My Own Not so-terrible Twos 

My own not so-terrible two’s date was August 25, 2023. That day I said a resounding “yes” to celebrating the anniversary of my “mild” stroke two years, or 24 months, over 700 days, and many many hours of asking myself why. 

Today I wonder why, on August 25, 2021, I had a stroke. Not in an accusatory tone, but curious. Curious as to what made this happen. My neurologist and lots of reading answered that. What can I do to prevent it from happening again? Again medical help, stroke survivors’ support meetings, physical and speech therapy tips, reading, and journaling my own recovery gradually produced answers. If I don’t know any kind of basis for why, I won’t really have a starting place for what. What happened to me?

Two Years Post-Stroke. Now What? 

What will I do next? 

I celebrate my whys. Why is it that I am I standing straight, walking, talking, seemingly, as my friend says, “Oh, you’d never know you had a stroke.” Why me, when other people are extremely changed and disabled both physically and mentally and emotionally? That one I don’t know the answer to. I’m learning to accept it’s still a mystery. Frequently I find my eyes fill with tears; I get a lump in my throat. I am suffused with gratitude. The gratitude transforms to empathy towards anyone who suffers the after effects of physical harm- from stroke, brain trauma, accident, abuse. Our beautiful bodies and minds are still and always will be beautiful. 

Just Say NO … and Then YES

I will continue to say no to the prediction that brain recovery will stop after 2, 3, 4, or 5 years. I say yes to neuroplasticity. 

I say “hmm” to “A stroke…  and you’re 76 now? You should cut back.” Ok, but I will define cut back- i.e. perhaps no bungee jumping in my future.  

What I will do next is continue to be curious. Wonder not only why things happened with me, but what about the things that happen with you, things that happen in the world? Why people like certain ways of talking, eating, dressing? What influenced them? I find it’s usually it’s not just a spur of the moment decision. There’s a whole bunch of thoughts and past experiences that guided me to acting on decisions. I’m pretty sure that’s true for most folks. Is it beliefs behind actions? Is it cultural influence? Is it an addiction that has taken away all choice? It’s all interesting. 

So I’ll keep on with my not-so-terrible twos curiosity. Want to talk? Come “sit” by me.

Thank you to folks who have been with me a little, and a lot, these past two years offering understanding, compassion, kindness, and love. And answering my questions about what influences your decisions and actions. I love reading your words. Words continue to be a super-delicious energy drink boosting positive thoughts, polishing up my perspective about my recovery (I’m not alone), and my world view (there are so many good and caring people in my world) And I’m sure there are caring people I haven’t met yet.

Life is Good.

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and her writing life. She retired after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. These days, in Tucson Arizona, she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, teaching about writing and the power of words, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Artists Standing Strong Together, and anywhere there’s a mic or a Zoom room.