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I am a first time author. Welcome to my debut book.
My name is Grant Victoro and I am a stroke survivor. Following a near fatal stroke, my family and friends found it very difficult to come to terms with. While in hospital and rehab, I was inundated with visitors and family. After being discharged and returning home, everything changed. At the lowest point in his life, they all abandoned me. Without a support system, I was forced to face the daily challenges the stroke threw at me alone. My marriage of fourteen years crumbled, when my wife moved out with the kids. Sadly, I learnt the hard way that you only get to truly know people when faced with one of life’s ultimate challenges. After all was said and done, the true colours of those around me suddenly flared up and erupted through the surface like an exploding volcano. Only to break up a once happy family, destroying the lives of everyone involved. Before I knew it, I was on my own, lonely and isolated.
Returning From the Blink of an Eye is a book that will hopefully inspire other stroke survivors and their families to realise that life is not over once you have suffered a stroke. When looking for audio or ebooks to read, about other stroke survivors, all I could ever find were stories about cases where the family and friends stuck around. This was very far from my situation.
How was I to handle this?
What happens when they all decide to up and leave?
What happens when the medical fraternity tell you there is nothing they can do for you?
That is exactly what happened to me. Paralysed down one side of my body and with nowhere to turn, I was facing a very daunting and uncertain future. Instead of throwing my arm up in the air and giving up, I decided to prove everyone wrong. More importantly, I was doing it for myself. Single-handedly – excuse the pun – I started a very demanding rehabilitation programme, both with and without the assistance of therapist's. With one hand and one finger, I kept a journal as to my daily progress; a journal that would later prove to be vital in the writing of this book. The journal helped me to maintain my sanity.
My whole life, I have been a fighter. Nothing just fell into my lap, unless it was from a bird flying over. I had to work and fight hard for what I had. This would be no different. I was not going to just lie down now and call it quits. Little did I realise what a mammoth task I had embarked on and what lay ahead of me. But then; such tasks have never scared me away before. I am always up for a good challenge. The more I was reassured that I was wasting my time, the more determined I became. I was not ready to listen to any external negativity, from anyone. If you want me to achieve a goal, just tell me it’s not possible. Then take a step back and watch.
To me, my life had suddenly been put on hold for a while; it was definetly not over. Although the recovery progress would be slow, as slow as a snail on a treadmill! I was determined to get better. I would record any micro improvements that I noticed. Very often, these improvements were so trivial to the outsider that they would not be able to see anything, but more importantly, I could at least feel them. These micro improvements were giant strides to me, strides in the right direction. Unable to contain my excitement, I would tell anyone close by. This did not always go down well with strangers and I am pretty sure that many thought I should be in a straightjacket in a very well padded cell where I could not hurt myself.
Unbeknown to me, there were those in wheelchairs, at the therapy practice, who would watch me intently. Using me for motivation and their role model, they often wished they could be in my position. I was not there to impress anyone. I was just a young man in his mid-forties trying to survive and lead a so-called ‘normal’ life.
What is a normal life, you might ask? For forty-six years, I was a fully abled person. I was just trying to return to what I was. I hadn't given it a second thought that there were people out there who were worse off than me. People who had been watching me and wishing that they could be like me. To them, being able to do what I fought so hard to achieve was normal. My physiotherapist even commented on the drive and will power I had to recover. She had never seen such determination before.
After four years of intensive therapy, I was in a better position to get around. Endless hours in the gym had paid off. We all go to gym for different reasons, some go to lose weight, some for health reasons and others want to bulk up. But, to me, gym was therapy, a means to recover, a means to an end.
Through all of this, I had to endure some horrific circumstances, people could not believe what I was going through and I was regularly told that I should write a book. After considering it for a long time, I decided to start writing. At first, I was worried if I would have enough for a book. Very soon, I realised that I had to cut back to keep it to a readable length, and so my debut book was born.
My greatest wish in the world is for other stroke survivors and their families to learn from what I had to endure. Let them realise that, with enough perseverance, they can improve their quality of life. Surviving a traumatic stroke can change a person. The sudden paralysis is very traumatic, to say the least. With a loving and caring family by your side, you can get through the hard times. Coming to terms with the sudden changes is unbelievably daunting. I would never wish what I had to endure on my worst enemy.
Writing my debut book was very therapeutic for me and at times brought back memories. Some brought a smile to my face; others were very painful to relive and brought tears to my eyes. The book was written from the heart and I have tried to bring that across in my writing.
I hope that others can gain some inspiration from my book. Know that you or your loved ones life is not over. Its just begining.