Three Ways I Survived My Stroke

In 2010, my husband asked me to come out of retirement and join him on a road improvement job in Springfield, Colorado. Being a retired caregiver, I had a soft spot for helping people in need. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to work alongside my husband during that time. 

I flew from Tucson to Colorado and went to work for 12 hours a day driving a pilot car. I had been on the job for eight months when I had my stroke. I was driving the pilot car when it happened. Luckily, nobody was injured but me. I was air lifted to Denver. I woke up in surrounded by nurses without any recollection of my name, my husband, my children or how I got there.  

Because I didn’t have health insurance, I was kept overnight, given a walker and an envelope filled with physical therapy exercises and sent on my way. 

We went back home to Springfield. While my husband was at work every day for the following year, I would exercise for six hours a day at home. Friends would stay with me during the day to ensure my safety. I had to learn how to do things one handed. Things I took for granted before the stroke were suddenly difficult. Putting on my clothes was hard. Getting out of the bathtub was a struggle. Pouring a glass of water from a pitcher was even hard at first. The worst part about it was the mental struggle that came along with the physical difficulties. Staying positive was incredibly difficult. I would be doubtful one moment and fearless the next moment. Recovery from that stroke was by far the hardest thing I’ve been through. 

The first two weeks were hard because my speech and comprehension were delayed. I’d say the wrong words. I couldn’t understand what people were saying to me. 

It took 18 months to walk again. It took 2.5 years for the left side of my body to regain strength. It took five years to run again.  

I’m proud of myself for continuing physical therapy and strengthening myself to have full function of my body again. Having my body back meant I could go back to caring for others again years after my stroke. 

I learned a lot about myself throughout this journey. The three tips I kept coming back to year after year have to do with my mindset, my attitude and my faith. 

Trust the Journey – There was a higher power at play. I was driving when my stroke happened. It’s a miracle that I didn’t kill anyone. Nobody was on the road when it happened. Even on the days I was frustrated and depressed I was washed over with a sense of grace and calmness.  Before the stroke, I thought I was on my own. When I failed, I figured it was my failure. When I succeeded at something, I took credit for it all. After the stroke, I learned to love the feeling of being supported by a hidden presence. I was opened up to feelings and emotions and energy that I hadn’t experienced before. I eventually became dependent upon a higher power. 

Mindset - There were days I wanted to give up. I had to dig deep and find a strength within me I didn’t know existed and push myself beyond what I did the day before. I journaled about my experience every day and created positive mantras that I would read every day, all day. I was going to find wholeness in my brokenness no matter what. And without a strong mindset, there is no way I would have been open to the recovery process. 

Make the Choice – It could have been really easy to give up. Staying debilitated was the easy way out. I could have let my mind go and let my body go to waste. Every single day for all those years I made the decision to rise up, dig deeper and heal myself. It was painful at times. It was frustrating at time. And now I can speak from experience when I’m caring for stroke victim. The unknown is scary. With the right support team and right mindset, we can get fix our broken bodies, weakened spirits and fragile minds. 

I’m grateful to have survived the stroke. I’m blessed to live life from the perspective that it gave me.  It changed me and I’m passionate about helping others find their new way of living now too. 


{About This Story}

Beth Ferguson is a Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Blogger, Caregiver’s Coach and Hands-On Provider.  Her passion is assisting people who have been affected by Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Stroke to live life to the fullest.

Beth can be found at Movinggroovinggranny.com