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I recently posted about a great book, Will Your Way Back, by James Osbourne and wanted to post a few more thoughts on the book now that I have finished reading.

The first half of the book as I stated in my first post had me thinking he & I had similar experiences. The second half I found my main take-away being that Stroke & SCIs are very different!  I would say the main difference is that stroke survivors are more in cortical shock and remain in this cognitive daze, including a very heavy dose of denial for a longer period than most SCI survivors may go through. 

What Jamie endured not only in the past, but very much to this very day he illustrates in intimate detail his day-to-day account of just what it is like to live through life with an SCI. The biggest differentiator sounds to be physical pain.  I experienced very little dating all the way back to day 1, and still don’t really today too much. Besides the occasional sore back when I realize I’m not engaging my core muscles enough or my knee reminding myself I’m not walking in good alignment, that’s about it. Jamie states he fluctuates from 1 2 or 3 all the way up to a 10 (scale of 10) daily.

I would say we each had and are very much still on our own journeys of hardship & recovery on so many levels. Besides the past three very difficult years, there seems to be worsening depression at about year three & the onset of epilepsy certainly didn’t help my way forward at all.

Today I was out riding my trike around Seward Park and neighborhood and really in my own zone, feeling good. I occasionally can find something where I’m able to lose myself in the moment without a care in the world, sometimes even forgetting that I’m disabled.  I was stopped waiting to turn onto the main road where I couldn’t help to overhear a couple of cyclists riding by (obvious they were buddies) both riding what looked to be a similar race-class bikes I rode pre-stroke. One asked the other “Hey want to do a quick loop around the park and after run up that beast (pointing up Orcas Rd)?” I then felt a wave of envy & sadness wash over me thinking back when this ride would have hardly been a training ride for me, and here I am in the state I find myself in. I then think of what Jamie writes throughout the book, his mantra is “Define Your terms, take a stand, and chose to win.”

One of my favorite chapters, Jamie lists out the below lessons he’s learned..

  1. Accept that life isn’t fair
  2. Make the best of it
  3. Play the hand you’re dealt
  4. Focus on things you can do.
  5. practice overcoming.
  6. Seek mental health intervention.
  7. Pace yourself
  8. (for the next twelve, read the book)

His book was a true inspiration of someone who can muster up the greatest fortitude to keep going day-to-day, where most would not.