Tony with granddaughter, Ella Grace
At age 43, in good health, I suffered a massive stroke while sleeping. I spent two weeks in ICU and 12 weeks in a rehab hospital. In the hospital, my weight dropped from 290 pounds to 215 pounds. My system was out of wack due to the stroke, a diseased gall bladder, and a touch of food poisoning. I lived on Gatorade and bananas. (Maybe I should start a new diet craze, the g2 banana diet.)
The cause of my stroke was a combination of sleep apnea, being on the heavy side (290 pounds) on my 6'-3" frame and atrial fibrillation (Afib). In addition, I had a high stress job that demanded 12 hour work days with an additional travel of one and a half hours each way. After my stroke I was able to return to work.
I am one of the rare birds whose cognitive abilities remained as good as they once were. However, my employer didn't think so, and released me at the next mass force of reduction. After searching for work for years, I have concluded that my career is over.
I am left-handed, and my stroke wiped out my left side. I was as close to death as possible, and survived thanks to the prayers from my wonderful wife of over thirty years and to my creator. I have had a few great therapists in my rehab, but also some who stated I should just accept where I am at because their experience leads them to believe my muscle return is impossible.
However, I choose to believe the words of Jesus, who stated in Matthew 19:26 that whatever man says is impossible, with God all things are possible! I choose to believe that in every word.
I no longer use a wheel chair or shower chair, and can drive, shop, and walk without a cane. My insurance will not pay for any rehab, so on my own penny, I pay for my YMCA membership. I still use an a FO to ambulate, but I am probably the only 50-year-old in the world that walks a mile each day, leg presses 400 pounds 15 times during my heavy work out, bench presses 150 pounds 5 times, and rides an elliptical machine 15-30 minutes per session. I refuse to be a throw-away, and shame on the folks that have treated me as such.
My wife has been outstanding as a friend, supporter, and care giver, the same as before the stroke. The words written thousands of years ago in my bible give me peace that my creator is beside me and my family. I fully believe he will restore my body, finances, and allow me to continue this magnificent recovery. Along this journey I have found out who is real and who is phony. While trying to grow myself I try to give others faith with real substance words other than hang in there.
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