John and Judi's Story – A Message of Hope

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On June 20, 1995, John, age 55 had a massive stroke and was left with Aphasia.

Because of my faith I have always believed that the Lord was in control of my life; that He had a plan. Did I believe that now when my security (John’s good job and health) had been stripped away?

I found a note that I had written at this time. In part I wrote:
“I can only do all this with the Lord’s help. I’m very frightened. I’m afraid nothing is going to be the same! Right now it seems like all of this is bad, but I know that the Lord can do awesome things through this situation. Someday, we will be able to look back and see all the good that has come from it. I know the Lord is in control because I can see how His Grace is upholding me when I feel so helpless. I’m so blessed to have our three sons, great friends & family; great doctors and therapists at TIRR. Part of me says that I know God can restore John to good health and when HE does, we will give Him the credit; but if the Doctors’ tests show otherwise, I will have to think about other long term practical plans. I want to honor God in my actions. I really didn’t want to fail HIM…I wanted to Glorify Him! I felt I needed to be up and “Cheery” for John, but I didn’t feel that way.”

At TIRR the PT, OT, SP all asked what my “goals” were for John. I thought it was a crazy question. I said “I want John to be John again!”

I learned a lot about being a Caregiver to someone with aphasia. The most important lesson is that you must remember that the person with Aphasia is the same person inside and should be treated with respect.

John has great quality of life after 19 years. He can “say” most words if you give him enough time. John drives (after attending Rehabilitation Driving school). This gave him more independence and control over his life.

At the time of John’s stroke, there wasn’t any information on the internet on how to get better. Our son Joe called and told me we were starting a foundation; therefore, in 1997 the Aphasia Hope Foundation (www.aphasiahope.org) was born! AHF provides information on strokes, aphasia, and caregiving and provides guidance to Aphasia Survivors on their own road to recovery.

I look back on these 19 years and am thankful that instead of being defeated by the challenges, I relied on my Faith and sought God’s direction on each of our steps for John’s recovery. When confronted with dire doctor’s reports, I would make myself stand firm on the promises of God.

If I had succumbed to despair I would have missed God’s blessings that he had planned for John, for me, and for our sons and their families. I have clung to many bible verses during these 19 years but one is extra special to me: Romans 8:28: “For we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him who have called according to his purpose.”

At Thanksgiving, 2012 we celebrated our 50th Wedding anniversary with our Family (18) and renewed our wedding vows! We are blessed!

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