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March 28, 2019

Claudia Fortunato-Napolitano is the Happiness Hero at John’s Crazy Socks. While still a young woman (Claudia is only 36), 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.

Everyday I go online and read the posts from @Stromiesand I am flabbergasted at the number of young survivors there are out there.  It’s amazing!  If we all get together to fight for research and to spread awareness—we will win.  I would love to create a two- day conference for stroke survivors and invite neurologists to talk about their research and plans for future research.  And we can invite some speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to talk about their experiences with young survivors.  I would invite bankers to talk about paying your mortgage and your bills, paying these therapists when insurance won’t, and having a medical savings account (And it be perfect if you have it as pre-tax).  I will also invite therapists to talk about their findings with young stroke survivors and, in case anyone needed it, some emotional support.  But who would pay for this two-day conference?  I bet I can get a grant.  That’s an interesting thought…

See, I would love if I could get a job in fundraising and planning for the research of stroke survivors.  I would publicly speak, if given the chance.  This national news story regarding Luke Perry has me inspired to do more.  I really think I could be the lobbyist for young stroke survivors. Actually, that would be great because I would fight for the chance to do research and promote awareness.  Too bad there is nothing out there for the young stroke survivors.  Maybe, if I contacted the American Stroke Association, and volunteered I could find out about the stroke survivors’ event planner.  I would love that—to make plans for stroke survivors.  A conference, social time, and emotional time.  Maybe even trips.  I would love to be a part of the process of getting young survivors ready to go out, to see a movie, to go to happy hour, to see Big Ben (traveling), to see the research neurologists have made, and to be all together.  We can cry, laugh, stutter, and be ourselves.   No one can see how hard it is to be myself, to be ourselves.  We have to get past the depression and feel happiness again.

Or a life coach?

I think that I would be an awesome life coach.  Before and after the stroke, I had a good balance between my work life and my personal life.  I think answering work emails on your phone after work is a reaction to the mobile- driven world. 15 years ago, we never checked our email beyond when we were at work.  I hate that.  I hate being at work beyond my scheduled time.  I will teach about that.  Since my stroke, I covet my personal time.  I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but the way I see it, we don’t know how much time we have left on Earth.  I might die of a second stroke, or I might die walking down the street and a bus could hit me.  The point is, no one knows when they might die, so would you like to be at work or experiencing life to the fullest?  Maybe work is your hobby.  That’s great.  Really, if you can say that, great, more power to you.  But if you are like me, and work is not your hobby, work is work, and you can work hard, but when you go out the door, you need personal time. My point is that I would be an outstanding life couch, if I do say so myself.  HA HA! Enjoy your life while you’re healthy enough to do so.

Every day, every week, I take more steps. It is hard, but I keep getting better… 

 


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