Sunday, August 21, 2005

Starting From Scratch / What happens when you’re on your way to Stanford and suddenly everything goes south?: "Life can change in an instant. I am a perfect example of that.

I was all ready for college. I had received a half scholarship to Stanford to play volleyball. My senior year was going great. I was having the time of my life. We were having a great basketball season. We beat Salpointe - - the second time this year. The fans rushed the court. And then something happened. In a second, my life completely changed.

I had a stroke. I was paralyzed on my right side, couldn't talk and had many learning difficulties. The doctors weren't sure if I could ever walk, talk, or use my arm again. For the last 3 1/2 months I have worked day and night. It really is hard to retrain the brain.

During the day, the physical therapists work on improving my strength and balance with my right leg. The speech therapists work with my clarity of speech and my academic difficulties. The occupational therapists work on improving the strength, coordination and overall use of my right arm. At night, I go home and continue to work on my areas of difficulty. I practice walking, do speech homework and play language games with my parents, use a slant board, do two-handed wall pushups, and use my biofeedback hand mentor.

During all of this, I have felt fear and depression -- almost all for the first time in my life. I am working through this and continuously work harder every day. I will never give up.

All of us will be faced with obstacles throughout our lives. We have to persevere through these things and learn from them. We will have to work hard to reach our goals. Because -- as I have learned -- life can change in an instant."

life is short man! work and live hard.

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