December 2010: Stroke, snow and stoicism

Stroke,snow and stoicism

When I thought about launching my first project the Research & Hope website I envisaged all kinds of potential obstacles. Could I complete the research? Would anyone be interested? Would the medical establishment recognise my work? As it turned out, the answers were all positive. I was able to research 24 treatments for stroke that might be helpful in addition to the standard medical approach. The feedback was far better than I could have imagined and I am treated with respect by the health care professionals I meet.

What I could not have predicted was the snow! We had chosen the launch date; the press had agreed to publish articles that day and we had two weeks to finalise everything. Then it began to snow. Instead of running frantically between meetings and interviews I found myself sitting at home looking through a frosted window at thick snow, treacherous roads, and the ice sculpture that was once my car.

Dealing with setbacks

Life since Steve’s stroke has been beset by false starts and unforeseen obstacles: Steve has had numerous operations, state benefits have disappeared without notice and social situations have changed in the most unexpected ways. However, despite all the frustrations and setbacks I have never stopped pushing forward. I constantly try to remind myself to take a step back, accept that there are things I cannot control, and try to take charge when I can make a difference. It is not easy, but I usually find my way in the end. It often helps to think about one of the great Stoic philosophers, Marcus Aurelius, who wrote:

‘If you are distressed by any external thing, it is not this thing which disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.’

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