categories: Brain stuff, Health, Recovery, Stroke stuff

Tags: , , , , ,

100 replies

  1. I thought that if I didn’t improve that I would look for ways to exit this world, but you are right ity does get better. you accept more, you improve and life gets better, as you do. Two years after the stroke, I had a very bad fall, broke my shoulder and had to start over…that was dreadful, but I survived, went back to work and picked up my life. It did prolong my recovery though, I am still working at it; making progress every week, although very slowly, but I retired from my high level corporate job and moved to running the business my husband and I own…that was it’s own challenge, but now I’ve been doing it for 6 months and have settled in, know what I’
    m doing and have a confidence and comfort level. I truly believe recovery is about ‘sticking to your knitting’ and persevering. The pace of recovery is maddening, there’s little to keep you going except your own strength and determination. My life is different, but I am the same person, and I enjoy it regardless of the fact , it’s not what I thought it would be. Marta

    • My life is not AT ALL what I thought it would be. But I absolutely hated my life before the stroke so……there’s probably better ways to make a change in your life.

      • Yes, life has gotten better for me too, even though the pace of recovery IS maddeningly slow. At first, I was in such a daze, I had no inclination to even understand what was going to happen – that I wouldn’t be able to successfully return to my job, or even drive for 2 years. Once I understood it (6 months later maybe, when I had made little of the promised progress), I was distracted by the thought of ending it; once I figured out a plan, I felt SO much better. The optimist in me has kept me going and feeling as though life is fun and that my future life will be even more rewarding and fun than my previous life, which I LOVED.

    • Marta, I find it incomprehensible that you can say you are the same person when clearly that is not the case. You can’t do what you did before so you are not the same person. I am not the same person I was before the stroke, physically or emotionally. I have lost the core of who I am. I’m no longer independent, I am unemployed, and iI can’t even open a fucking can of cat food. Where I used to be filled with joy and passion, I’m now filled with misery, anger, and hate. I look the same. I sound the same, my intellect and wit are intact, and I still have the same take-no-prisoners attitude toward human interaction that I did, but I am not the same. Who are you trying to convince? Hopefully not me because I’m not convinced.

  2. Good stuff Amy! I was just in tears pleading with zack in Sunday not to check out. He gets in these ruts and it feels like two steps back, especially emotionally. He already isn’t very expressive so when he gets in these ruts it’s really hard. This is so good for people. Hope-full!

    Last night zack told me that he thinks that in the earlier days, when we all thought that he was super sensitive in his hearing and smell, that he wasn’t sensitive. He said that he thinks he just didn’t have a filter to know what was appropriate to say and he was easily irritated by things. How funny is that! I know you have said the same thing. It’s good to see him start admitting to things like that, makes me feel like he is coming back.

  3. Brooke, if I came back, Zach can too. Last night a visiting friend told me that my recovery has been incredible, that just after, my face wasn’t the same and I didn’t even look like me – but here I am, after a huge improvement; I was focussing on my physical recovery, but she thought the return of the old Barb (and looking like myself again) mattered more.

  4. Fantastic post. I think I just took it a day at a time and after I realized that my ex-wife was not going to be happy about anything I did, the insurance windfall that would have occurred would not have solved anything. If I had only partly succeeded and become even more disabled then life would have really become hell on earth. Then the stubbornness and persistence kicked in. The clinical social worker badgering you with questions about, have you had thoughts of harming yourself? I hated that question and of course I lied, I didn’t want to be put on anti-depressants. Looking back I think I was never really depressed at all. I just put my head down and kept going.

  5. I am 16 months post stroke and I have a plan to end my own life if I don’t recover fully. Since full recovery is unlikely, I imagine I’ll be checking out at some point in the not too distant future. And I’m really, really tired of people (you know who you are) telling me I should get help. I have everything in hand and under control, thank you, and if I decide my life isn’t worth living then it is my right to end it. Barb you say in your comment that you are content and I’m happy for you, but I’ve never wanted content and I don’t want content now. I’ve had a lot more than just content and I want it all back. And if I ever let myself become content I will lose any chance of ever getting my life back. I’m going to call this “the power of negative thinking”.

    • “Content” was a poor word choice. As you know, Julia, I am generally happy and not railing against my situation; by “content,” I did not mean not striving for my goal of full recovery, but I also am not suffering profoundly. The point of my statement was that I can feel both high highs and low lows, but lows come more easily than highs. My life was perfect pre-stroke, and I expect to get to the equivalent of that again, although different because some things are better now (my profession and my dog, for example) and I will retain them.

