I’ve always been a storyteller. Finding the right words to describe an experience—whether mine or someone else’s—has always been second nature. Storytelling is why I founded my company, Performance Architect, in 2012. It gave me an outlet for my creativity as I focused on leadership, human behavior, and exceptional performance stories that served to fuel others’ achievements.
I didn’t know that one day I would be writing my own story about making my choice for life or death.
You see, when I awoke on March 30th, 2014, I felt “off” in a way I’d never experienced before. I also remembered I had coffee scheduled with my friend Rochele Kadish later that morning, but based on how I was feeling, I knew I wouldn’t
be able to keep our date. I sat up in bed and picked up my mobile phone to text her. No matter how hard I tried, something kept jumbling the message. Finally, I gave up. I decided to get some more sleep. I’d text her later.
As I laid back down, I felt an intense throbbing in my head. I turned onto my left side. The pain exploded with a bang! I’d never experienced anything so horrible. I tried but failed to change positions; I was too weak. At that point, I wasn’t thinking about my mother’s death from an aneurysm. Despite my discomfort, I drifted off.
When I awoke the second time, my right side was completely limp. I knew I was in real trouble. I also knew that if I didn’t get up at that moment, I might not wake up a third time. I could hear the TV downstairs that Jim, my husband, was watching. I just needed to get to him! I felt an adrenaline rush. With effort, I maneuvered my body toward the edge of the bed. Once there, gravity took over and I landed on the floor. I sized up the distance between where I was and the door. Adrenaline again flooded my veins as I dragged myself across the carpet. Using the strength of my left side to pull me along, I yanked myself inch by painful inch toward the door.
The Door Taunted Me
When I reached the fully shut door, it seemed as though it was taunting me. I stared up at the handle, knowing that I’d have to sit up to grip it. I lay there for a while, trying to catch my breath. I knew it would be a challenge to coordinate my half-working body so that I could grab the handle. I finally gave it a whirl. After several tries, I successfully grabbed the handle and the latch gave way. Success! The door was barely open, but that was all I needed. Achieving this feat took far too much energy. It was time for another rest. A few minutes later, I found the strength to pull the door open just wide enough for me to crawl into the hallway.
Since the surface changed from carpet to hardwood, I thought it would be easier to move along the hallway, but it wasn’t. My strength was waning. Slowly, I moved closer to the stairs. By now, I was exhausted. Moving even a little bit took every ounce of my strength. Inevitably, I ran out of gas; I couldn’t move.
Should I Live or Die?
I know now that I made a decision that day to live. I would do everything on my power to do so. My husband found me and got me to the hospital.
When you’re in a serious situation, do you decide to push forward? Or do you choose to let life go on without you?
To learn more about my struggle, check out Stroke Forward: How to Become Your Own Healthcare Advocate . . . One Step at a Time.