In honor of World Stroke Day, we asked Michael Mackie to reflect on how having a stroke changed his life. Read on to learn more about how Michael’s life perspective has changed.
Today is World Stroke Day — a day that resonates loud and clear with yours truly. Four years ago, I found myself partially paralyzed from a stroke. Or to be wholly specific … a right cerebral infarction. World Stroke Day also reminds me of how radically different I’m living my life than I did pre-stroke.
When you nearly keel over from a life-threatening emergency, it always puts a few things in perspective. Here’s how it has personally changed me over the last 4+ years…
1) I cherish my parents and close friends more. They keep me sane, healthy and remind me that I knocked on death’s door. And they will always drop whatever they’re doing to ensure that I’m taken care of… and fussed over.
2) I rarely say no. Right after my stroke, I made a pact to myself that I would not decline a single invitation to do anything for a solid year. I still live by that rule of thumb. From skydiving to dude ranching to ballroom dancing … I’ve tried everything. Heck, I even flew to Berlin for a weekend because a friend invited me. Who does that?! And it’s all thanks to a slight brain explosion.
3) I chill when my body tells me to. For the first few months after my stroke, I would have debilitating bouts of fatigue that would come out of nowhere. The old me would have tried to push through it. The new me takes a 20-minute siesta wherever, whenever. And I’m a better person for it.
And 4) When people say, “Wow, you’re lucky!”, I agree with them. I am lucky to be here and that my stroke wasn’t worse. Divine intervention had a big hand in it, for sure. (And quick thinking on the part of doctors and nurses) But, yep, I was lucky … and remain so to this day.
When my friend Kristi would say, “Have a blessed day” on her answering machine, I used to make fun of her. Not anymore. Now I tell others to have a blessed day … because that’s what it is.