I had a stroke 5 years ago. I was going to work when it happened. The weird thing is, I actually had 3 minor car accidents the day before I had the stroke. How strange that it all happened all at once…

When I had the stroke, I didn’t feeling anything in particular. I could say that I didn’t feel anything at all.

The stroke didn’t my affect the entire body, it only affected half of it. In my case, it affected my left side, my eyes in particular. Since the stroke affected my left eyesight, I overused my right eye. In effect, both my eyes now have problems and it is difficult to see with both eyes. Vision has been a huge issue for me after the stroke. I used to be able to walk fine, but now, I always bump into corners.

I stayed in the first hospital for 3­4 months, then moved to a different hospital for a while. I didn’t have a fast recovery. But I had many people coming in to visit me so it wasn’t a hard recovery. My family had been extremely supportive through the recovery, which helped me a lot in many ways. However, one of the biggest struggles of the recovery process, and an issue I still face today, is gaining understanding from others. They expect you to know what you are doing. However, brain injury, as a result of my stroke, is a silent disability. On the outside, we look normal. We don’t have any physical indications of a disability, but inside, I struggle a lot with people who cannot understand me and my difficulties.

For example, when I decide for myself that I’m going to do something, I can do it perfectly fine. However when someone else tells me to do something, my brain just won’t function to these orders. Like cooking. Yesterday, I did it fine with the right recipes. Today, I can’t do it the way I did it yesterday. When I’m cleaning by myself, I can do it perfectly fine. But if someone else tells me to clean my room, I think “where is my room..?” Most people don’t understand that. My children often ask, “mom you did it yesterday, why can’t you do it today?” My family still expects me to be the same person I was before my stroke because I look exactly the same as I did before. They don’t understand that many of my thought processes have changed quite a bit, and that some things I am not able to do after what happened. It makes recovery and basic life a little bit harder.

Semiahmoo house society is very helpful. Everybody knows what I am going through. We are all on the same boat. All the people here are very supportive. I never miss a session, even if I’m sick. It really helps to be with someone with the same experiences as me. Nobody judges me. Most importantly, I learned to never take anything for granted. Everything might change tomorrow.

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