My name is Virginia.  I’m in my early 50s (the 50s are the new 30s, right?), living in Alabama, single, cat-owner (there are those who question who is the “owner” – me or the cat), darned good cook, big-time reader, wannabe ballroom dancer (Keanu Reeves, are you listening?), and lover of most things PBS.  On December 18, 2016 my world was shattered by a stroke.  I was in the hospital from December 18 until February 10.  While most people go from the hospital to a rehab facility within a few days, that wasn’t a possibility for me.  On February 10, I came home.

The doctors tell me my stroke was severe (“a 4 out of 5”), was the result of blood pressure being made very high, and was a “blocker,” not a “bleeder.”  Located in the left frontal lobe at the basal ganglia, my cognitive skills were untouched, but I lost my motor skills on my right side.  This means I can stand supported for short periods of time and can walk somewhat gingerly with a hemi walker that I’ve dubbed “The Stepladder.”  I can move my right arm a little, but I can’t (yet) use my right hand.  I’ve also lost much of my sense of smell and my sense of taste on the right side of my tongue and have some facial droop.

Here’s what’s important that you need to know about me:  I am about as determined as I can be about recovering as far as I possibly can, and I am adamant that a determined and positive outlook (and lots of PT – DO YOUR PHYSICAL THERAPY!) will bring the best chance of real success.  I’m not just “faking it ’til I make it” – I refuse to allow anyone or anything to stop me or get in the way of my recovery.  As I kept saying over and over in the hospital to anyone who would listen, “If determination and cussedness can get you there, then I’ll fully recover.”

I truly believe I can, and I believe you can, too.