  6. My life pre-stroke was definitely not perfect, but it was unquestionably better. Nothing has good has come out of this stroke for me, although I am happy for those of you out there who have found a silver lining. For me it’s just all loss, all the time. I can’t really see it any other way. To do so would be fooling myself and I may be a bitch but I am no fool.

  7. Julia, lol!! I think Amy and I have had a bad influence on you, as exhibited in your use of the f-word in your comment to Marta. Once again, I have lost my place trying to “reply” to a comment.

    • Yeah, why give a bunch of power over to a bunch of letters? They are only supposedly “bad” words because humans made them “bad” words. Well, I say fuck that. Fuck, shit, damn, hell, fuck. Pancake. Wait, pancake isn’t a swear word.

      • WE can make “pancake” a swear word. WE can do anything, remember? But you forgot the most offensive one of all: it’s so offensive EVEN I won’t use it. If you know Monty Python, though, it’s the word in the skit where the guy can’t pronounce “C.”

    • Rest assured, you and Amy have not been a bad influence on me. I’ve always used “bad” words and brought my daughter up to believe that words were not necessarily bad in and of themselves, that it was all about context. This caused occasional problems in school and with some really uptight mothers. There was one mother in particular who was insane about the use of “bad” words but had absolutely no idea that her daughter, who never, ever used a “bad” word was beating the crap out of everyone smaller than she was and she was a very big girl so it was most of the class.

      • Yup, bad words are better than violence. When my daughter turned 13 and was prepared to take full responsibility for her decisions, she asked me whether that meant she could swear in front of me. I said that by then, she had learned when it was acceptable to swear, and should do so as she thought appropriate; and, she knew that, no, it was not appropriate to swear when she was with me. I still monitor my swearing based on my audience. Stroke survivors understand and accept the use of swear words.

  8. I have actually been feeling exactly the opposite. It has been 18 months since my stroke and I am in fear constantly of having another stroke which will end my life or leave my worse off than I am now. While I still have a lot of recovery to go, I have so much I still want to do. Not a day goes by that I don’t have flashbacks of the ordeal I have been through. I can’t wait for the time when I stop thinking about it !!

  9. I respect anyone’s right to make this most important of all decisions for themselves, and I believe American society needs to come to a greater acceptance of this as a fundamental individual right. It’s hard not to try to talk people out of it, though, when they are often the type of individuals that make the world a better place in which to live. I’m getting depressed. I may have to have a second peanut butter Christmas tree.

    • Jim. I am a member of Dignitas – check it out. You don’t have to want to kill yourself to support the organization. It’s an excellent model for what we need here in the US (it’s in Switzerland). The Right To Die organizations here in the US are kind of flakey. By the way, thinking of you eating peanut butter Christmas trees is making me depressed so please stop. If you’re going to eat for emotional reasons go for the good stuff (Fran’s chocolates is my favorite and they will overnight ship when you just can’t wait). I’ve never heard of peanut butter Christmas trees – is this a Kentucky thing?

    • Is it a chocolate peanut butter Christmas tree? Otherwise that’s just WEIRD!!

  10. It’s incredible how KY reaches out to people and breathes life back into them. Good luck on your journey, thanks for sharing this post.

  11. Syrup, syrup, SYRUP! Go maple yourself!

  12. Everybody, watch your language please, there may be children present. And I’m referring to Reeses chocolate-peanut butter Christmas trees. Second only in chocolatey-peanut buttery goodness to Reeses Easter eggs. And Julia, I call your Fran’s and go all in with Old Kentucky Candies Bourbon Balls. Worth risking diabetes for.

  13. jim, please explain how saying “pancake” is inappropriate in front of a child.

    • Its promoting drinking.
      Two eggs, a sausage, and a pancake walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve breakfast.”

      • My favorite walked into a bar joke is this……………2 guys walked into a bar and one ducked……………..
        Get it?

        • Now that you mentioned ducks … 3 men died and went to heaven. the funny thing about heaven was that it was filled with ducks … Ducks all over the place. the men were told they could go anywhere they wanted, but they must NOT step on a duck. man #1 stepped on a duck that day; immediately an angel appeared and handcuffed the ugliest woman to him. man #2 lasted a week before stepping on a duck; the angel appeared again and handcuffed HIM to the second ugliest woman. after another week, the angel appeared and handcuffed man #3 to the most beautiful woman. the man was shocked at his good fortune. “What did I do to deserve this?” he asked. The woman answered,”I don’t know about you, but I stepped on a duck.”

  14. Barb, you’ve got to be kidding, everyone knows what an obscenity the p word is. Dean, good joke. I’m going to re-joke that one. Amy, no I don’t get it, and I actually like dark chocolate better than milk chocolate. So here is one of my favorite jokes.

