Claudia's Blog 15 – What would you do…?

Claudia Fortunato-Napolitano is the Happiness Hero at John’s Crazy Socks. While still a young woman (Claudia is only 35), she suffered a major stroke in January 2017. Claudia is an essential team member at John’s Crazy socks working to spread happiness and show every day what is possible when you give a person a chance. Claudia is sharing her recovery in this blog, so others can learn of the challenges facing stroke recovery patients and people in recovery can take strength and inspiration from knowing they are not alone.

We had a staff lunch on Friday.  Linda and Maria, my-coworkers, got us lotto tickets while they were out picking up the lunch.  We started playing “If I won the lotto’” game.  Someone asked, “If you won the lotto, would you still work?”  And I said, “I wouldn’t go back to work.”  And I got asked the question: “What would you do then?”  And I was like, “Become a professional tourist.” Because I thought about it and realized if I ever had a second stroke, I would probably die, and I would like to travel the world first. And Nick, someone else that I work with, said, “You aren’t going to have a stoke again.”  But the truth is, I could. 

In May I got rushed to the emergency room because I thought I was having a second stroke. The workers in the emergency room thought so, too.  So, I have no idea how much time I have.  I get up every day and don’t know if I have 6 months, 1 year, 20 years, 50 years. And it’s hard to know that.  I choose happiness, and for the rest of my life, how ever long that may be, I will choose happiness.  But unless you are like me, living from paycheck to paycheck, you would not be working, I think?  If my husband was making a lot of money, and my job was something that I needed, then I would not be working.  And I love my job, I really love it.  But, if I won the lotto, my husband and I would sell the house, and I would travel all the time.  And we love our family and friends, so we would come home, and we will fly them to where ever we are at the moment.  That will be a beautiful life!

The second thing I thought in regard to Nick’s comment, and I didn’t know this before I had a stroke, but the fact that it’s highly possible I could have a second stroke in the first 5 years is something I have to be conscience of.  Stroke Awareness is something that we all need to be aware of.  That is why I walked in the Comeback Trail to promote Stroke Awareness.  I know a lot about strokes now, but I don’t think that most people do. I wouldn’t have half the knowledge I do if I didn’t have one.  I think it’s important to promote Stroke Awareness, and I am proud to be in a fundraiser for the National Stroke Association.  All your donations go to the National Stroke Association and we are walking for Stroke Awareness.

And the third thing that I thought was about the second stroke.  I am crying as I write this because when I think of the possibility of having a second stroke, it scares the crap out of me.  And I think what if I had my second stroke and I make it? Will I be severely handicapped? Makes me think about Sean and my parents. How could they take care of me?

See I don’t do that often… I don’t think about having a second stroke often. But sometimes I have to. 

I’m sorry to end this blog post here. I just have to remember: Every day, every week, I take more steps. It is hard, but I keep getting better because I choose happiness.