Pami C.


Bouncing Back!

Two years ago, May 1st, 2011 started out like any other Sunday morning. I was getting my three year-old daughter dressed for church. I had a severe headache that morning, and as I was trying to put her arm in the sleeve, I remember feeling very dizzy. I called my husband into the room and he told me to sit and rest, which I did. Then, my two week-old son started crying, so I stood up to get him and immediately fell to the floor.

All of a sudden, I couldn't move my left arm or leg. My husband looked very scared and called 911. It seemed they were there the very next minute. I remember hearing my daughter asking her daddy if mommy was okay. I tried so hard to tell her I loved her, but all that was coming out sounded like nonsense. The whole ride over, I remember "willing" myself to move my left arm, with no success.

My husband tells me they immediately administered the drug tPA to me to help dissolve any clots. Moments later, they came out and said that the drug didn't work because the clot was too big, forming in my neck and going all the way up to the top of my brain. They performed a four-hour surgery, and came out telling my friends and family it was a success. Only later did I learn from the surgeon that I should really be dead, that the entire right side of my brain showed no activity. But I was walking, talking, and was by all appearances "okay." I was a walking, talking "miracle"!

I remember doing a lot of lying in those early days. I knew I would need to if I ever wanted to get out of there and go home! I nodded when I thought I should, said yes or no just by guessing. The truth was I didn't know what the word "food" meant, and was taking forever just to process one sentence, and, they were on their sixth one by the time I figured out the first one. And also, the worried looks of my family and friends made it easier to just say I was fine, to give them a little peace. Really, I had no idea how "not okay" I really was!

Here I was, 38 years old, with two children under the age of being a newborn! I felt like I was drowning every day for that first year. I would forget to turn off the stove, couldn't handle AT ALL more than one person talking to me at once. And I was constantly exhausted. My logic, comprehension, short term memory and a lot of long term memory was gone. Anxiety increased and it's been a HUGE challenge with regards to my marriage. My husband married one person and now has to live with a new one with alot of issues!

There was no one who understood me... No one else in my position that I knew of. And because I "looked" normal, people assumed that I had bounced right back. And I knew I received a miracle just by still being alive, so I felt guilty for all of the depression and anger I was feeling.

This last year has been one of healing and acceptance. I have had three strokes since the first ischemic one.And with every stroke, my left side gets a little weaker. Each one is a hurdle for me to jump, but I continue to jump! I learned to ask for help, to be honest about my abilities, and most importantly, I've developed compassion for people in all different kinds of pain. Those are precious gifts! I have a great God!


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