One of my readers mentioned an online stroke support group called Stroke Net. It had not occurred to me that there would be such an online venue, even though it should have been an obvious possibility to me. (Why didn’t I think of searching for it before?) I immediately clicked over to the site and drank in the whole scene.
Here was a place where I didn’t have to explain myself. I felt like Ayla of “Clan of the Cavebear” venturing upon the people of Jondalar (ack! where did THAT analogy come from–why did THAT book pop into my head right now?)…or really, a place where everyone else had gone through the same thing to some degree. Suddenly, I did not feel so alone.
What a boon this site was–I have been told to register for a “young adults stroke support group” at the hospital, but they only meet once a month (so far, all dates I have been unable to make), and it requires a several-month-in-advance preregistration.
Um. And I keep forgetting to do it, because the effects of my stroke include a tendency to forget to do things. Sheesh. So can I tell you how wonderful this website is?
I’ve been told that no stroke is exactly the same. Of course, I believed that–but as I read the biographies of all the stroke survivors, it sunk into me that really–no stroke is exactly the same.
There were stroke survivors with physical effects, but no cognitive effects. Others were hit in a part of the brain that caused them to appear “drunk,” slurring words and such. Still others like me, have been hit cognitively but not physically. There was one woman who said she had barely any effects, but was still struggling emotionally. These were all stroke survivors.
NO ONE there would say, “But you don’t LOOK like you had a stroke!” No one there would sigh with exasperation and think, “You are really milking this, you need to get OVER IT,” like I suspect so many of my acquaintances feel.
Moreover, the ages of the stroke survivors varied–a few in their 20’s, an even larger number in their 30’s like me, and on and on. I found that part of my speedy recovery is due to my younger age, I learned details about my PFO surgery that could not be found in hospital brochures.
There was not one person exactly the same, not one stroke exactly the same, but there we were, one large collective, aiding each other onward.
Understanding was implicit, and I found that I had to do a LOT LESS “explaining” of myself.
It made me feel, for the first time in a long time, not alone.