Meet Trish – a modern Rosie the Riveter!

Before my stroke, I was very athletic. I played all kinds of sports, including basketball, soccer, football, softball, golf, and curling. I was also very adventurous. I loved to travel, visiting places as far away as Ireland and Italy and close to home as Monterey and Lake Tahoe.

Before my stroke, my friends and family knew me for my sense of humor. One time, when one of my colleagues stepped away from her cubicle, I grabbed her car keys and moved her car to a different part of the parking lot. My colleague didn’t figure this out until the end of the day, when she left work and thought her car had been stolen! It was all in good fun, though. As soon as she figured out it was me, we laughed it off together.

After my stroke, however, many things changed. Communication has become much harder, and I’ve had to stop working. I miss my coworkers and the practical jokes we used to play in the office. Although I have the same sense of humor as always, I can’t tell jokes like I did before; the language and facial expressions needed have become much more difficult. With the ability to use my right arm and leg impaired, I also can’t play sports like I once did.

However, I’ve held on to a lot of important parts of my identity. The core of who I am has never changed. I still play golf, thanks to a special club my dad made that can be used with one hand. I enjoy going for walks. I’ve found friendships and a community in the Bay Area Aphasia Circle and Facebook’s Aphasia Recovery Connection group. I’ve also become more involved, and volunteer regularly at Voices of Hope for Aphasia.

Travel has always been important to me, and I still am able to fulfill that spirit of adventure. I visit my parents in Niagara Falls, my sister in Rochester, and my brother in Seattle. I’ve taken trips to Ireland and have been on three cruises with other people who have aphasia like me.

I’m more determined than ever to get through this and continue life as best as I can. The poster of Rosie the Riveter on my living room wall reminds me every day that “We Can Do It.” Despite the challenges of recovery, I know I’ll one day be able to do anything I want to do.