World Stroke Day 2014

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.

Michael in the hospital

Michael in the hospital

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