I don’t know about you, but I almost never think about my life BS (Before Stroke). I was preparing to walk, using a rollator, in an American Stroke Association fund-raising event. The event was to be held in our city’s football stadium. The last time I was in that stadium I was playing for a high school district championship football team. The last time I was there I was running, tackling, getting knocked down, getting back up, and getting knocked down again. Now I would be trying to walk laps around the field and needed the assistance of a rolling walker to even think about doing that. I realized then that I almost never look back, almost never think about life before having a stroke.
It is important to look forward, to regain as much function as possible. Improvement comes in the here and now and in the future. The past is unmanageable, don’t waste time on it! Set goals for the future and work towards them each day. Your life has changed substantially such that your past is not a significant help to your future.
Fully engage with your rehabilitation plans, set new goals, and learn new habits and new skills. Do all the things you can do as often as you can and try to do the things you cannot do at least once or twice a day (we’re trying to create
new neural pathways). The past is useful for evaluation, and the future is useful for planning, but the real work is done in the present.
Nineteen years have passed since I suffered a stroke. I realize that, over time, I have developed strategies to compensate for my weak left side by using my strong right side and as a result I must begin again, demanding more of my left side. I must develop new habits involving the use of my left side. It takes about 30 days of consistent practice to create a new habit.
Evaluate the past, plan for the future, and perform in the present.