It’s only because I’ve been asked 4 times in 4 different places in the past 45 days that I write this blog…
I’ve had complete strangers approach me and asked if I had a stroke.
First of all I thank them for having the courage to ask and that it means a lot to me that a complete stranger would ask. Imagine a world where strangers actually care?
Now, I can see why they ask as the right side of my face is still paralyzed.
I have found 2 things occurring:
- Strangers just want to talk because someone in their family is going through something similar and it’s therapeutic for them to discuss their situation. In this instance the best thing I can do is listen and be compassionate. No correction to the real story is needed.
- Others are more inquisitive and ask what happened. In these instances I explain the FAST model to determine how to assess a stroke- which I did not have.
F = Facial paralysis?
A = Arms moving?
S = Speech difficulties?
T = Tell someone- call 911
Then I show them the scars on my arm and my face and explain that this is what the impact of head and neck cancer looks like and that I’m actually doing OK.
Initially all of this bothered me but now I hope people keep asking as it’s getting easier for me to answer as I build more confidence and I really value that people care. Also it continues to be therapeutic for me to tell this incredible story.