Overcoming obstacles with Optimism



Insurance said I recovered as much as I could within a few months of my stroke, but I knew I could do more. I knew I would have to work hard, but my recovery was going to be worth every ounce of effort I put into it. It was necessary to improve beyond what I had suddenly been reduced to. Even with all of my hope, I never had the expectation that I would be back to 100% of where I was before my cerebral vascular accident (CVA). Did I want it back? Desperately! But, I also had to accept reality.


The reality, from the viewpoint on my hospital bed, was that I would never get everything back. Although, being a young stroke victim did offer a unique path to becoming a stroke survivor. I still am not graceful when I make a feeble attempt to jog, but at least I walk. My eyesight is completely missing on the left peripheral. Yet, through this I’ve come to realize a vision for a positive future has nothing to do with what your eyes see; rather, it is what your heart, mind, and soul can create for a reality.


I completely agree with C.S. Lewis. I learned. My God did I ever learn. I am extremely grateful I had this brutal teacher of life offer me these experiences. Growing up with epilepsy, I never would have thought I could have seizures which would nearly end my life. I never would have been able to comprehend the idea of brain surgery. I never understood what a stroke was. Why should’ve I? No one young faces things like these. (At least, that was the innocence I used to maintain.) I faced brutal teachers.


Yet, these battles have created an inner strength I never could have imagined. Within these unfortunate experiences, I have learned so much about our brains and bodies. I truly believe it is not only a need but also a gift to help share these life lessons and teach others who are in the midst of facing the brutal teachings life is throwing their way. I have learned. Now it is my hope, desire, and –might I even say- responsibility to help others through this unpredictable journey known as life.

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” Clay P. Bedford

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” Lily Tomlin


“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.” Donald D. Quinn

“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.” Edgar W. Howe

“Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.” Bill Dodds

Thank you morguefile.com for the use of this photo

Thank you morguefile.com for the use of this photo

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” Tom Bodett

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” Winston Churchill

Creed 4_10

I realize I will never again know who I am in current photographs (prosopagnosia) without using broad clues such as background and clothing.  Due to only remembering faces from before (anterograde) my stroke (acquired), I always recognize myself in younger pictures.  However, logically, I will continue to age.  Even if I were to never again change my hair color or style, my face will change.  Aging is inevitable.  There are lines and creases that continuously alter how we appear.  It’s a fact of a life well lived.  

My image as a young woman will always be recognizable when flipping through photo albums.  I identify with these pictures from years gone by. Ana_122000 This image of what I looked like then is frozen in my mind forever.  It is the face I will always expect to see when I catch a glimpse of myself today.  Still, fortunately, I am able to remember the happy thoughts created each and every day.  In the end, these memories are much more beautiful and meaningful than any photograph we could ever take.



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