It seems almost impossible to believe as I type this, but one year ago today, at this exact time, I was sitting in urgent care in Belton about to embark on this incredible journey we've been on for a year! Within an hours time, I would be in the emergency room at Scott and White, completely paralyzed on my left side with a doctor telling us that I was having a massive stroke. But on the bright side, at least according to him, my "death number" was pretty close to zero. It would be four days before I ate again, five days before I was allowed to see the kids, three weeks before I could take a step on my own and a month and a half before I would leave the hospital.
I honestly cannot believe that a year has passed and I'm also not sure I can really put my feelings into words. I truly felt that the stroke was just a temporary setback and that I would be "good as new" in just a few days, or weeks at the most. It is hard not to be a little bit disappointed that I'm not further along, but I chalk that up to my unrealistic expectations and lack of understanding of just what exactly was happening inside my brain. When I put all of that into perspective and see just how far I've come, I know that I have accomplished a great deal and have so much to be proud of and even more to be thankful for. To steal a line from Lou Gehrig, I truly consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
I will never forget the way my co-workers, friends, church, extended family, people I don't even know and especially my immediate family rallied around me. I am still humbled and amazed by the outpouring of support, compassion and prayers that we received. I know I wasn't the best patient, son, father or husband during that time, but I do feel like we all passed a very difficult test and are much stronger because of it.
Over the past couple of days, I've talked to the kids and with Brenda about the things we remember from the past 12 months. I don't want to spend much time on that, though. Because even though surviving a year marks a milestone, it doesn't represent a finish line. I would much rather look forward and focus on continued recovery and the progress that is yet to come. Eventually, my therapy sessions will come to an end but not my chances (and goals) for a complete return to life as we used to know it.
Even if I never fully recover to the point of May 19th, 2011, I've still managed to achieve more than I ever thought I was capable of. And I will continue to push myself toward reaching all of those goals. I have had so much support and love throughout this adventure and I feel like I owe it to each and every one of you to give it my best. Later tonight, Brenda should post her thoughts so you can get her perspective on reaching a year, but I wanted to be first so that we could save the best for last. My intention is to continue the blog for as long as I continue to progress. Mainly because it gives me an outlet, but also because I want you all to continue to share in this with us. Thanks again to all who read this and we look forward to a second year of recovery with an eye on the same kind of gains we've made this year! Happy Anniversary everyone!