"I just want to be normal again."
This was a phrase anyone who came to visit me in rehab would hear come from my mouth.
During those early days, I wanted so desperetly to be restored to my former glory, that the entire goal of recovery was to be myself again.
So here's the real question: What is recovery? Is it my arm and my leg working normally again?
Well, no. It's not, because, I still walk pretty slow, with a very noticeable limp and I use a brace on my leg and my toes and ankle don't move yet, but I manage to get around just fine, in fact, my gait has become smoother and faster in the last few months, thanks to a fancy new leg brace and tons of walking practice, so, I think I'm just fine with the use I have in my leg, and as far as I'm concerned, considering the fact that I had no idea what to expect as far as walking again when all of this started, where I'm at is pretty damn good, I've gone to museums, large stores and walked on my own with no problems, so, I guess that's recovered as far as the leg is concerned. I still have faith that, with time, the ankle and toes will join the land of the living again someday.
And then there's Larry.....Oh Larry.Are there days when I deperatly want to use my hand? Yes. But, it's not the center of my world. There are large groups of people in my life who believe that recovery is getting my hand back, and I'm not a part of that group.So, what is recovery?I wanted to be normal again. And I beilieve I am more normal now than I ever was. I have a deeper understanding of myself and a greater accptance of myself and my life than I had pre-stroke. I love myself now. My life no longer hinges on whether I can use my arm or not.
As far as I'm concerned I am recovered, because I accept and love my life rgardless of my limitations. I no longer take anything for granted, nor do I overlook the wonderful things the people who love me do for me. I can live my life singlehanded and be happy, at the beginning of this process the idea that I might never use my hand again was terrifying, but now? I really don't care, my arm gets stronger and I gain more control over it everyday. if it stays the way it is now, which I don't think will happen. That's just fine, I've learned to live like this and I'm living quite well, thank you.
So, is my journey over? No, I think it will only get better, but I intend to move forward and face whatever challenges life throws at me head on, because I know I can take it.