Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stroke Awareness Month

May is Stroke Awareness Month.

As the saying goes, all day. In this case, all month.

As a stroke survivor this month is special to me. Ask my fellow survivors what month is ours. They'll tell you. Before a stroke? Just May. After a stroke? A month to turn the spotlight on stroke, on us.

You've heard me say this before that I wouldn't wish a stroke on my worst enemy. I wouldn't. They're that bad. Going through one is terrible. There are people who've had multiple ones. Two things...I can't imagine the strength it takes to endure that. And a big tip of my hat to you.

Okay let's talk about something that isn't mentioned enough. The financial aftermath of a stroke.

Imagine this, you're going along fine, going to work everyday. Paying bills, going on vacation, maybe putting money away for the future or for that rainy day and then...tragedy strikes. When you break a leg or have an operation or survive a heart attack you convalesce, you heal. You may move slower after that but you move slower back at work.

In many cases, a stroke survivor can tell you a different story.

For many there is no back at work. There's just this new life and that life involves hospitals, rehab, and a new financial reality. Man, rehab is tough and while you're trying to get yourself better, here they come-bills. Before a stroke, a bill, a mortgage, was something you got to right away. After a stroke they're something that can drain your bank account right quick.

There are forums all across Facebook full of stories of people dealing with this new reality. Some are full of grit and determination, some just break your heart.

There is a group of great people here. It's called the Central Florida Stroke Club. There are groups like it all across the country. I like being with them, it's like going home. We laugh, we scratch, and share stories, experiences, with each other. I've heard stories about the toll stroke has taken financially, stories told with grace and dignity. Of course, they're preaching to the choir in that it's a road I've gone down myself.

As you know, I was on television for a long time. Having a stroke changed all that. I've spent awhile trying to figure out my part two. That old saying goes that when one door closes, you know the rest. I've seen more closed doors than I care to mention. I have no answers other than you have to keep on keeping on. Keep on fighting. That goes with the financial strains as well.

Hang in there stroke survivors. Hang in there.

You know that song from Annie that says, "Tomorrow, I love ya?" Well that song speaks volumes to me, to us.


May is Stroke Awareness Month.

Our month.

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