This is a very special episode because, instead of our usual expert guests, I am going to share with you a story of something I never imagined would happen in my life—

A few weeks ago, I suffered a stroke. I never imagined this would happen to me, so today’s episode is a little different — I want to share my experience, what I learned, and my advice to help you avoid something like this happening to you.

Here’s the story: In the middle of the night, I woke up feeling extremely restless and anxious. I grabbed the pillow out from under my wife’s head, apologized to her, and went back to sleep (which, in hindsight, is incredibly dangerous to do). Three hours later, our dog woke me up and I got dressed to go get him. I felt unsteady and groggy, but I had attributed that to my allergy medication. When I woke up in the morning, I opened my mouth and I noticed my speech was slurred, but I still blamed it on the medication. However, when we got downstairs and I tried to get the dog outside, I realized that I couldn’t figure out how to use the flashlight on my phone—and it all clicked together. I had had a stroke.

When you break your arm, you are able to roughly get a grasp on what the next few weeks of your recovery are going to look like, what modifications you are going to have to make, and when you get to return to normal. When you have a stroke, it is very different. I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to return to work, to keep doing this podcast, and there’s no way to know at that moment.

The day after going to the hospital and confirming that I had a stroke, they began performing some cognitive and physical therapy tests on me, and I passed. Steps have been taken that should prevent this from happening ever again, and my recovery is going well.

This experience left me with some things that are really important for me to share:

  • Like many others, I have been incredibly fearful of hospitals since the coronavirus. The precautions they were taking within the hospital, however, made me feel incredibly safe, possibly more than I would be grocery shopping. If there’s anything going on medically with you, please don’t avoid going to the hospital.
  • I felt that I was in the best shape of my life when this happened, but I had continually been working after just five hours of sleep, telling myself that if I loved what I do it’s not really work. But everything takes a toll, so make sure to take breaks and recharge yourself.

It’s hard to imagine this happening to you—I sure didn’t. But I was remarkably lucky. The stress we’re under now is extreme, and it’s important to do whatever we can to mitigate our risks. Because this could happen to anyone, and hopefully with some of this advice it won’t happen to you.

The most important thing right now is to focus on balance. And balancing all areas of your life, be it relationships, be it work, be it your side hustle, whatever you’re doing in your life. You need to control the time and control the energy spent around that so that you can be well.

Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.

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The Daily Helping is produced by Crate Media

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