In Which I Forget the Seventh

I've done it again: I forgot December 5th was my "stroke-aversary," the 7th one. Is it good I forgot? I think it's good. Briefly: on Friday 12/5/2014, I suffered a massive stroke, an IVH; the warfarin I was (mistakenly) on thinned blood vessels in my brain to the breaking point.

I wasn't expected to survive; more than 90% of IVH patients die. The CLEAR-III study saved my life, though. I was number 497 of 500 patients enrolled to see if the enzyme alteplase helped in strokes. It--or the saline placebo, we'll never know--helped me, spectacularly well.

Seven years later, I walk with a cane and talk with a few struggles--mostly for words. I'm also writing again, a few hundred words a week, not *nearly* as good as pre-stroke, but I'll take it. (In fact, I literally cry happy tears.)

I wish I hadn't had the stroke. And yet, I'm glad. It forced me to reckon with my self, the me who faces the world. It woke me up. Facing the world, as I am, was--is still--the simplest and hardest thing I've ever done or will ever do.

Other people face challenges as hard or harder than mine with even more grit. Other people with challenges nowhere near as hard as mine don't face them at all. I always thought I'd be the latter. I wasn't.

Whatever you're facing, I am here for you. That I'm here for you--hell, for *me*--is miraculous. There might be a miracle for you, too. There might not be. I am here for you either way.

"Everything is all right for everyone," the Divine said to me in 2006 when I died (another story). I don't believe that's true--I *know* it's true. I've learned so much, have so much more to learn. I won't ever learn everything I need to know, or want to share.

I'm ok with that. I have to be.