On Wednesday I will accept a position on the board of a museum. One year ago this would have been a pie-in-the-sky concept, since I was immersed in "what-if's" and healing. What if I rev myself up into another stroke. What if I have another stroke. What if I cannot grasp detailed concepts. What if I forget stuff. What if I fall asleep. I don't have as many of those anymore, or if I do I see other people my age without strokes in their past and realize, "Holy Crap, their memory is shot and they fall asleep too!" .
My part-time job of last summer helped me back into the pacing of work. I took the winter off to focus on family and farm (which was good because two teenagers just about aged me 22 years in seven months).
I am gearing up for going back to work and getting a divorce. All which I was doing pre-stroke - but rapidly ceased at my forced life hiatus.
I have learned when to take a step back. An adrenaline junkie, I love revving up under pressure to accomplish things. I know when my physiology is amping up and I intentionally divert that energy to a different place. That feeling of being keyed up now is a warning sign to me. That is where the fear comes in... that if I live my life the way I did, that automatically I will wander down the same path and have another stroke. There is no logic to the situation when I am thinking like this, just an irrational fear. Almost like a baseball player and their superstitious repetitive movements to bring them luck - I cannot overcome these fears except with time.
Example: During my three-day stroke, I was in a big box store and the neon lights in the back of the store made me feel unbalanced, nauseous and tippy. So, if I feel like that in a store,(which I still do sometimes) I try to overcome the fear that starts welling up and wait it out. I remember: I do not have the same circumstances of health that I did with the stroke. Just because I am feeling light-headed does not mean a stroke is imminent. I do have some perception differences post-stroke and tumor, and this may be one of them. I have found the passing of time is the only thing that truly heals this fear. no doctor has been able to explain this.
The job was the same thing. When I would get very tired and have more pronounced head fog and slurred speech, I would worry. As my stamina increased, that diminished. So as I worked, my fear quieted. The goal here is to make it quieter, less urgent, and then send it away.
It is all a learning process, which is ideal for me. It is good to learn that life is finite, and appreciate it for what it does bring, not fight against what it does not. This may all common sense to you, but I used to have the illusion I controlled my life a bit more than I do.