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Jeanette A.


Listen! Watch Out for Icebergs

On October 11, 2011 the strongest woman in the world had a stroke. She's paralyzed on her left side now and totally dependent on my dad. Yet, she is a survivor! Mom's story deserves to be told. I'm doing it for her through her eyes. Listen!

Listen. That's what I told my girl after the stroke. I looked her right in the eyes and told her to listen to the information available on healthy living (eating well, exercising, controlling your weight, and doing what your doctor tells you to do). I told her to listen, so she won't end up like me. On October 11, 2011, I had a stroke. It was bad. I know it happened, because I chose not to listen. I was hardheaded. I didn't listen. That's the bottom line. I did this to myself.

The day of the stroke was pretty normal. That morning was fine. Then my husband, John, and I ran some errands. He went in the store, but I told him I didn't want to go in. I sat in the car. I didn't know it then, but that's when I started having my stroke. It was somewhere around noon or 1:00 in the afternoon. He noticed something was wrong when he got back to the car. I had a sandwich I tried to eat but couldn't. He said I didn't look right and wanted to take me to the hospital, but I fought him on it. I told him I wasn't going to the hospital! Finally, he took me anyway. It was a couple of hours later. By the time we got there, a lot of damage had been done. Now I am paralyzed on my left side and completely dependent on other people to take care of me. My husband is my caregiver. I worry about him, because I know it's a lot on him. He retired from a part-time job he kept just to stay busy and make a little extra money. He retired so he could be with me around the clock. I can't be left alone very long. It's hard on him. It would be on anybody, but he's in his early 70's. He cooks, cleans, pays all the bills, and takes care of me all day long. I am dependent on him for everything from taking my medication to using the bathroom. He does it all. Sometimes I am not very nice to him. I just get so frustrated, but deep down I love him and know he takes care of me.

This is very hard for me. I'm a very independent woman! I don't NEED anybody! I am living my worst nightmare every day of my life. If the me before the stroke could see me now, she'd want to "end it all". Even now I feel like I can't do this anymore. But I'm still here. I'm still here, and I have a story to tell!!

I need everybody to listen. Learn from my mistakes and don't end up like me. Some people recover from strokes, some people don't. My life will never be the same, because I didn't take care of myself. I was overweight, diabetic, and I smoked! I didn't eat right, exercise, or take my medication like I should have. It caught up with me on October 11, 2011. The Titanic (me) finally hit an iceberg (called a stroke). I didn't sink, but I did go under a few times and come back up. I'm different now, but I'm here. I've lost weight, my blood sugar is under control (I no longer even need my diabetes medication), my blood pressure is normal, and I haven't had a cigarette since the day of the stroke! I didn't go down with that ship! I got on a lifeboat. I got a second chance at life. It's a different life, but it's life.

Please listen to my story, and take ACTION today to avoid the icebergs--avoid stroke, diabetes, heart attacks, and obesity. Reduce your risk and take care of yourself. Do it for yourself and everybody you love. When you hit an iceberg, they start sinking with the ship, too. They are on the ship with you. Don't ever forget that. Listen. Please!


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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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