When people find out that I had a stroke, they look at me like I have an infinite amount of wisdom. Wisdom,
Ha I am only 32 years wise and there are things I will never begin to understand. I, I am just a small town girl who had a stroke and some how I get to do big things.
If you would have told me five years ago that I would get to participate in a photo shoot and a PSA commercial to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women. I would of probably giggled and said “you’re nuts!” But here I am, it’s been five years and I am thriving. Brave doesn’t describe it, I am baring my soul for the public good. I am putting a face to a horrible experience.
Yet on the same coin, I am raising awareness that strokes can and do happen to perfectly healthy young women. That birth control has and does cause serious life altering side effects. I am raising awareness that, before the affordable care act, young women like me couldn’t afford health insurance. We put off going to the doctor because it was expensive. Now I truly can put my health and mostly my heart first.
I love with all of my surviving heart and I do not back down from challenges. Because I, I survived the worst day possible. I am more than a stroke, I am more than the collateral damage Merck accounted for, I am more than a survivor, I am a woman with a vibrant heart. I am first and for most a mother to my son in heaven and a mama to a Muppet like dog. I am an Aunt, a Daughter, a Sister, a Friend, and a Girlfriend. I am many things and I play many roles, yet survivor is one that I will never give up.
I am proof that every horrible situation has a silver lining. Six months after my Stroke I found out I was pregnant with my son. My heart was full and I felt vindicated. That somehow God still believed in me and that good still existed in this world. Even thou Lucia never took a breath, he is my greatest joy. He is the reason I do what I do and I want him to be proud of his Mama on earth.
My P.E./Stroke and death of my son were not the end of my horrible bad days. They were just the beginning and those moments of utter disaster gave me the strength I needed to put myself first and walk out of a loveless marriage. Eight months after I had my pulmonary embolism and stroke I filed for divorce. Surviving taught me to listen to my heart and to put myself first. A woman’s heart will never steer her wrong.
It’s been almost five years since my divorce was finalized and I have never looked back. I had to come into my own and figure out who I was. Surviving is only half the battle. One cannot simply just survive, they need to thrive. Once you start to thrive, you start living again. I rented my very first apartment, adopted a dog, changed jobs, found myself, and started dating. I’ve had my moments where I swore to myself that I would be single forever, only to be swept of my feet. Love it eluded me, but I finally caught it with my butter fly net! Its an amazing feeling to be in love with a man who loves every inch of my surviving heart!
I own everything that has happened to me. This is the story of my heart and I would not trade it for anything in this world. It’s mine, I have loved every moment of this beautiful disaster that I call “my life.”
But mostly, I have spent the past five years encouraging women to be their best health care advocate. Encouraging women to be brave, to go against the grain, and mostly to fight for themselves. The moment we give up and give in, is the moment we lose hope. No woman deserves to fight alone, all of us are in this together until the bitter end.