Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I CAN'T BELIEVE it's happened to me!

Hello everyone. Welcome to Stroke of living, a blog that I hope will encourage anyone afflicted by a traumatic injury.

I'm pretty new to blogging so in spite of my enthusiasm, to finally share my personal experience after almost three years of living as a person with disabilities due to an ischemic stroke/CVA/brain hemorrhage, I am still a tad reluctant to be transparent.

That being said, this first post is about faith and the tough questions on healing from a biblical perspective.

At the time of my injury August 11, 2006, at 39 years old, I was the youngest person I knew to have a stroke. In my mind having a stroke was an affliction reserved for the geriatric community. I have since learned that stroke can happen to people at any age. I'll add statistics to a future blog.

About one year ago, I halted attending church because the total experience was far too emotional for me to handle for hours at a time. First off, attending church is an emotional experience for the average person. Now multiply that experience by 1000 when my romantic relationship ended, I couldn't find work, my bills were piling up and the life style and body physicality as I knew it for 39 years was gone. Anyone who has survived stroke knows from the mounds of information that is given to you by health care practitioners, hospitals, clinics and the Internet, states how the part of our brain that controls the emotions affects us the strongest and is often monumentally hard to overcome. Anyway, my pastors and fellow patrons were very supportive during the acute stages of my illness and I am grateful for them all. However post stroke followup and support was not as good. I suspect that is a commitment to which many many religious organizations are not willing to which to be faithful. That is a shame because post acute support is as important. For me that is when my suicidal thoughts were most prominent.

When my family wrangled around me, lived with me, and was in my life ready to do anything I needed, I did not need the church support because I wasn't lonely. I am blessed to have a family that loves me to the point of annoyance.

I'm a pretty private person, so having so much company involved in my personal life and finances was attention overload. Many loud people who seek attention need attention. Quiet folks like me who are hard to get to know just want to be left alone unless we specifically ask for help. And once that happens "call in the troops" because the quiet person has spoken. It takes much effort for a quiet person to do something bold. So THAT is the time to drop everything and concentrate on helping. That being said, when I send up an SOS please come running.

Anyway I believe that God exists but I must credit teacher Joyce Meyer for breaking it down for me in her CD series entitled Tough questions on healing. A large part of my emotions was due to having the faith that everyone else seemed to have for my overall well being.

Every day I woke up in tears trying to accept my affliction, trying to find a reason to not take my own life [I'll address affliction and suicidal thoughts in a future blog.] Attending church service several times a week helped corral my thoughts. I was there all of the time. I wept like a baby every week. Christians usually encourage each other to want "more of God." Well I didn't. I was mad at God. He was healing others around me and not healing me. Nor did he share with me why I (a person comfortable in the background) was chosen. Why not someone else? I was trying desperately to believe what other Christians were believing for me. Occasionally, I was brought to the front of the church where the entire congregation prayed for my miraculous healing but it just wasn't happening. The kind gesture of spiritual support made me even more emotional coupled with the fact that I was mortified that I showed much emotion in public. I was embarrassed that after being a Christian for so long, I did not believe healing could happen for me. And THAT made me weep out of control often. I was completely worn out!!

I need to have authentic faith. I want to believe. I am tired of trying to have faith. It's interesting my church didn't seem to have anyone who felt like I felt. Everyone had faith! I was certain that I was the only one who was trying to have faith. That effort is exhausting! So my self inflicted exodus continues. In her teaching, entitled Tough questions on healing, Joyce Meyer references a book by Dr. Charles Price, who I understand had a powerful ministry on healing. His book is entitled Real Faith for healing. I recently ordered it and am looking forward to reading it. As you can see it is a struggle that I want to overcome! Once I finish the book I'll blog about what I've learned.

I am happy to report that the suicidal feelings no longer exist for me. What I'd like to have happen is that by blogging about stroke survival, I will discover a community of people my age who understand what this feels like and I can finally receive the type of support that I seek. FYI there are several stroke support groups around LA that are quite helpful. One at Cedars Sinai Hospital in LA and one at Northridge Hospital in Reseda. I have attended both on occasion. However, again, the community that attends these meetings are not my demographic so our perspectives are different. *Side note: I must say that Northridge hospital in Reseda is my favorite group. This hospital has the highest success rate of affected side return due to their unique therapies. [Again, I'll write a future blog about all of that too.]

Now that I have control over my emotions, I am working on my faith. I'm sure one day I WILL BELIEVE. Until then I'll occasionally post more information: tips about how to control emotional swings without medication, and statistics about who is affected by stroke: age, gender and race. I'll also share information about my transformational process about how I live and maintain a stress reduced, lifestyle.

Thank you all for reading my first post.

1 comment:

  1. My beautiful friend...my sister! There are so many points I want to touch on,and I'll save it for our personal conversation... I am so very proud of you for stepping out on FAITH. Baby girl, you have have faith. What is your perception of faith? Some view it and/or experience it differently. I think it's not that you don't have faith, I think you're trying to rationalize it. To some degree,I've felt similar with my own walk of faith. I thought I had to be like on fire... you know, crazy church...but, GOD talks to us according to our personalities, and draws you out slowly (for some). GOD has a reason for everything, Dale; even your afflictions.
    Another thing, healing comes in many forms. It doesn't mean, necessarily physical healing...He's preparing you for something great! And I can't wait! I'm excited for you.
    Reading your blog, with the exception of your stroke and the emotional "stuff"along with it, I have an idea of thoughts that have been going thru your mind. I thank God that He gives us grace to persevere when we think we can't. I want you to know that I believe you're one of the most courageous women I know. You have touched my life and my children in a way that goes beyond measure.
    Please continue writing and being an encouragement to many others. Who knows, maybe you'll start the support group you're looking for...



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