Life Feels a Bit Like a Seesaw

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Life has been busy. Lots of good stuff. Also some down times. I talk in Identity Theft about how much it helps to “look forward not back”, but also how it’s really hard NOT to look back from time to time.

Right now, I’m on a sailing vacation with Steve, my mom, my good friend Lizzie (husband Brian couldn’t join us – we miss you Brian), and our friends from the Netherlands – Maarten and Annette – who we only get to see every three or four years. I’m having a great time, and can’t tell you how blessed I feel to be able to do this. Looking forward.

I used to be an avid sailor and it’s frustrating I can’t do more of the work on the boat. Looking back.

It’s also the week Stanford is gearing up to start fall semester, and it really bums me out that has no relevance for me anymore. Looking back.

Identity Theft has now been out for 4 months and I’ve gotten some great reviews and exposure, including an edited excerpt of Chapter 9 – Stroke is a Family Illness – in the Stanford Magazine. Looking Forward. But I’m disappointed that the book hasn’t attracted more attention and reviews from the mainstream press. Looking Back. I have gotten some direct feedback from readers about how much the book has touched… and helped them. That’s why I wrote it (with lots of help, of course.) Feels like there’s meaning in my post-stroke life. Looking forward.

And we’ve been spending time figuring out our strategy for Stroke Forward, the non-profit Steve and I created. We know we want to help survivors focus on and get support for the emotional journey that is such an important part of recovery. And to help push the medical system to put more emphasis on, and resources behind, this part of the journey.  Looking forward.

And there’s so much I want to be doing to advance that ball, and just can’t do it by myself. Looking back.

Fortunately, I have Steve in my corner and our good friend Jodi Kravitz working with us, so I think we’ll have some success. I so appreciate all the support I have – another key message of the book! Looking forward.

So that is life for me. A bit of bouncing from the top of the see saw, focusing on what I still have and still can do, and the bottom where I can’t help looking back and grieving my loss. I think that’s life for now on, and I’ll just try to stay on top as much as I can.

Two days later:

Vacation is still great. My friend Annette is one of those people who really gets to the heart of everything. She asked me today, “are you happy?”  I started to answer, describing as best I could my life as it is now. But she dug deeper, “no, really, how are you FEELING – really feeling.”  As is always the case now with Aphasia, it was hard to find the words to tell her how I am feeling. But she listened, and I got it out. Yes, I am HAPPY. But I am also FRUSTRATED – a lot more than I was before my stroke, and even a lot more that just two years ago. In some ways, as I’ve continued to improve – 9 Years after my stroke! – my expectations have grown faster than my capabilities. That causes frustration. I know I have to deal with it – like Steve having to help me write this post. Frustrating that he has to. Fantastic that he can.

Thank you Annette, for your question, our talk, and our friendship across oceans and time. I am happy. And frustrated. And sometimes sad for what I’ve lost. That’s how I am — really.