Tuesday, February 3, 2015

When People Think It's Your Fault

Last night, a friend and I were talking about strokes. I mentioned someone who reached out to me who had one a few years back and the immediate reaction was: What was she doing wrong? This made me really upset. Lately, I've found that the immediate reaction to a young person having a stroke is well what did this person do wrong? Why would that be the first thing that enters your mind? Is it because the person is young? Is it because you don't see the face of stroke as the face of a young person?

As a survivor, I know this can be upsetting but the key to this train of thought is to learn from it. How can we change the minds of those who were raised with this mentality? Education is one way. Remove the stereotype or at least try to make a dent.

Last year, I saw so many advertisements on stroke and young people having stroke. I feel like they came and went and were maybe just put up for a second to quell the needs of folks like myself who have voiced an opinion. I can only hope that educating young people in Health class in High Schools will pave the way. Stroke should be part of the conversation there, not only as a health risk for their parents, but as one for themselves. With strokes on the rise for women, especially those on the pill, education has to start in the classroom for girls on the cusp of becoming sexually active. Jumping the gun? No, just preparing the youth so they can have the resources and education they need if they are ever faced with that situation. Well, there's a good idea. Who can I talk to about instituting that?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Friends Finally Meet: Meet Carrington

Since I've started blogging almost 5 years ago (Wow!), I've had the opportunity to converse via email and sometimes phone, with brave strokies from around the world. It is a privilege and a blessing to be able to connect with these wonderful inspiring individuals and I can't tell you how much they have taught me. Despite going through 1 stroke or FOUR (yes, four), they've carried themselves with an incredible grace and good nature that folks who haven't gone through a medical condition don't seem to possess. I am continuously floored by their bravery and hopeful spirit especially on days when I am not feeling my best.
I had my first email exchange with the beautiful Carrington in 2013. She had 4 strokes on the left side of her brain. I have officially nicknamed her badass. Her doctors didn't recognize this at first and sent her home instead of admitting her. Her story echoes so many of ours. Being young strokies, doctors fail to recognize signs in us. It's one of the things I still get mad at and so does Carrington. We texted, we emailed but never met since Carrington doesn't live in NY but then last week, I got an email from her saying she was going to be in the city with her husband and wanted to meet.
You guys, I don't get thrilled by just anything but the prospect of getting to meet another young strokie, especially one who I had been in touch with for a year, made me grin from ear to ear. I can't explain it but there is an indescribable bond I felt when I met her. We both had tears in our eyes and couldn't stop talking. Apologies go out to her dear husband who sat by very patiently while we talked a mile a minute about blood thinners, shots, numbness and our love of liquor. From the picture on the right, you would think we both won the lottery haha. She is hugging me with her dominant arm and I am hugging her with my dominant arm. These small little jokes are just a few things that made us laugh in our short time together. Words can't express how much this meeting meant to me. I am so grateful I got to meet her in person. She's just as beautiful outside as she is inside.
Carrington is almost two years into her recovery and is still on the hunt for what caused her strokes. If anyone has a stellar neurologist they would recommend in the DC area, please let me know!
Be well!