I’m Still Here!

Magical Thinking  denotes the belief that one’s thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it. – Wikipedia

A few nights ago, I dreamed that I was running down the hall. I called out to my daughter because I had left my cane behind. “Look,” I said, “I can’t walk without my cane, but I can run.”

It was freedom. It was thrilling. When I got downstairs in the morning I actually thought about setting my cane down and running through the kitchen.

I know anniversary dates are a big deal. They cosmically write their importance on one’s internal calendar . Although we may consciously forget, unconsciously it’s indelible.

I’m sure I haven’t tried everything, but…

I had symptoms (unrecognized) on August 3, 2017. I knew I was having a stroke on the 4th. It resolved itself on the next day and left me with limited use of my right side and virtually no use of my right hand.

So, it’s a year later. I approached that date with temerity. I thought I had acceptance and prided myself a bit on my attitude. Then one of my adopted younger sisters from my mother’s chosen family came to see me a few days ago. Before she got here I was a mess. What a wake-up call! If I couldn’t face my sister and expect her to still love me, I am not very far down the road of acceptance.

i can still think

I went to a local play with my old exercise group the other night. I looked at my friend who had a stroke at Thanksgiving moving freely up and down the stairs to take part when asked. I was jealous.

Still working.

I am frightened and frustrated when my foot decides to turn over instead of walking for me. I have subluxation*. My arm doesn’t move freely nor does my hand obey my will. And I am realistic enough to know that I am not going to become magically whole on August 3rd.

There are several ways to look at these things. I can admit I’ve been a fake and a poser. I can dissolve in tears, say “oh shit“ and have a pity party for an undetermined amount of time. I can admit that I am the victim of my own magical thinking.

high tops work as a brace on uneven ground!

I don’t need my friends and family to tell me how far I’ve come. I know I was a two-person transfer at one time. I have tried since my hospital days to find that balance between contentment and working to get as much movement as I possible. Maybe deep in my magical mind I thought that my patience would lead me to wholeness. But wholeness has a broad definition. I have gratitude for my life. I appreciate what I have accomplished. I really do love my life. I loved it before my stroke and I love it now.

But I need one thing as a constant in my new life.

Don’t think me a nitpicking ingrate when I ask you to look carefully and know that I am still here. I truly appreciate your loving care. But, some of you are watching me too closely – anticipating imaginary problems.  STOP!  I’ll ask for help when I need it.

I love to laugh!


I am still the woman who takes chances and may very well fall on her ass (I’m a cripple you know)*.   I want to think of myself as adventurous and somewhat independent. It may be hard to watch when I hurt myself because I am a crybaby. If I get frustrated and have that easy “stroke cry” I’m sorry if it makes the people around me uncomfortable. When I am tired or passionate my speech can be a bit garbled. I am a slow walker. In short, an irritating and sometimes irritable old woman.

And I so much want to just be me – crazy and as flawed as ever. I want to be a wife, a friend, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother. I don’t want to be thought of as a stroke victim, or even a stroke survivor. Is that magical thinking?

If it is, please believe with me.



*Glenohumeral subluxation is defined as a partial or incomplete dislocation that usually stems from changes in the mechanical integrity of the joint.

*non-PC reference to an old Oral Roberts joke.


  1. Totally agree. The people in our lives want so much to help us. To soften the hard knocks and to protect us from hurt, injury, sad feelings and pain of any form. Its what we as mothers often try to do for our children. We, and they, forget that it is all apart of life. I don’t follow the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” group but I do believe that the hard things in life can lead to growth. I need to remember to ask before trying to make all better. To listen with my heart more than my brain for what is needed. To wait until asked even when tears are involved.


  2. Very deep and honest. Just finding out about your health issue; is it too late to say I wish you the best of recovery?

    In a very weird way your experience is my mother’s. She has dementia, and although she doesn’t really know it, she knows it. When she can’t complete sentences, or uses words that sometimes she knows is wrong, I can see the frustration. I’m the only one who tries not to treat her as someone with dementia, yet I’m also the one who has to take charge, especially since she lives with me.

    Luckily, I seem to pick out the times to laugh when she’s also ready to laugh. That makes both of us feel better. The only difference between the two of you, besides the dementia, is that you have the possibility of healing; Mom’s going in the other direction.

    I hope you keep getting support, and I hope your visit with your sister (ambiguity? lol) went well.


    • Mitch, I’m sorry to take so long to reply. Time at the computer is not as simple as it used to be. How life changes!

      I find that my most difficult times are in my own mind. I am fine when I am myself, looking out upon the world. When my imagination takes over and I see myself as (i think) others see me, it’s a rocky path.

      Treasure the time with your mother. She’s still her inside. My lifelong best friend died a couple of months ago after eight years with Alzheimer’s. She could never have named me, but she always knew me and knew that she loved me.

      Life is different as we age and have various maladies. It is not worse – just different. I love my life and hope I always will.

      Thanks for your good wishes.



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