I’m starting this blog the way I intend to go on – with optimism and forward-thinking determination. Starting this blog has been so difficult for me. Having a stroke that has affected the language centre of my brain, called Aphasia, has made writing very difficult.
Aphasia (pronounced uh-fey-zhuh) is a condition caused by injury to the brain and affects a person’s ability to communicate. People with aphasia may have difficulty expressing themselves when speaking, difficulty understanding the speech of others, and difficulty reading and writing. Although intelligence is not affected, aphasia often results in frustration and isolation by the inability to communicate feelings, thoughts and emotions.
I naturally have a critical eye when it comes to my writing and I know that the fluidity, clarity and tone of my writing has been affected. I am not able to write to my own satisfaction, get very frustrated and find it almost impossible to be happy with the final result. Feeling comfortable with the writing of my blog post feels unattainable and it’s really daunting to publish anything. However, I am forcing myself to publish some content.
Why are you doing this to yourself if it’s so hard? Well, I am taking a U of T course (Foundations of Digital Communications Strategy & Social Media) that requires me complete 10 posts and I am determined to achieve that, but it’s also because I feel that I have a lot to discuss and share. I also believe that writing and forcing my brain to utilize my language centres are a great rehab exercise to improve my skills (á la Neuroplasticity and stay tuned about that in future posts). So here I am, inflicting my awkward prose upon you as practice!
We’ve all heard the common idioms like “live for the moment”, or “use the good china”. In that vein, I have always lived my life under a similar mantra —life is too short, to have enough money, to be thin enough, or successful enough. You can’t wait to live until that magical day when all the ‘enough’s’ align to start living, take chances or do that thing that you have always dreamt of.
I had my first open heart surgery at 13 years old. Yes, it was hard, but it not only gave me the gift of a heart valve which functioned well and helped my body carry me for a bit longer, it gave me a deep appreciation of how tentative live can be and the foresight and determination to live my life fully in spite of any obstacles.
As a result, I try to take the reins of my life and drive it as far and as fast as I can. I challenge myself physically and mentally, I try new foods, I travel, I read, I open my mind, I have experiences and I have never let my challenges stop me from living a full life. Tasting the wine, savouring the richest sweets, walking those steps to challenge myself – and always drinking the good champagne, not keeping it for that rainy day when some worthy event comes along.
“Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
– Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams
Every day I wake up alive and open my eyes, and still have vision to see, I feel that I have an obligation to do something with it. Every day I can read, and think and experience the world, those are the days when I use the “good china”, drink the good champagne, and celebrate. Celebrate what is still to come, and take the opportunities to simply share a dinner with good friends, take time to visit family overseas, or just enjoy the music I love.
I was told at 9 years old, that I would be lucky to live to my 30’s. At my 30th birthday, I was ecstatic and celebrated “I am still here”! Even after these past years of eye surgeries, hemorrhages, back deterioration and a stroke, I still try to drink the good champagne, even more determinedly than before. I really don’t know how long this body of mine is going to keep me going…it might be another 5 years, it might be 10 years and it might even be 20 (if I get really lucky), but I will always drink the good champagne.