Claudia's Blog #10 - Happiness

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.

I had a good day.  Every week, Kristie and I shoot a video to accompany my blog.  It was one of those days.  I suggested that we shot the video before lunch.  I told her that I was better before I ate.  When we went to film the video, I did it in ONE TAKE! No pauses. No forgetting my words.  No saying the wrong thing.  When I finished I said, “Kristie, I think I did it in one take.”  And she thought about it and said, “Oh my god, you did!”  Later, she put it up on the computer screen and called me over. She said, “It’s really good.”   I watched it and started to cry.   I was so proud.   I needed that, that one sign to get me moving forward.  So, I went out that day and I stood a little taller because I am proud of what I accomplished. 

I believe that happiness is a choice.  See, I could look at this video experience and get down on myself.  I could say, “Why does it take me you so long to make a video?”  But instead, I chose to be happy.  I said to Kristie,” Look, it only took me 4 months to record in one take.”  Truthfully, I know that I will probably not get it done in one shot again, not for a while.  But knowing that I did it once and I can do it again keeps me going.

I feel like I am happy, so I am not continuing my happy pills.  I went down to 5 milligrams. I have been taking them for a week and I’m going to take them another week.  And, if all goes well, I will come off them.  I am scared a little bit, but I am happy. There’s a lot of to be thankful for. I have a full-time job with benefits that I love.  I am in love with my husband.  I have a family that supports me.  I have friends who take the time to be there for me.  My birthday is coming up, and I am happy to be alive and celebrating thirty-six.  

Christmas is almost here, which I’m looking forward to because I love Christmas. And I mean, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!  Christmas music will be playing and can’t wait to go Christmas shopping to get the perfect gift for everyone on my list. I will be wrapping gifts and sipping hot chocolate and watching Christmas movies.  For the first time, I will get to shop for London, my puppy.  It is fantastic! 

So, you see, last year I was dealing with the stroke, and now I embrace the stroke, and I am happy.  Don’t get me wrong, I struggle with the issues my stroke caused, but for the most part, I am happy.  So, I am going to say goodbye to the happy pills.  They did me good, but I don’t think I need them anymore, and this is a beautiful thing.

Every day, every week, I take more steps. It is hard, but I keep getting better. And that makes me happy!  😊