Rick and I have a much-needed and long-desired date night overnight tonight (we have been trying to do this since early November)! I'm so excited! My parents will be with the kids and we will come home around noon tomorrow. I still don't really manage a kitchen well yet, so my mom invited us to Easter lunch at her house, after church on Sunday afternoon.
A friend recently stated that she was so thankful that I have come so far in recovery because her mother never regained the ability to walk or talk again after stroke and was "disabled" for life, several years living in the shell of a body prior to premature death. I don't quite know what to say in these situations. My heart hurts for her mother, for so many! I totally "should" be there. I am still "disabled," but not in this dire sense now. Obviously, I am ever-so-thankful for the gifts I have been given too, yet I don't want anyone to think that because I can walk (pretty well) and basically communicate by mouth again (oh, how I wish I had voice control to sing again!), I am "all better" either. This is a life-altering journey. Recovery is a life-long proposition. For better or worse, here was my reply.
The doctors now say that I am walking again because my age allowed my brain to rewire. They didn't think I would, even at this age, but say if I had been 10 years older, the brain really couldn't have rewired. I am very blessed! All this may be medically valid, plasticity of the brain and all, but since the original medical story was that I wouldn't even live and certainly never walk again, even with age in my favor, I still say the answer here is God, all the way around!
As for aphasia (not talking) my strokes were so much deeper into my brain than "average" that they seemed to mostly miss the speech centers all together. I still have a little delay/hesitancy to conversation (I write down and practice what I record for video so I can deliver it fairly smoothly) and a few word recall issues, but they tell me I have been talking since 10 minutes after they took out the breathing tube in ICU about a week after my strokes. Again, very thankful!
The biggest issues I still have are left side weakness (doctors call it paralysis, but it is more of just lack of coordination and weakness, than pure inability to move at all now), feeling "drunk" all the time (dizzy, nauseous, slightly slurred or scrambled speech, some double vision, etc.) due to the cerebral damage, cognitive impairment to the point of no longer being able to homeschool our children nor to drive, a relatively profound deafness in the left ear with lesser impairment of the right, and relatively constant pretty nasty post-stroke nerve pain. I will likely always need a cane and have to sit if we have to stand up long, etc., but compared to where I was, where I am "supposed" to be today (on life support in a nursing home), I know I am very, very blessed and am ever-so thankful! I really was mad I hadn't just died for a LONG time, but I am learning to find joy here in earthly life once again. God is patient and gracious!
I think the difference is, while they were both remorseful, feeling the weight of guilt and the anguish of denying Christ, only one was repentant and believed/proclaimed that Jesus is who He says He is (God in flesh, with the power to forgive/erase sin and redeem lives). Like the thief nailed to the cross on Jesus' right side, it was in this act of believing, of trusting that Jesus was more than just a "good man" (or "innocent man" as Judas confessed too late) but that He is God, that made all the difference!
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. - Acts 17:24