I started this blog years ago, after a stroke. Yes, I know. You might be tired of that word. I myself have started to grow tired of it, and I suppose 4 years later that is a good thing. I actually never thought that I would shy away from the word. For so long after the stroke, it became my central identifier. And yet now it is merely a small part of who I am and it by no means defines me.
Since 2006, I have taken an active stance in speaking out about stroke and heart disease awareness. In the beginning, I did it for myself. Then, as time went on, I did it for people I knew who had suffered a stroke. Some went on with their lives, and some people's lives were taken by stroke and heart disease. Now I am truly passionate about raising awareness, and it has become noticed. Recently, I was contacted by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare to participate in a program they started call "Well, Then." This is a community of individuals who share ideas about being and living well. Topics range from healthy eating to living with diabetes to (yes, you guessed it!) living with heart disease.
When Harvard Pilgrim approached me, I was intrigued. They asked me to write a series of pieces and post some videos over a two month period and explained that I would be compensated for my work. Another venue to raise my voice, to share my story, and to quite possibly make a difference. I thought about it. I thought about it a while. I knew that I had a lot going on and with the upcoming holidays, some travel plans, and a pending knee operation, I wondered whether I could commit to the task. However, I kept thinking back to my own experiences with stroke and heart disease. I did not know all of the warning signs of stroke and heart disease prior to my own experiences. I did not know that heart disease was the nation's number one killer and stroke number three.
If I did know the signs and the symptoms, would it have been any different? Maybe, maybe not. But if I am able to reach just one more person and make a difference, then in the end it is all worth it after all.