give up on this life, but some really good friends talked
me off the ledge. I am grateful beyond measure. I know
now that that way out would have done nothing but
leave behind a mess and a lot of questions for those who
truly love me. I live now to try and be a real influence
and inspiration to those who know me.
The loneliness can be unbearable at times, especially
when I need a sympathetic and empathetic ear. I
fear walking the rest of this life alone, without the
companionship of someone who can accept me for who I
am. I believe my God in His time will help me find another
partner to walk this path, share my interests, and be that
sympathetic ear when I need it. Stroke, I hate you!
People have asked me a couple questions about
What does a seizure feel like?
For me seizures are probably the worst side effect
of the stroke, something I would not wish on my worst
enemy. As to what they feel like, mine typically are
pretty mild, starting with room spins, like you’ve been
out drinking all night. Then they move to my left side,
usually my arm and hand, moving uncontrollably and
in what feels like unnatural positions, then ending with
spasms in my left leg. After these episodes, I’m usually
left exhausted and tend to doze for a while.
What does a stroke feel like?
I cannot say exactly what a stroke feels like as mine
happened overnight. But it was emotionally traumatizing
going to bed a whole person and waking up with half
my physical abilities. Then later being devastated when I
realized some were going to be with me the rest of my life.
Coming to grips with what has happened has not
been easy. There is the “before me” and now the “after
me.” Some days I do not like the after me, especially
when I remember what I could do before. But on most
days, it’s okay, I’m moving on.
I’m finding ways to deal with things like fatigue,
memory issues, balance and whatever. I have to say the
power of support groups is GREAT as one journeys
down this road. They are friends who accept you for
who you are (deficits and all), and they are there for you
when you need them. I’ve got a lot of life to live yet,
and I’m looking forward to it!!!
I fear losing my independence. As soon as I became
aware how serious the bleed was, the first question I had
for my neurologist was would this degree of damage make
me susceptible to early onset Alzheimer’s? He assured me
that there were no studies indicating that. But every time
memory issues rear their heads, I begin to worry again.
However, I have learned to put most of my worries on
God’s shoulders as His are bigger than mine!
Editor’s Note: Since Ralph submitted this to us, there are
three changes of note. One, he has met someone. Two, his
relationship with his sons has healed. And three, he is part of
a stroke mentor program that helps survivors transition from
the hospital or rehab to home.
You have ruined my
life, but considering the
alternative, maybe I won
the battle. I continue to
stare you down every day!
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Survivor and stroke-hater Ralph Stalnecker