My New Normal
Lori Larsen was having a difficult time adjusting to life after her stroke. She felt lost, as if everyone had moved on from her stroke except her. Thanks to the Stroke Support Network, Lori was able to meet fellow stroke survivor Cindy Veenstra who helped lift Lori’s spirits and encouraged her to keep fighting.
“I am good enough as I am.” This is the mantra that Cindy Veenstra shared with me when we first met for coffee. I was nine months out from surviving my first stroke and feeling very frustrated and depressed.
A series of additional health issues had popped up in addition to my brain attack, and I was starting to feel even more hopeless.
Doctors don’t know what caused my stroke. I looked for advice online at the American Heart Association Stroke Support Network. I wanted to find out if there were other survivors like me that were experiencing the same emotions and physical limitations of fatigue. I felt like no one was listening to me, everyone had moved on from that day but me.
I came across a post by Candice Gerber about a Stroke Club at Northside Hospital – only an hour from my house. Through a couple of conversations, Candice decided to put me in touch with one of their Stroke Center Volunteers, Cindy Veenstra, who happened to be a two-time stroke survivor.
Cindy and I met and we talked for five hours! It was so nice to talk to someone who knows and understands what’s going through my mind as I work through accepting my new “normal.” She shared with me her struggles and the journey she’s been on to get where she is now. She also let me know that I will still have days that I’m tired and moments when my brain will “misfire,” and that’s okay.
It helped to vent a little, but mostly it helped to be heard by someone who truly understands what I’m going through. Cindy is my stroke hero. Meeting her and hearing her story had a great impact on my life.
I’m now back to running races and living life on my own terms.
I’m grateful for this network and for the support we can provide one another here.