{Heart Month} To Survive or To Just Deal With It

“Heaven knows that I ain’t perfect I’ve raised a little cain and I plan to raise a whole lot more.”

October 22, 2009 I was taught a tough lesson. Fate taught me that you can either face a problem head on or you can just deal with it. The difference between surviving and dealing is strength. It takes strength to fight back. I could have taken the woe is me route, but that’s not my style. I took the fight tooth and nail route. Survival was my only goal and I dealt with my PE and stroke head on with all cylinders burning. Failing meant life or death. I chose to live that day. I chose to not only survive but to thrive. If I had chosen to deal instead of survive my story might be different.

I like you, have my good and bad days. On bad days I ask myself “Are you having a stroke? No? Then this is not the worst day of your life.” Those words give me perspective, if I am not lying in ICU fighting for my life, than hell I am doing all right. My now former coworker once asked me “Do you ever have a bad day? You are always so positive and cheery?” Truth: I rarely have a bad day. Each day I wake up and grudgingly turn my alarm off is a blessing. Each day that I am standing above ground is a gift. I am living on borrowed time and I am not going to waste it on petty small things. This is my third chance at life and I’ll be damned if I spend it crabby. The fore mentioned is the difference between dealing and surviving. People who deal don’t realize how precious time is and they spend their days wasting away. Survivors thrive because they live each day like its their last and live until their heart bursts wide open. An that is why I never had a bad day. I can’t change the past and my future is best left up to fate.

I have to believe that my stroke and PE are part of some grand plan. I am a firm believer that the good Lord never gives us more than we can handle. I’ll never know why it happened or what my life would be like without it. There are days I wish for my pre PE and stroke life back. Then I think about all of the things I have done, places I’ve traveled, and all of the people I have met. Without the PE my story would be different. My PE and Stroke gave me the strength I needed to mourn the death of my son and it was the final whisper that got me to walk out of my loveless marriage. It allowed me to realize that I had the strength to handle anything and as long as I believed in myself I could never go wrong.

PE and Stroke will not define me. They are only a part of my story and they will not control my life. As a thriving survivor I can rewrite the story and bring a new definition of PE & Stroke survivor to the world. I can bust down stereotypes and help people realize that they affect more than just the elderly. I can stand up and fight for all of those who lost their lives so I could live mine.

Through out February there will be Heart events around the twin cities. When you see a young woman sitting at the American Heart Association table or someone with Survivor on their name tag ask her “What’s your story.” Do this and you will be pleasantly surprised by her fighting spirit and her desire to prevent other women from experiencing her fate. That is the difference between a dealer and a survivor. A dealer curls up and hides in hopes that tomorrow will be normal. A survivor stands up because she knows “No woman deserves to fight alone.”

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