Claudia Fortunato-Napolitano is the Happiness Hero at John’s Crazy Socks. At the age of only 34, Claudia suffered a major stroke in January of 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.
Ok, I am going to feel better. This weekend was a depressing time for me. But out of the depression came hope. My aunt took me to lunch. I did not tell her about my depression, but she knew because she at been reading this blog. She told me - with Mark’s approval – if I could take off one day a week to go to occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and the stroke survivor’s group—that she would help me financially. That was huge. That was monumental. I could still make my mortgage. I am so thankful to my Aunt, I have no words. Best part is I can keep my health insurance if I work at least 30 hours a week.
This week, I will go to a stroke survivor’s group, and I will bring my mom because she will attend the caregiver’s support group. This is a huge deal for me. I have never been to one of those. It is a long one, it goes from 10:30 am- 1:15 pm. During the first part of the meeting, we are going to hear a guest speaker, then there is a 45-minute break for lunch. The second half, survivors and caregivers meet separately, with survivors receiving instruction from a physical therapist. I am excited to go to this.
I will go back on my happiness pills. I don’t want too, but if it gets me better, then I am OK with it. I think this support group might be a game-changer. Maybe if I listen to other stroke survivors, I will see everything that my support team tries to tell me. Maybe. Maybe if I talk to other stroke survivors, I will not feel so alone. Maybe. We’ll see. But I am going to try it. And that’s huge.
Sean, my husband, came with me to therapy last night. It was really good. I brought him because I didn’t feel like he understood the reasons for my depression. I learned during therapy that he wasn’t getting it because I wasn’t not telling him the whole truth. I felt relieved. I still feel it (the depression); it’s not going away. But as far as telling Sean, that was over. I love Sean, I really love Sean, and I am so appreciative of his ability to support me. And Sean really loves me. And I am still shocked by that. We are a relationship that no one can understand, but I am here to tell you it is a beautiful thing.
I told you I will being better, and I’m trying not to be angry or depressed. And as far as London, my dog, sleeping in our room. I am all for it. I think it makes me feel better. Sean, my husband, doesn’t like London sleeping in our bed, but he can go fly a kite! HA HA! This morning, he woke up, and London was in our bed by my side, and Sean flipped out. He reached up and pulled my headboard and broke it. I was so mad. I am still so mad. I love him, but I want London to continue sleeping in my bed, so London will stay if I have a say in it. Ha ha.
Thank you for reading my blogs over the past month. They are depressing. I am depressed. So now, as I begin my 2nd year post-stroke journey, I do it with hope of the future. And, I am quoting Thomas Jefferson again, “I like the dreams of the future better then the history of the past.” Now, as far as 2 year post-stroke, yes, I like the dreams of the future, the dreams of me talking without aphasia, and the dreams of me seeing the bright side of life. I will get there.
Every day, every week, I take more steps. It is hard, but I keep getting better. Maybe because I will have the happiness pills again, but I am trying. Trying is all you can do!