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!