This is a bit different for me, but today I thought I’d share a bit about my own story.
The reason I thought to do this is because the question does come up…and there is encouragement that may help you in your post-stroke journey.
I hope you know that this is to serve you.
I honestly hope and desire the best for you and your family.
I remember Being home ALONE for the first time in months.
I’m staring out the 2nd story window of my bedroom where it was fall and the colors were changing.
I could see the mountains rising up, and it was a beautiful day.
At the same time, I’m thinking about ending it all.
Yes! I was literally debating suicide.
What would things look like for my family if I was gone?
- Would they have things a little easier by not having to babysit and manage me?
- Was I going to be this incompetent forever?
I had plenty of life insurance and I was honestly thinking that my family would be better off with the life insurance money, instead of the burden of having me there.
Just a few months prior to this, I’m the sales manager and owner of a multi-million-dollar manufacturing company in Oregon and I was preparing for a business trip up to Seattle the next day.
Of course, I was very passionate about our company and we were laying the foundation for a great retirement.
We would sell our company in a few more years.
All that I had worked for; toward creating something so that my wife and I wouldn’t have to worry about the money when I hit those retirement years, would come to fruition.
I had three partners and each of us ran an aspect of the company. I was the Sales manager.
One morning, I felt off a bit.
I never did this, but I decided to lay down and take a nap that day.
The next thing I know, my wife gets home from work and checked on me.
Everything seemed okay at the time and so I ate dinner in bed and just stayed there for the night. We thought I was just coming down with a cold or the flu.
Babette (which is my wife) left for work the next morning @ 5:00 am, after checking with me, and I was feeling okay.
I got up and showered.
As I was getting ready for my trip, I got a call from my nephew.
We would talk all the time about business stuff early in the morning. But this day, he said “What’s wrong Uncle Keith?”. I just sort of laughed and said “What are you talking about”. He tells me to hang on a few minutes before heading to Seattle, and I said “OKAY”.
Then, my business partner called me and we had a similar discussion.
“What’s wrong with you”, they were both saying.
The next thing I know, Babette gets home from her job and takes me to the hospital.
The Stroke Journey Began…
Before the stroke I was proud to be an owner of this company.
We all worked very hard. I felt accomplished and was getting my retirement all planned out.
But after the stroke, I was feeling majorly depressed.
I napped every day.
I couldn’t remember things like people’s names, which was one of the things I was very proud of when I was the Sales Manager at my company.
Then, I was told by my Neurologist that I had about a year to a year and a half to get better…And that was “as good as it would get”!
The worst part is I believed it!
One of my business partners were with me at that appointment and he believed it as well.
The next thing I know, I’m being asked to leave the company!!
The company that I had help build and was what I had worked so hard to create so that we had a good retirement in a few years!
- How can I provide for my family?
- Will I ever live a normal life?
- What does – A Normal Life- even look like after a stroke!!
Remember what I was saying in the beginning of this story…how I was staring out the window?
At this time, tears flowing, it came to me and I decided to let my focus change.
I thought…Wait a minute! I must have made it through this stroke for a reason.
There must be many more out there who have had or are going through the same depressed feelings of discouragement that I have.
The anger and unhappiness about life changing, without my own personal choice of making it happen, was huge. And I knew others must be filling the same way.
So…as I was standing there looking out the window, suddenly I had a feeling come over me, and my thoughts shifted.
- I can accomplish more!
- I can be the husband, father, grandfather, and friend that is so important to me to be as I move forward!
I didn’t want to be known as someone that ended his life! Think of how self-centered that really is.
I didn’t want to be someone who gave up on his dream of helping others.
I knew there would be trials and hard times moving ahead…But Did I really want to help? Or was this just a thought.
I really did want to make an impact to others
Someone that can make a difference in our “new” world.
I decided right then and there to go on this path of figuring out what could help stroke survivors and how I could help make a difference in this world of depression and anxiety.
I shifted my thinking!
I started to focus on how to overcome, and how to grow my own confidence, while helping others who needed it, rebuilding their own Foundation back in order to gain back their own confidence after having such an event in life.
This is when I went to work to create the BASE Program.
What is BASE?
BASE is the Foundation that we all need in order to get on with life after stroke…to get out of the depths of depression, anxiety and the attitudes of Hopelessness.
After my stroke, and my decision to move on with my life, I couldn’t find anything that would help me regain my confidence.
At least anything that didn’t cost a fortune!
My insurance wasn’t going to pay for this kind of training, so I decided I would build it myself.
At first, I had created a book and a worksheet.
Each section of this book represented BASE.
- “B” stands for Belief. It is about building your self-importance. It’s about making a commitment to yourself and changing your focus toward doing the hard work that is needed to increase your confidence and move forward.
- “A” is about Attitude. You’ve got to keep a good attitude to make change! I realize that this goes back and forth for us all. I am no different! But managing your emotions and being positive is a mind-set that you’ve got to have to continue to move forward. Depression can set in if we allow it. Maybe you’re dealing with that now! I know I did. However, if you can gain the right attitude and have something and/or someone to help you move forward over time, you will for sure.
- “S” is Strength. The Strength Modules are about spending quality time investing in yourself. Let me ask…ARE YOU DOING THAT?? Are you looking for your full potential after your stroke? Are you wanting to persevere through these tough times? These are questions you have to answer for yourself.
- “E” stands for Energy. Here is where we ask “Are you looking to find a New Passion?” Looking for a new vision to move you forward with some confidence and the right attitude will give you the motivation to continue on this journey. You can find that new vision. You can get better and move forward.
Then, after some testing and work, I found that the workbook wasn’t enough.
I went back to work and created the BASE Program that is now available. I am currently offering it for $47.95.
It is 15 Modules of Training that can each be taken at your own pace, with worksheets that will help you to move forward after stroke and/or traumatic brain injury.
After some time with this, I found that people needed someone to talk with. Someone to listen to their story and struggles…to help them through this time of challenge.
I decided it was time to get certified as a coach…really a mentor!
I am proud to say that I help many folks with their own journey of gaining confidence and being productive as they move forward.
Let me finish by saying that you have what it takes to get better, and better.
Do you believe it?
Sometimes we need a little encouragement to move forward. I understand that.
But other times, we have to make a decision on our own to make the change that is wanted.
I believe in you.
It is my true desire that you deem yourself worthy of the work it will take to move forward and have a great life.
To have a “Strength after Stroke” life.
Committed to YOUR Recovery