Monday, July 17, 2006

Today is my 9th ‘Homage to my Hemorrhage’ Anniversary
Pop the champagne! I don’t need much to find cause for
celebration, but this date marked a detour in the course of my
life, and has in many ways, become more celebratory than my
actual birthday--October 17.

On July 17, 1997, my co-worker, Caryn, drove me to the hospital.
I didn’t know it at the time, but every time my blood pulsed it was
releasing blood in my brain. I knew I was dying and told Caryn so.
I was also calmly giving directions how to get to the hospital.
“Turn Left. I’m dying. Turn Right. Call everyone in my
family, I’m not going to make it.” I don’t see Caryn often now.
In fact it is sometimes years. But every July 17, 1997, for nine
years now, I receive flowers delivered on my doorstep from Caryn.
I guess the real-life drama impacted her life as well.

Many folks ask why I would celebrate a date that I should dread
when it represents so much distress, pain, and a disabled body?
It does have all those elements, but it also shows how far I have
come from a day (and for months thereafter) when I thought I was
going to die. Celebrating allows me to take the upper hand over my
stroke (albeit the right hand only—my left hand is still good only for
decorating). This is a day for reflecting or and rejoicing over the gift
of nine more years of life—to be a mother, wife, sister and
daughter. I don’t like how the stroke has left my body, but I do
cherish the gift of knowing my purpose here on earth—to show
others facing difficult times that you can survive by reaching deep and
using the tools God gave each of us—it’s not what happens to us—it’s
how we react to it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day! (literally)

For those of us who have survived a devastating, life-altering challenge,
it has a much more personal meaning. I’m truly thankful that I live in a
country that celebrates our freedom. And, I’m equally thankful that I
have regained my independence in being able to do those every day
activities we all take for granted—eat, bathe, dress, go to the bathroom,
or walk on my own. I celebrate the country’s freedom, but also my personal
independence to continue my life, albeit altered, but Free! Happy 4th!

With Love, Julia

Monday, July 03, 2006

I met a legend and a stroke survivor—Kirk Douglas!
While in NYC filming for my GMA appearance, I was having dinner
with ‘my people’ (editor, publicist, and agent)—I can’t say it
without giggling—when lo and behold who walks in to the restaurant,
but Kirk Douglas. I’m one to always see signs in everything, and to
me, Kirk Douglas was the most meaningful person I could have
encountered. I don’t believe in coincidence—I believe coincidence
is in the Plan. When I originally took pen to paper for Don’t Leave Me
This Way
my working title was A Stroke of Luck. Kirk Douglas beat
me to the bookstores with, My Stroke of Luck.

Of course, I couldn’t let this wonderful opportunity slip by.
I dutifully waited until he was finished with his meal to introduce
myself. I limped over to his table, introduced myself, and, while
holding his hand, then said:

“You and I joined a club that we never asked to be members of—
stroke survivors club—but I believe that we make pretty damn good
members. I am in awe that you have been such an eloquent spokesman
(yes, eloquent although his speech is impaired), because you have
proved that you are a true gladiator in life’s challenges. I hope
to pick up the torch and carry it with you.”

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