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 am looking forward to my week again. I am going to Dominican Republic. It’s Sean’s year to pick the trip, so it will be a beach vacation. If I had it my way, we would be going to a city. But who cares? I am going to relax all day! And it will be just me and Sean. I haven’t had that in 3 years. 2 weeks! I cannot wait!
So, I was at the office and I got a call. It was a representative of a business that I dealt with earlier in the day. After the call I said to Marie, “I did not tell them that I suffer from a stroke because I did not mispronounce anything!” That was the first time I did that. It made me so happy, jubilant even. I am making progress. And we are 2 months until my 2-year anniversary, and I think about that all the time. I am thinking that if I don’t have my speech by then, will I ever get it back? I know I probably will, but I want to know what I will be thinking as I come up on my 3-year anniversary. Will I be thinking I am all better? But, maybe, the key is I am getting better. Maybe I will always think I am better, never fully healed. That is a scary thought that I will never be fully healed. But, as far as the person on the phone in concerned, I never had a stroke. So, I will focus on that, and think I am always better than I was last week.
I wore heeled booties on Friday!!! I was my first time since the stroke. And I wore them all day, even out after work. And I was so happy about it. It’s such a simple task, but one that I could not have for almost 2 years. I felt blessed. They are my hunter green booties. I got them, obviously, before the stroke. My sister, for example, she does not want to wear heels again. Her response to my text message on Friday was, “Good luck! I appreciate your ongoing interest- me I am happy to never wear heels again!” And I know that she was meaning this tongue in cheek kind of way, but it she was going to wear it to a wedding it would be a heel. And as far as dressing every day and wake up and I feel like wear a Dr. Martens, or I feel like wearing a heel. I am eclectic, and I love that. But I don’t feel like wear my Dr. Marten’s every day. I will like to wear my heels part of the time. And that is OK.
And as far as my speech goes, I am getting better. This weekend I went to a dinner at my friend Brendan apartment. First, I loved it because of the people who was there. Second, I loved it because as far as my speech goes, I had minimal interruptions from my aphasia. And I didn’t talk about my stroke, my aphasia, my recovery from my stroke at all and I loved it. And I didn’t talk about it, because I didn’t feel the need to talk about it. And I went in to my speech therapy this morning, and I told her that. She wrote it down. I am said, “I think we are finally getting back to normal.”
I think that it is a good week, and I am happy. As far as talking, it takes time and I am fighting every day. If I want to relax on the beach, I am going to do it. It’s OK.
Every day, every week, I take more steps. It is hard, but I keep getting better.