This October does seem like a new season to me. The weather here, September-November is a treat! The sometimes few clouds give us genuinely beautiful sunsets. It’s warm-usually 70ºs during the day; 40ºs 50ºs early morning. Even though it warms up during the day  Easterners can discern a coolness and crispness in the air. Really we can. I have gloves and scarf ready when it gets “cold.”


The trickster, aka my stroke, that visited me in late summer is getting restless staying here and has abandoned certain annoying habits like blasting me with headaches when “there is absolutely no reason for this.” I’m no longer getting neuro-laser zaps that leave me feeling numb. Emotional bursts, called lability in stroke terms, are now mostly grumbles. Biggest challenge is stamina-so more conscious attention to nutrition and smart exercise. And balance is pretty interesting when I get tired-usually late afternoon. 


I can walk almost a mile with no rests and no gripping Hank’s arm. I am able to sleep lying down and getting more than 4 hours each night. I am familiar with reading “too much” with page turners ( Little Fires Everywhere, The Mothers, Rapture Sutras, and our latest Pema Chödrön book No Time to Lose) I’m journaling daily and can see the new plateaus each week-sometimes each day. Plus my stroke gives me opportunities all the time to stop for RRR-rest, relax, renew. 

My physical therapist is probably in her early 30s and has won my respect and trust. When she greets me with “I read an interesting study over the weekend about balance,” I know I am up for being a test subject. Okay by me, that’s what I signed up for in PT. She is“gentle,” but never says stop. The few times (?) I’ve whined abut reps in exercise, “Aren’t we up to 50 yet?” she might reply, “Mmm, well you can go slower” and then does the remaining math. “Only 23 more to go. “ 

Cardiology and neurology reports indicate quirks I’m experiencing are common at this stage of recovery. Overall I’m feeling pretty up these days. 

Other upside of my days-Hank and I celebrated 32 years of marriage last week! How did that happen! He is still my National Treasure and we marvel at how we are seeing the humor and are having fun in life. We are enjoying our this-is-why-we-moved-to-Arizona weather.


I am finishing week 8 of stroke recovery and it is getting lots better. I can now appreciate when the doctors said it was a “small” stroke. It’s all coming together.

Have a great Halloween! Hope you get lots of treats this Halloween!

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs 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. In retirement she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Zoom gatherings, and anywhere there’s a mic.