My name is Jonathan Miller. I am 35 years old living in State College, Pennsylvania. On February 22 of 2006, while living in Central New Jersey, I was to undergo brain surgery to remove a benign mass, which was discovered (more on this to follow) on the right temporal lobe of my brain. Though the surgery was successful in removing the mass, a blood vessel located on the Thalamus was hit at an unknown point during the procedure. The “bleed” was neither noticed by the surgeons, nor documented, nor discussed in post surgery discussions. In the immediate days that followed, we all knew that something was wrong…and this is where my journey begins…
I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea what the term “stroke,” meant until it seemed to hit me over the head with a sledgehammer when I was 28 years old. And In those first few days after the surgery, a wave of panic, confusion, frustration, fear took hold of me. It’s a feeling that I will never forget–a feeling that most will never understand, not unless you’ve been there.
In the agonizing days and weeks and months that followed the surgery, the truth was that I didn’t know if I was making true gains to get back to the life that I once lived or if all these medical professionals were simply getting me prepared for a new life in a completely different body. I simply wanted to hear an honest answer, yet I never seemed to get one. At several points though my recovery, I felt like I was alone in this journey. Now granted, I had an enormous network of family and friends that rallied for my campaign back to health but on my lowest of days–especially in the rehabilitation hospital I just wanted to talk to someone who experienced this. I needed someone who could give me guidance on what to expect. But more than anything, I wanted someone to get me motivated to recover and press on.
I don’t have all the answers, but I have lived it. Everyday of my life revolves around it. Recovery takes a long time and the results vary from survivor to survivor. I’m convinced that it’s all about what you put into it mentally and physically and with the people that you surround yourself with as well. This site is intended to inspire survivors, coach the caregivers, and maybe even teach a thing or two to the professionals.
After seven years, it’s time to speak out [www.outstroken.com]. If you, a loved one, a friend, or a colleague need a resource for recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury or stroke, I hope you find this site encouraging and inspiring.