Friday, March 9, 2012


The right hemisphere of the human brain has one set of motor neurons to control all movement on the left side of the body. Because the stroke damaged that section of my brain, I now make bizarre involuntary movements – similar to a dog that shakes its leg during a belly scratch. I rub my left eye … my fingers straighten.

My hope for regaining control depends on forging new neural connections between my healthy brain tissue and nerves. I often feel electrical impulses shooting through areas of my left side. When I feel these twinges, I visualize my neural pathways branching out like a root system.

The stroke has had a similar effect on my relationships. Word of it traveled to my family and friends; it stretched into the past to people I hadn't heard from in years; it branched out to friends of friends and total strangers.

The blog has contributed to this phenomenon, connecting me with survivors across the continent and readers around the world. I used to think people who put their lives on the Internet were odd. Who would want to be so public? Now I can't imagine recovering without it. Suffering in isolation makes the suffering so much greater.

Like my motor neurons, these human connections move me. In the face of mortality, fears and pretenses melt away, making my interactions honest and intense. Even strangers have become more accessible – they initiate conversation, they offer help.

The stroke has shown me that the pathways between us exist. We just have to access them.


  1. I also appreciate the connections and support of our blogging community. It is hard to know how much is reasonable to share sometimes, but like you said suffering in isolation has to be worse than being open.

    I have met a lot of wonderful people in the past few years and made a few dear friends. A few people that I thought were friends sadly turned out to not be friends through thick and thin.

  2. Bingo! We ARE all connected; @Linda, I have found that post-stroke, some of the bonds I'd have sworn were strongest pre-stroke really weren't. And others are far stronger than I knew. Everything about having a stroke has educated me about connections between me and other people, even strangers.

  3. New technology for motor recovery is exciting, but my social connections are the glue that keep me striving.

  4. Ditto to all the above. I would never believe that I would put any of my life on the internet, but then I would have missed connecting with tons of wonderful people walking through the same issues as myself. I'm so thankful to be connected and not isolated in problem solving through recovery.

  5. I love your directness. I try to stay living in the moment and value honesty and intensity. So often I have sat on the sidelines - dealing with any type of physical or mental challenge is better when I dare to be connected with others. You are always amazing! - Janet Mc

  6. I love the connections you make with physical and emotional recovery. I, too, have found the blogging and the virtual community so therapeutic.