Sunday, October 30, 2011


Halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays. I went out to dinner with my girlfriends as we did every year on All Hallows. Beforehand, I bbmed away discussing how I felt and what didn't feel right. I spelled things wrong and even joked about having a slow stroke. Against advice from everyone, I still went out. I dressed up as Johnnie Walker Blue. I was particularly excited by my costume this year and wasn't going to let me feeling sick deter me from showing off my top hat, sash and cane.

My friend and I stopped at a bar before dinner where I ordered a Guinness. As an old Irish doctor once told me, Guinness cures everything. I sat and sipped about a quarter of the glass and felt as miserable as I did when I came in. Aspirin, clove, beer, did not help. Nothing tasted right at dinner. Even one of my favorite dishes, veggie moo shoo did nothing more to me than licking a metal pipe would. As I stared at the ghouls in the street at the parade, I started to feel faint and excused myself. I got home, quickly got undressed and went to sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night to drunken costumed New Yorkers laughing wishing that I was one of them. I had a searing pain in my neck and mouth. I called the emergency Doctor's line and was assured that I wasn't in danger and to just make an appointment with my Primary Care Physician for that week. I went back to sleep. I kept waking up every hour on the hour. Nothing helped my neck pain. My headache got worse. I sat in my living room, scared and watched infomercials in the dark. I thought it was indigestion and looked up solutions online. I ate an apple and tried to sleep again.

It's still hard to believe this happened to me but the details of that day are still fresh in my mind. I can hear the voices. I can taste that feeling in my mouth. I have to admit, today, I am a little scared but also very grateful. Still I play over the days at the hospital, grasping at every memory, every instance. I try to visualize my ICU room, the exact location on my right hand where the IV was, the sound of the heart monitor attached to my left pointer finger. I don't want to forget. I shouldn't forget.

I had a stroke at 29 and I survived. It happened a year ago and I'm trying so hard to smile right now but all I can do is sit here and reflect about how far I've come. Even typing this now, I find myself becoming very emotional. I am lucky. I am VERY lucky....

Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. You know who you are. I am forever grateful.

For pushing me to go to the doctor,
For taking me to get my blood checked,
For being concerned,
For telling me I was strong,
For encouraging me to go on,
For believing in me,
For bringing me flowers,
For calling,
For hugs,
For making me laugh,
For being my friend,
For everything,

Thank you. I am here because of you.


  1. Eljon, your blog is giving me so much inspiration right now. A major thank-you, my dear. Keep writing. It's December 20th and there hasn't been an entry in awhile. Dooo it. Need to read.

  2. Dearest Jane,

    I just posted, just for you. Thank you for reading as always :)

  3. Sometimes I need to be reminded how survival and recovery can become something so much... Bigger. Thanks for the windows into your experiences.

  4. Hi Jhaldir! Thank you for your kind words. Would love to hear your story if you're willing to share.