To allow a rare insight into this aspect of stroke my friend Pam a five year plus stroke survivor has allowed me to publish her previously unpublished article here on my Signs of a Stroke blog. I hope these words of a person who has survived stroke and now lives with it's effects every day will provide you with an insightful peek into this little known aspect of stroke.
So Stroke has entered your life in some way? Welcome to this exclusive elite club, membership is required and the dues are steep. So now that you have become a bona fide member, you're looking for "Normal" in some shape or form. The big questions always asked is when will I be back to "normal"? How long before I feel "normal" again? When does our life go back to "normal"?
Websters dictionary has a few definitions of the word Normal;
1nor·mal Listen to the pronunciation of 1normal
Latin normalis, from norma
1: perpendicular; especially : perpendicular to a tangent at a point of tangency2 a: according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle b: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern3: occurring naturally
I want to walk normal.
I want to feel normal.Feeling normal is a very vague, broad thought that encompasses many parts of my personality pre stroke and those included physical abilities that I've lost in the stroke. Having defined that, I've learned the direction I'm facing will get me no where. I can't go back to who I was pre stroke or do what I once did in terms of sports, housework, jobs and hobbies. So I realized the direction I was facing was wrong. I needed to define a new "normal, one that can't be found in Websters, but rather can be found here or in the Stroke Club welcome brochure.
My new definition of normal is anything I feel post stroke, frustration, anger, and pride. It also includes how I do things differently and the amount of time it now takes me to do things. I've found that I no longer can live within society's definitions of "normal", I'm no longer that round peg that fits in a round hole. I'm something new and I can't be pigion holed any longer.Any survivor reading this, remember "Normal" is a setting on the washer. it needn't apply to you. We survivors need to learn that once stroke has arrived in our lives, it is up to us to redefine the word normal into something we can realistically live with and be happy with.
I'd be really glad to hear how others have defined "Normal", I bet there are as many new definitions as there are survivors and caregivers and family members.Looking for normal that applied to yourself pre stroke is nothing but an excersise in futility, a set up to be disappointed in yourself and to disappoint others. Because after we've had a stroke, we now have certified brain damage. Brain cells and tissue and neurons all are killed or displaced and it takes time for the brain to either pick up the slack of the damage or allow new pathways to be built in our brains. So to accept that this is now normal, we have to redefine the word to apply to us and our new levels of skills and abilities. The word normal with its definition from Websters and all the wishful thinking we apply to the word has to be changed. We are changed.We are now brain damaged.So the next time you see or hear anyone use the word normal in conjunction with a survivor, ask them whose definition they are using?
July 14, 2007
Stroke Survivor working at recovery since 02/01/02
Thank you for taking the valuable time from your busy day to read Pam's article. Stroke awareness is important because in todays society with it's hectic pace and fast food lifestyle more and more younger people are at risk of stroke. As the baby boomer generations age and move into their 60's and on, their risk of stroke also increases.
Because the occurrence of stroke is on the rise the need for stroke awareness becomes more important with each passing day.
To help meet the need for stroke prevention and awareness this blog "Signs of a Stroke" has been created to promote stroke awareness (from a stroke survivors point of view) as well as to provide information on the four major aspects of stroke. Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Community Reintegration.