So You Had a Stroke – What Now?

So you had a stroke, what now? That’s the question we probably all ask our self at some point while sitting in the hospital room or at home later. Are you going to make changes to recover and reduce your future risk of a stroke or are you going right back to the bad habits that helped you get where you are today?

My What Now Moment

My “what now” moment came five years after my stroke. It’s crazy that it took that long. Hospital Test

You would think that while being run through all the testing there at the hospital that I would have been saying “NEVER AGAIN”. I don’t actually ever remember saying it. I know my family was saying things like, “I’ll bet you will be motivated to make healthier changes now, right”?

My real “stroke what now” moment came much later. I had made many attempts to lose weight and eat better but all of them ended in failure because I just did not have the determination to start with easy changes and follow through with them.

The problem is that not only did I not lose weight, I actually gained weight as the many “diets” I went on failed, due to “the me” factor. Any diet can work but it has to become a lifestyle change.

So, now I am 20 pounds over what I was when I had the stroke. I have been making good progress in changing my diet but I have not been successful at exercising regularly. Recently I have been feeling a little pain in my left arm which is not good, which brings me back to my “what now” moment. I haven’t made the changes I needed to make in the last five years and I fear that I am getting close to another stroke or heart attack.

I really am at a serious “what now” moment.

Is it Too Late?

I hope it is not too late for me to make some serious changes. Is it too late? Only time and the future will tell.

It is now or never. I may live a lot longer, taking some pills to put off the inevitable, but with my family history, time is not on my side. I recently wrote about taking some simple steps to help get started in my “Where Do I Start” article.” I have a quick update on the steps I noted I was going to take this week. So far I refocused on eating more healthy, I walked 1 mile before going to work today and then while at work I took a break from sitting and climbed seven flights of stairs. I am already feeling better just doing that.

I believe that it is not to late for me and I want to encourage you to start improving your health even if you think it is too late for you.

Moving Forward

Now What?

I am not in the health profession so these are just my thoughts as I went through my stroke recovery.

FaithMy first word of advice is to keep a good attitude as you engage in your recovery. Part of this advice comes through watching my mom during her recover in the last seven years since her massive stroke. One comment my mom and dad get over and over, when they are at the rehab center is, you always have such a great attitude and you have been dealing with this for a long time. Then they ask, “how do you do it”? A big part is their belief in God and the comfort that comes from their faith. No matter if you believe in God or not, your positive attitude has more of an effect on you and how you approach hardships while at the same time provides encouragement to others around you.

The second thing that is important is being dedicated to following your physical therapy no matter how long it takes. There are really two choices when you break it down. You can be positive and move forward with your rehabilitation or you can have a bad attitude and give up. I link these two things together because of personal observation that people with a negative outlook on life, tend to give up more quickly on their recovery. A negative attitude affects you in a multitude of ways and it also affects the people around you, some who may be helping you.

This brings me to my third “Now What” thing to do and that is to come up with some simple things that you can begin making to improve your recover or outlook on life. There may be some big things to do or programs to join but I believe the most success comes from you looking at your life and start taking one step at a time and make some simple easy changes.

I laid out some easy things in my last article so I won’t go over those again, other than to reiterate the best approach is to make simple changes then move on to bigger changes later.

Talk to Your Doctor or Physical Therapist

Please do yourself a favor, while starting little things at home to improve your health, and talk to your health care provider. I personally haveDoctor an issue with people pushing me to prescriptions before giving natural remedies time to work but every stroke victim is different. My recommendation is to find a doctor that uses both medicine and natural remedies and works toward eventually getting you off most of your medicine or all of it.

The biggest risk we all take is thinking we don’t need any medicine and will lose the weight and lower our blood pressure on our own, then we won’t need to take medication. That is my personal attitude but I know I need to go in for another check up and just make it known to my doctor that, if I need to be on medication, I only want it to be on them temporarily. We all just need to be careful and make the right decisions when dealing with a potential future stroke.

Final Thoughts Moving Forward

I want to leave you with these final thoughts on moving forward. Take some time to think about how you want your life to look in five or ten years. Time will fly by and you may find yourself shocked that you haven’t made any positive changes in your life or you may be pleasantly surprised that you have made huge gains over the years as these little things just added up.

Do your self a favor and really ponder your future. Many good things have come out of bad situations. I for one, am moving forward with determination to improve my health and help others do the same.

Looking Forward





8 thoughts on “So You Had a Stroke – What Now?”

  1. Wow. I’m not even sure where to start. This is very eye opening. I love the header photo. Your story is very emotional and touching. The only time we have on this earth is now and we shouldn’t waste it. With all the stress I have been under in the past decade, I’m surprised I haven’t had a heart attack or stroke. Have you tried meditation? It’s quite relaxing and healing.

    • I haven’t tried tried meditation but I do look for ways to getaway to the mountains, trails or a scenic drive and just unwind. I also do my best to keep stress free environment at home and work. I definitely agree with not wasting what time we have and doing our best to improve our health so we can live better now and in the future.

  2. I’ve personally never had a stroke. But I’ve had family members that have and it’s not anything to play with. The recovery process can be extremely hard and most people don’t ever fully recover.

    But you have an uplifting and positive post here I’m sure will help a lot of stroke victims. Keep up the great work man.

    • Thank you for your feedback. I never thought this was important to consider. I was a good athlete in high school and college. I was taken by surprise when I found out I was not indestructible.

  3. Rick, I really enjoyed reading your article. As a physical therapist, I see a good number of stroke patients and I agree that having a positive attitude is one of the most important things that can help you bounce back and get the results you want. It’s good to hear you are trying to eat a little better and increase your cardio exercise too, very smart. Take care of yourself and thanks for sharing.

    • I appreciate your encouragement. It sometimes seems strange that there are a lot of things we can do ourselves to improve our lives because we keep getting bombarded with millions of commercials that tell us we can fix everything with just one little pill. How nice. Have a great day and thank you again for the encouraging comment.

  4. A great article. I am learning how much a positive attitude is sometimes all you need to feel that you are worth the effort by watching my mom who was left disabled after surgery to remove a brain tumor. It seems like a common thing to feel sorry for yourself or angry, and I can’t blame people at all for feeling that way; it is natural. But after a while you need to start doing things for yourself and seek out the help you need to get better. Whether or not they are religious, the fact that people survive big medical incidences like strokes or cancer should be seen as a sign that they still have things to contribute to this world and the people around them.

    • There are so many challenges in life but don’t you find it interesting that so many times we think that we need to offer encouragement or console someone when many times the person with the struggle usually ends up encouraging us and giving us hope?


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