The Long Journey
On September 22 2008 I suffered a severe Ischemic stroke which left the left side of my body paralyzed and my speech impaired. I was 43 years old, active, and athletic.
Now what? From that moment I had the choice of giving up and allowing this event to completely change and ruin my life or fight back and make my body work again.
Drawing upon my own inner strength, I began the long road back by focusing on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. I was determined to use my left side again and walk unassisted but this would not be easy. I was also granted to be in a driver evaluation program at therapy including a driver's test, which I passed with great pride and relief. I was discharged from therapy, walking with a Cain and some use of my left arm and hand but able to drive back into the real world.
Arrived home and quickly found out that I had little endurance and my balance was off. I talked with my Doctor and knew I needed more rehabbing so I joined a local gym to continue my rehabbing on my own. Now I go to the gym 5 times a week, ride bike, using weight machines, treadmill and slowly improved.
In October 2010 I heard about a 12 week class that prepared the disabled for work, I applied and was accepted to this great program. Graduated in January 2011 with the pride off knowing I could function in the real world though I walked with a limp and moved a little slower I could succeed.
I was offered and accepted an internship at a company called Olmsted that helps the blind and handicapped in Western New York. Here I learned how to properly communicate and work with the blind, how to walk with them and their seeing I dogs. I was offered a part-time job as a driver to transport the visually impaired to and from the low vision clinic at Olmsted Center for sight which I gladly accepted. I have been working as a driver and was also given the job of returning defective items (RMA'S) in a Low Vision Rehab Clinic since June 2011 and have not missed a day of work. It feels great to be able to help people and be out in the community again.
I can truly say it has been a long journey.