Brady Johnson - My Life In Punctuations
There are fourteen punctuation marks in the English language. I grew up an English junkie – loving everything about it. It’s only natural then to use punctuation to explain my journey after having a stroke.
Before April 1, 2004, I was taking care of my outward appearance. I ate healthy and exercised regularly. At 31 years old, I thought I was on top of the world. However, my inner self was falling apart. Knowing that something was wrong, I procrastinated when trying to find a family doctor. My life nearly became a period due to my laziness.
On April 1, 2004 I went to the hospital with really bad headaches – there, doctors did an MRI and saw that I had an AVM, arteriovascular malformation, and rushed me into surgery. During my brain surgery, I had a stroke that paralyzed the right side of my body. Doctors were bleak about my recovery, but I realized my life had to be lived with commas for me to survive as I had in the past. Commas are brief pauses in the sentence structure. My stroke became a pause in my life. I knew I would press on and continue to live my life and not let the stroke define who I was going to be. That day, I became a stroke survivor.
Since my stroke, I have found a family doctor who I see regularly. My faith, which was strong prior, has become more solid and eye opening. Doctors told me I may stutter when I talk, or wouldn’t be able to see clearly, or walk, or drive or even have children. I can say that I surprised the doctors with how much I have accomplished.
I want to help others with my story. Let others know that it doesn’t matter how young or old you are – or healthy or unhealthy – after having a stroke, your life doesn’t have to end. This is why I am a part of the American Heart Association’s My Research Legacy. This research is designed to collect data from volunteers to hopefully find new ways to cure heart diseases and stroke. To help motivate others, I speak to various groups about continuing to rewrite their story; to have commas in their life instead of a period.
The stroke I had will never, ever define who I am; I continue to write that chapter of my life every day!