Friday, July 1, 2011

Everyone’s Here For A Reason, Find Yours ........

“Tomorrow is not promised so why not live for today," is a great motto, but do we really live by it?
Many have an opinion they have never voiced, an idea they have never tried, and emotions that they have never expressed. Do you ever wonder why they have chosen not to? but why not because tomorrow is never promised.
I was watching Housewives and one of the housewives said,  “…Women have many dreams that are put aside when we have a family.” Is it possible that we could do both?  Are we promised tomorrow? Why aren’t we living for today, speaking our mind, expressing ourselves or pursuing our dreams.
I was running one day. The next day, I was paralyzed. I was signing autographs one day. The next day my signature was not even legible.
I am thankful for another chance but if I knew that a stroke would dramatically change my life, I would have practiced harder and run faster!
Now I know and I plan to set my goals high and live for today!
Thank god I am blessed to see another day when many are not. Everyone is here for a reason, so find yours! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Not One In A Million And Proud Of It

If I were to ask older rhythm and blues lovers their favorite Lary Graham song, I am certain that many of them would respond with, “One In A Million You”. The song topped the U.S. and British charts in 1980 when I was just a young girl.

Since then several other artists like Aliyah, Bosson (Swedish), Hannah Montana, Ne-Yo, Guns -n-Roses, Selena (Latino), and even Veggie Tales have produced songs  in the musical genre’s of Pop, R&B, and Rock about someone being that special one standing out from all the others.

The bad news for me is that I am NOT one in a million. I’m one of 2 Million.  Fact: 160,000 Americans under the age of 50 have a stroke each year.

Multiply that by my 13 years of survival and that makes me one of 2,080,000.  That’s how many people have suffered a stroke since 1998 when I was stricken with no warning.  I didn’t fit the profile of a potential stroke sufferer but it happened.

I could complain but
                                     ...I am able to walk

                            ....I am able to talk

                            ....I no longer have a slanted smile

                            ....I no longer slobber because of no feeling

                            ....I may write small but I can write

                            ....I have feeling on my right side

All of this happened because I am one in two million. But, I am proud to be a survivor and have a voice to express it. I am unique!! 

Last weekend I celebrated my son's 8th birthday. The doctor told me that I would not be able to have kids but the doctor did not have the last words. Even when I had my son, I was sick with a disease that kills many.

I can think of so many things to complain about but I look at how far I have come. I look at my life as, "At least I got all my illnesses (that an older person statistically gets) out of the way!" :)

I will live a long life and share it with my wonderful son, family and friends. I been there and done that, I suffered and survived!

Friday, May 13, 2011

“Sometimes you just have to face your past...”

I was nervous and full of anxiety.
I was invited to attend a University of Pittsburgh banquet celebrating a Century of African American Athletics on the campus.  I had not returned to the University since I had left it 13 years ago. Although I was nervous about going back there I knew that it was something that I had to do to move forward.
When I arrived I initially went to the bathroom to gather my thoughts.  The first person I noticed was my former basketball coach followed by other University staff members. I saw faces at the banquet that I could recall from when I had my stroke. Faces that sat in front of me when I cried tears and begged to be allowed to remain a part of the Pittsburgh Basketball Team that I loved so much.
It was hard, but I did it.  I revisited a place that I hadn't gone to in 13 years. I revisited a place where I last was sad and depressed; a place where I was paralyzed and had open-heart surgery. I faced a place where I left all my talents and capabilities in basketball.
By the end of the night I had done it! I had gone to a place that I'd never thought I could go.   I did it!  I did it without depression, or tears, and without basketball.  
My return trip to the University of Pittsburgh helped me to realize that I am in a good space in my life. I had a wonderful night and I can say again I made it through! Sometimes you just have to face your past...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Pick Up Your Foot Tia!"

Today someone yelled, "Pick up you foot," when I walked through the room.  That comment reminded me that 13 years had passed since I had a stroke at age 22. 
In the spring I like to wear my sandals and flip flops but it always brings attention to how I walk.  You can't look at me and tell that I have experienced a major stroke but I feel it every day. My foot drags and it is hard for me to lift my right foot.  I have tried different ways to walk but it still drags. All my right shoe soles are lower because of the wear and tear of the heaviness of my walk.  
When most people see me they have no idea that I am a young stroke survivor.  Many would not realize the reason why I drag my foot unless they knew my story. People think that only older people or people with high blood pressure experience stroke.  So I will keep hearing, "lift your foot up" or "you walk heavy," for the rest of my life. People don't realize that I was as light as a feather playing ball. So this spring, I will again try a new technique with walking or maybe I will not try to change anything and just be me!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How Tia Survived T-I-A.

Most parents select their children's names with a purpose in mind.  My Mother chose mine because she saw a woman named Latia on "The Price is Right," and decided that she liked it enough to attach it to her only child.  

I think God led her to select my name and nickname for a reason. "Tia" my nickname in the world of medicine is referred to as T-I-A, the abbreviation for Transient Ischemic Attack. T-I-A is often referred to as a "mini stroke". It is caused by the loss of blood flow to the brain and often referred to as a brain attack.

The symptoms of a T-I-A resolve within a few minutes unlike a stroke. T-I-A's share the same underlying cause as strokes; a disruption of the blood flow to the brain. T-I-A's and strokes present the same symptoms such as paralysis, sudden weakness, or numbness. Having a T-I-A is a risk factor for eventually having a stroke.

I had a major stroke when I was 22 years old. There was no warning just sudden weakness, numbness, and paralysis. Tia or T-I-A, coincidence or not, I believe I was named for a reason and  that reason is for me to change the perception that our country has of stroke sufferers and survivors as elderly persons only.   

As I move forward in my own personal mission to support stroke victims and educate others on the differences of the young adult population of survivors versus the senior population I invite you to join me.  I invite you to learn more about me through personal exchanges and correspondence that blogs provide for us.  Most importantly I invite you to catch a glimpse of a small piece of my life and learn how Tia survived T-I-A.