    Guy was in the doctor’s office. The doctor said to him, “I’ve got good news and bad news.”
    The guy said, “Give me the good news.”
    The doctor said, “You’ve got 24 hours to live.”
    The guy said, “Good lord, then what’s the bad news?”
    The doctor said, “Bad news is, I really should have told you that yesterday.”

  15. Julia, I’m trying to fill in for Dean here, but I’m not worthy. There’s something just out of reach using liquor, but I can’t quite get there.

  16. I’m a DIYer, so maybe I’ll just dip them myself.

  17. No need to dip them yourself, they are chocolate covered.

  18. Amy, Amy, Amy et al, I think this might beat the first GRAY HAIR post!! what’d ya think?

  19. Okay Amy, I get it now. Thanks for helping an old codger try to understand the humor of you young whippersnappers.

  20. Jim you are not old. If you are old that makes me old and I am most definitely not old.

  21. Okay, here is one of my all-time favorite jokes. It’s really made to be spoken, but I’ll see if it translates to writing. When you read it, pretend that I’m speaking with a strong Kentucky accent

    Question: How is my hand like a lemon pie.
    Answer: They’ve both got meringue on them.

    Get it? Maybe your mother will, Amy.

  22. I’m very limited in not having either an iPhone or iPad to keep up with you naughty people

    • But you’re a GEEK, how can that be? Or am I mistaken?

      • Well, contrary to popular belief iPads and iPhones are really two-handed objects and I’m not willing to fight with them to get them in my left hand.

        • Beg to differ: my iPad is my one-handed book. I spent far too much time re-finding my place after I dropped a book while holding it and flipping a page. as much as I love books, and even have a lovely library devoted to them, my iPad let’s me read more than search. My iPhone is not only a one-handed device, it really needs only a palm and a thumb, so I’m thinking an affected hand on its way back might be able to use it.

  23. Yep, they’ve both got ma rang on them. For some reason I’ve always thought that was hilarious.

  24. Yes, yes we beat the previous comment high of 71 in fatigue.

  25. Okay Julia, in order not to make you feel old, I’ll believe that I’m not either. To maintain the fantasy, though, I may have to stop looking in the mirror, which will make shaving tricky.

    • I grew a beard at age 20 to compensate being bald and hopefully to not look so damned old. It didn’t work with the women. I know women complain about men talking to them and not looking them in the eye, rather a bit lower. In my case the women would not look me in the eyes either, they were focused about 3 inches higher.

  26. I have nothing to say, but it’s at 89 comments. I just wanted to make it an even 90.

  27. Can we get to 100? Here’s my contribution: We had nasty cold weather this past weekend, so I stayed in the den next to our gas fireplace and watched all of season 2 of Game of Thrones. I have to say I was disappointed. I enjoyed season 1 very much, but season 2 suffered from the absence of the guy who played Boromir in LOTR; too much Khaleesi, mother of dragons; weakly imagined and produced fight scenes; and in general too much Sci-Fi, and not enough intricately plotted story. Discuss.

    • No comments re the show; sorry, Jim. On the other hand, who watched the game last night when the Pats showed up in the third quarter and ended up beating the Broncos in OT? Please discuss your hypothesis re what Bill said to the team during half-time. Please frame you answer in the style of a knock-knock joke.

      • Sorry right back at you Barb, because I’m a Broncos fan. Why, you may wonder. It’s because Peyton Manning is one of my favorite pro players, along with Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan, and Jacob Tamme. Those last three all played for UK, and when you’ve got a weak football program like we do, any pro team that employs three ex-players has to be rooted for. Still, I’ll attempt a knock-knock.

        In the locker room at half-time:

        Bilichick: Knock, knock.
        Team captain: Who’s there?
        Bilichick: Nunio
        Team captain: Nunio who?
        Bilichick: Nunio are getting out of this stadium alive if you don’t play better the second half.

        • Nice job on the joke, even though you have poor taste in NFL football teams. Yup, Manning and Tamme are great players, plus they’ve got Welker, who is actually a Pat.

          • If I gave a crap about sports, I could contribute to this conversation. But alas I don’t give a crap. You know, a lot of those teams really need to color coordinate their uniforms better…..

            This comment makes 100!!!!!! That’s awesome! Thanks everyone!!!!

  28. 24 mighty men of old are we, 24 mighty men of old, knock one down, bury in the ground, 23 mighty men of old are we, 23 mighty men of old, knock one down ….. Okay enough silliness, I have things to do. Bury in the ground, 22 mighty men of old are we…..

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