Gratitude Schmatitude

Quenby, (I know it’s serious when people say my first name) ...

“Quenby,” said the world-class neurosurgeon who just happened to be on call the day I had a stroke nine days after the birth of my daughter, Khaleesi.

Not a little numb-your-face stroke, but a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a rare and deadly kind of bleeding stroke.

“Quenby (as I sat sobbing in his office, looking at a completely clear scan of my brain on the big screen), did you know that when Bill Gates was being interviewed they asked him what the key to happiness was? This man with so much influence and experience? Gratitude. Gratitude was his response. We should appreciate our days, our relationships, our time — because money comes and money goes, things fade away, the present turns to past moment by moment. But true, deep gratitude is the key to longevity, and perhaps happiness.

“And I would wager to say that you, Quenby, when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with your family this year, will have more to be thankful for than anyone else at that table.”

I was humbled.

I have never been a particularly grateful type of person.

The word gratitude starts to color our season like fake fruit in a cornucopia every fall, and I have never been a fan. Of course I was thankful (or so I thought), but it seemed so cliché, so . . . not my type of thanks-giving — until this particular season of life swept in.

Now gratitude paints my days, for . . .

Clockwise from upper right: Quenby, stepdaughter Zoe, daughter Khaleesi, son Cooper, stepson Austin, partner David

My son, Cooper, and his new found sense of humor; his boyhood returning after life stressors had stolen his joy.

My daughter, Khaleesi, the way she feels as if she is an extension of myself, another appendage that I would be groping aimlessly without.

My partner, David, the strength and patience to lovingly look upon me in the darkest of hours, and smile and find a way to draw laughter out of an empty well. To have embraced my son when I could not, to reassure him and give him a sense of security as his world was unravelling. To love me and hold me when I had no clue which way was up.

My family, the sound of my father’s footsteps walking the hospital hallways to bring me an espresso every morning. The pop-top keychain he brought me from the gift shop. My mother, taking my tears to the streets, forcing me to walk off my fear. David’s family and their parade of encouragement.

My big brother, the first voice I heard upon waking in ICU, I could not see him but his voice brought me comfort.

My little sister, the yogi with all her silly new age crap that she would send over via text or email followed up with “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

And then my friends, (and you all know exactly who you are), there are so many of you. I love you and one day hope to embrace you like you embraced me. The swooping in and scooping up of my slumped over soul — again and again, day after day, turning my sorrows into laughter — sharing in this long march out of the bog of disappointment.

And to the Maker, who gave me back everything I could have lost, everything I was never truly grateful for because I never knew how to be.

Perhaps you have been there, too.

Perhaps we all at some point need to lose our vision to truly see again.

And for that I am truly thankful.

QUENBY SCHUYLER | Survivor Saint Charles, Illinois


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Stroke Rehabilitation

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

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Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-art series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
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AHA-ASA Resources

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Stroke Family Warmline

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Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

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Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.

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Tips for Daily Living Library

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To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try
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The parietal lobe helps us make sense of sensory information, like where our bodies and body parts are in space, our sense of touch, and the part of our vision that deals with the location of objects.

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Of the four lobes that make up the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe is the largest. It plays a huge role in many of the functions that make us human — memory, language, movement, judgment, abstract thinking.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

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Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!