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Reasons to be thankful

Posted by Kathy in Ky on 11/16/04 at 19:52 (164103)

I know I am one of the first to complain about my feet hurting or being tired after a long day of school. But I need to remind myself daily that I could be in much worse physical shape. I would like to share the story of my cousin that I look up to when I get down. She was a 'young', funny 57 year old when she had a stroke last summer. I didn't realize the severity of a stroke until we learned that because she cannot talk, she also cannot swallow food or water, so had to have a food pump placed in her stomach. No more tasting food, drinking coffee or enjoying Thanksgiving family meals. The stroke effected her arm & hand so she cannot write to communicate. She can't tell anyone when she is in pain or needing the simplest thing. This month she had gall bladder surgery & developed pnuemonia while in the hospital. She has been on a venilator for the last four days. Today was the venilator was removed & she is breathing on her own with oxgen. I can't imagine the depression she feels each day but she keeps enduring this long battle. Her stroke has put a new perspective on my 'when I retire I'm going to...' Instead I've decided to learn to knit, read more books, take my daughter to cut a real Christmas tree, etc. I hope others in my family can see her as an example of not putting off the things we should do & living each day as
it is our last.

Re: Reasons to be thankful

Suzanne D. on 11/16/04 at 19:57 (164105)

That is an inspiring post, Kathy. Thank you for sharing your cousin's story. I am truly sorry for her plight and will remember her - and your family - in my prayers.

And you are right: living each day as if it were our last is wise. That came home to me last week with the death of my colleague and friend.

My best to you,
Suzanne :)

Re: Reasons to be thankful

Dorothy on 11/16/04 at 20:16 (164110)

Kathy in Ky - What a moving story. It is just astounding what so many people are living with on a daily basis and the lightning bolts that life can throw out of nowhere. I don't why this is so, but I have always been particularly terrified of a stroke, maybe for the very reasons you cite - being unable to speak, write, move or other effects that a stroke can bring. 'Brain attack' they want to call them, as a more accurate name, I guess, and it seems apt for such a traumatic event.
Several people in my life, people who near and dear to me have lived with devastating illness and disability all or most of their adult lives. I try not to think of them as 'examples', because I love them as full human beings, but sometimes it is unavoidable to think, just as you have pointed out, about our own lives when we think about theirs. Your observations are very important ones and reading them, I am finding myself taking them very much to heart. But I am so sorry about your cousin. Life can be so hard...

Re: Reasons to be thankful

Cyndi on 11/16/04 at 22:03 (164132)

Thanks for sharing Kathy,
When I complain I am in pain, what do I have to complain about compared to your cousin? I have told my husband, and I have a living will,should I ever be in that situation,not,to use anything to keep me going! Donate my organs to someone who can be healthy again and I have lived a good life, taken chances, and blown bubbles in the wind.
I now think I am happy I at least can get around, not in a wheelchair yet, but, 4 doctors cannot find what is causing my pain.
I think If I ever had Planter Facitious that I am healed of that, and my nerves may be due to the cryo-surgery, That foot has never felt the same
since and the other foot still so painful I cannot wear a sock or shoe. But I am ok at home, just not walking in the park or a store.
I am missing alot but what I am missing is not worth my attitude which I am having some problems with. At least I have the mind to have an attitude, as strokes are so scary, I will pray for your cousin and never take anything for granted. I have a lot and I should not let it pass.

Re: Reasons to be thankful

Lynn F. on 11/16/04 at 22:12 (164135)

Kathy - Thank you for sharing your cousin's truly inspiring story. One of my biggest fears is that my chronic PF will turn me into a chronic complainer. Today was just such a day, feeling like nobody really 'feels my pain', blah, blah, blah. I guess you could say I was on my 'pedi pot'! Thank you for the reality check and my heartfelt wishes go out to your cousin.

Re: Reasons to be thankful

Pat on 11/17/04 at 14:25 (164181)

You are so right - no matter how bad it gets there is always someone worse off. I have a friend with Lupus who has been sick for about 20 years. Every day is a struggle for her and I can't imagine how it affects your mind (she lives alone so that's even harder) when you're basically stuck in the house and sick a great deal of the time.

Re: Reasons to be thankful

Kathy in Ky on 11/17/04 at 21:23 (164211)

Thanks for all your replies & prayers. I guess it is just human nature for each of us to have a down day when we need to complain. Our minister said we had to go through valleys to enjoy the mountains in our lives. (or something like that, I am really tired today after going on a field trip with 100 fifth graders)

Re: Reasons to be thankful

Kathy G on 11/18/04 at 09:37 (164249)


What a horrible thing for your cousin to be going through. And it must be terribly hard on her family to see her like that.

After going on a field trip with 100 fifth graders, I'm surprise you can even post. I used to be the chaperone on such trips and I would be absolutely exhausted! :)