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An Anniversary of Change

on 9 June 2018 at 11:18:30 MDT

So... It's been a full year now. I guess technically 364 days since it happened on June 10th, but when do I ever stick to the proper day of things? A year having passed is a really weird concept to me. Like, short enough that it doesn't feel that long, yet also long enough to feel like things have always been this way, sorta? Time and memory are weird.

But anyway, for those of you who don't know what I'm being vague about, one year ago today I had a stroke. Relatively minor all things considered, but it still happened. After the fact, people said the warning signs were there. I was gaining a shorter temper, having difficulty thinking at times, which increased my frustration at everything... I dunno. I mean, probably, but you know how it is. Everything is supposedly clear in retrospect.

Being in the hospital for the stroke, tests were also done to finally definitively say I had Type 2 diabetes, as well as hypertension and sleep apnea. Sort of a trifecta of terrible and things that increase the risk of stroke. These were things that we kind of assumed, but I adamantly refused to go to a doctor because I didn't want to have it made official. I didn't want to have to change my life. I thought I was okay with my lot in life. I had a job, even if it was a not-great part time job with retail, I had friends, I wasn't having many problems with my emotions anymore. Was it a great life? God no. But I figured I was happy enough. I was content. I didn't think I deserved better either, so why risk changing it? But once the stroke happened, things kind of had to change, you know? Whether I wanted to or not. And funny thing is... I mean, this always sounds terrible on its own, but the stroke was probably the best thing to happen to me.

Now the stroke itself was godawful, of course. 0/5 stars would not buy again and I implore you to NEVER use my methods by having one. Ever. Don't stroke. Not even once. There is pretty much nothing but pain for everyone around you. At first I couldn't really talk. Thinking was difficult and formulating words was harder still. I don't remember a lot of the early days of the stroke but I do distinctly remember just how difficult it was to formulate my thoughts, especially to then articulate them. Most often if I wanted to convey a thought, any thoughts, I'd need to squeeze someone's hand. It gave me a point of focus and that helped a lot. But I couldn't recall many thing sat all. Not names, not dates... Pretty sure being asked to recall something someone had just told me resulted in the same memory failure. It got better slowly, as the blood in my brain was reabsorbed and the brain rerouted and rewired the dead connections, but it was very slow. Like I said, the stroke as just godawful. But it was also the catalyst of change.

I want to preface this next part with something I've taken to saying when people compliment me. "I am but myself." I say this because it's awkward to speak of myself with any kind of praise or anything, not because of anything negative just... I don't really view anything I do as me doing anything but being myself. So like, once I started to recover, and could articulate myself better and start working towards getting out of the hospital? Of course I gave it my all. What other option was there? I can't really fathom not doing so... Especially once ljslilfox helped get back in contact with my family to find out what had happened since by that point I was effectively just gone for a couple weeks. I had people counting on me to get better, to return to the world, and that's what pushed me so hard. My friends and my family were counting on me, and I didn't want to let them down. Plus I consider myself largely a realistic optimist. I don't blindly believe in the best, and try to keep my feet on the ground, but attitude is so often everything, so I think it's better going into things hoping and working towards the best, rather than expecting the worst. Anyway, from there it was really just a matter of strict maintenance of what I should do. Eat only so many carbs, do the rehabilitation exercises, keep going. And obviously it's not like it was smooth sailing. There were days of doubt, days of feeling like I was making no progress, days of fear. But my loved ones were there to help get me past those humps.

I'm getting a little(VERY) rambley so let's try to get to the point beyond the retrospective.. which is to say why I think it's the best thing to happen to me. When I went into the hospital with the stroke, I was 297 pounds, diabetic, had high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and just coasting through life somewhere around "Meh" and "I don't like me but meh". At this point today I am 168 pounds and still losing, cured of diabetes, have a normal blood pressure, and sit at "I still don't always like me but I'm working on it." I've left that part-time job with help from my brother and am now making much more money doing something I enjoy far more than counting cash and hoping customers don't make a scene. I've better accepted myself by "coming out" to my family as a bisexual furry. And I've refound lapseph lapseph as well. We hadn't been officially "together" for like...five years? But something I just kinda realized around the time he invited me to SakuraCon and offered to bring me there and back that like... Even after we drifted from the label of "couple", nothing behind that label really changed. He was simply waiting for me to figure myself out and see that I still fucking love him to death. It took me longer than I care to admit, but what matters is I got there eventually, and he was still waiting.

So all in all, life is pretty fucking great. Sure I have my off-days and depression creeps in at times, but I just have to remember I have some amazing people in my life who, for some reason or another, want me in their lives. And I mean...kinda doing them a disservice every time I get down on myself, you know? I've apparently touched their lives in a meaningful way, as they have with mine, and to even question my worth in light of that... Yeah, no. Fuck that. :3

So there was little point to this rambling at all. Just I guess getting most of my thoughts out given everything that's happened. I guess if I want to make a point... Um, you can do it too? Not the stroke. I forbid all of you from having a stroke. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID TO IMPROVE. D:< But there's nothing special about me in that regard. There's no hidden reserve of strength, no unique quality that makes me able to have come back from all this. That potential is in everyone and I, for one, believe in you. Even if we've never really spoken, even if we don't much know each other... I believe in you. You've got it inside you to overcome whatever life might throw at you. You've got your friends to help you when you need it, but most of all that strength is inside you. I mean, if I can do it, everyone can.

Go rock the world, you beautiful people.

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