Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

I was twenty-seven when I had a stroke.  I was a fun, loving wife and mother of two young girls.  Our family loved living a full life.  We allowed little to slow us down.  The stroke slowed us down.  It changed our family as a whole.  It changed my view of talking about subjects I previously would have shied away from.  Things that would have made me uncomfortable previously suddenly became an acceptable way of life.

I remember one evening we were having dinner with a family we knew well.  Their girl saw I had food on my face to the left of my lip.  She told me food was hanging there.  I laughed and used my napkin right away.  The girl’s mom appeared ready to crawl under the table as she started scolding her daughter for how rude it was to point this out.  Yet, I was grateful she had told me.  Otherwise, I would not have known that I had slightly missed my mouth.  The stroke made half of my face numb.  Through time this area of numbness has grown smaller and smaller.  All what remains of the numbness now is an area located close to my lips.    I hesitate going out to eat with people because of this area so easily keeping food I do not feel land beyond where my mouth ends.  In new company, I know my dinner dates will be uncomfortable if I collect food on my face.  But please, I will only be uncomfortable hearing you help me if you are uncomfortable telling me.

The lessons of life I have learned are different but none are regrettable.  Some lessons make me laugh.  Some lessons still fill me with discomfort.  None of these lessons should have been learned by a person as young as I was.  Yet, in learning these lessons, I have so much information I can offer to those who will follow in my path or those who become caregivers.  As you watch someone having difficulty or take time to sit with me, please tell us when we have something wrong. I do want to know.  I don’t want you to feel like you are being rude in pointing out the mess I do not know I have made.  I have learned a lot, and I want to answer questions you might have.  I want to help you learn, but I do not want you to feel uncomfortable when you notice an unfamiliar way you can help me, too.



Other Inglorious Truths


There are some other inglorious truths faced during experiences of my difficulty in life. Some of them are simple; some are harsh:


A one year-old is cute stumbling when they learn to walk.  When you are relearning this assumed talent, it is no longer so cute to watch.  The long looks of admiration toddlers receive are replaced with quick glances of pity for adults.


A catheter left in for an extended time can create the need for you to relearn how to void your bladder.  This is no longer a spontaneous action happening without a dedicated thought process.  Even the most basic things in life we tend to take for granted; even the most personal things in life may need renewed concentration as you begin to learn seemingly simple tasks once again.


Sometimes while laughing at yourself the world will not laugh with you. Rather, the world freezes with discomfort and confusion. They render a pause of awkwardness when trying to deal with the space between your distractions of humor and their discomfort. Continue to smile and offer hope to grow in all those around you.


Comments on: "Changing Views, Same Life" (6)

  1. It is too bad, in some ways, that we lose the simple innocence that is so much a part of childhood and being a child. Children have a way of facing truth that is earnest and full of mirth. Children always know how to laugh alongside someone else—I wonder why we put that gift aside when we’re older. We become too self-aware, I think, hence the confusion and discomfort. If only we could retain the gift that children have of reveling in the “unfamiliar.”

    • Your way of writing makes the images of happy children dance in my head. It would be fun if we could all carry the joy our children display.

      I appreciate you taking the time to stop by Sarah. It is always a joy to have your wisdom and words grace my page. I hope all is well with you and your family.


  2. Tara,

    Your post reminded me of several incicdents this past summer. I love ice cream, especially during the summer. There are two ice cream shops in town and so my wife and I justify our every other day trip to one of the two shops by saying that we are walking off the calories, and I getting in my exercises to apease the PT’s and we’re getting our ice cream to apease our cravings.

    I learned a hard lesson on one of our first trips this past summer. A man with Parkinson’s should not order an ice cream cone because you never know where the ice cream is going to end up. Ordering ice cream in a dish is safer, you may still miss your mouth with the spoon but you’ll waste a lot less ice cream than if you stuck the whold cone on your cheek or forehead, and you will use up far fewer napkins and save more trees.

    Even with our tirals, we need to be able to laugh at ourselves. If we do, if it will put our companions more at ease and we can enjoy the company and the ice cream.

    • Thank you for allowing us to laugh with you on this experience. I can only imagine your frustration losing out on that yummy ice cream you had to walk to obtain. Your stories of perseverance continue to inspire me. I thoroughly enjoy your enthusiasm and outlook as you continue to meet and overtake all of your challenges head on. Thank you for sharing this journey with us!


  3. Jackie Paulson said:

    Hello, I have a silent disorder (cystic acne) and after six years finally getting enough courage to fix it with lazar surgery…I have a blog I talk about it on…and It keeps me a prisoner in my own house. I am so sorry you had to go through all of this..if I was there I’d be your friend through thick and thin. People here in the midwest IL judge me, I sware! Either way I am 45 years old, and just found a job after 8 months..scared to go into public but will make the money to fix my face. stop by me at http://postadaychallenge2011.wordpress.com and I list my blogs there…hope to see you.

    • Thank you, Jackie, for stopping by. I will stop over and take a look at your new blog soon. I hope you find it as rewarding to write as I find mine. Good luck on your life changes. It sounds like you have a lot of good things beginning to happen.

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