Monthly Affirmation

may I be I is the only prayer - not may I be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong. ~e.e. cummings

Who and Why FAQ

Who am I?

I am a stroke survivor. I am Philip Cushing.

Why I started this blog.

Why is this here? Essentially it is the beginning of the new me. What has to change in me to make things right. To understand where I am now lets back up a month or two.


Feb 14th weekend. My brother brings his three children for the weekend and two were on antibiotics getting over the wonderful crud.

Feb 16th. I finish what I had started in 1987. I almost finished college then but life got in the way. In 2006 I went back to school and graduated with a Bachelors in Information Systems/Visual Communication. This was the day I graduated.

Feb 19th. Start feeling not so hot. Write it off as the kids gave me something.

March 3rd. Still cannot beat it and go to the doctor. I have been noticing balance issues and when there find that I cannot sign in correctly.

March 5th. After being lectured by my doctor and am now on steroids for an inner ear infection I get chills and pains in chest and left arm at work. I go to the ER that evening.

March 6th. I am kept overnight for observations and instead of being released in the morning they rush me in to cath lab as there is an issue with some of the markers in my cardiac enzymes and they need to see why and fix. I freak...see the end coming and they put me out. They find nothing. My friend Sarah (my angel) can tell you what they said I do not remember much.

March 7-8th. Home with family and friends - not allowed to do much. Sleep a lot. Not allowed to drive. Go to church on the 8th and it is hard to move.

March 9th. When driving to work I keep drifting to the right. I used the wall in the parking garage to find the stopping point. I am scared.

March 10th. Get my doctor to get the results. Go back. He thinks I am depressed maybe even suicidal. Puts me on meds. I go home thinking this is not right.

March 11th. I have taken notes of everything that is wrong with me. I do not have control over my right arm and leg correctly. I have not lost any strength in either but I cannot seem to get them to go correctly. I cannot type correctly - I think but the thoughts are not going to my fingers mostly the right hand. I cannot pick up a glass of water in the right hand. I drop things in the right hand. I am having difficulty driving. I am having to repeat myself and feel as if I am always drooling out of the right side of my mouth. Most apparent is that I cannot write any more. I am right handed. I call my doctor and tell him to listen to me. I am clear and precise in my wording to him as I have already decided that if he did not listen to me then I would get someone who would. He listened...and was concerned. He set up an MRI for my head.

March 13th. I have the MRI done. My veins collapse and I have to wait 2 hours and drink lots to have the last 15 minutes done. This means 3 pills - happy pills that day as I am claustrophobic.

March 16th. My doctor calls me at work and calmly states that I have had a stroke like event on the left side of my brain that accounts for the errors with the right side of my body. He is prescribing Plavix and needs to schedule an appointment for the neurologist and a ultrasound of my carotid arteries.

March 18th. I am at a sleep doctors offices as they think I have sleep apnea. Schedule a sleep clinic visit for the 23rd.

March 23rd. My life has been on hold now since the 16th. Go in for the sleep clinic. It is horrible...I hate having 28 things attached to my head and body. But I have got to do this.

March 24th. Wake up from the sleep study and go to my doctor. I corner him again as I want to know did I have a "stroke like event" or a "stroke". He confirms my worst fear. I had a stroke. I then go for the ultrasound. That was cool. Rachel showed me everything and let me see different angles. She said it looked good but I had to wait for the official all clear.

March 25th. Got the official all clear on the carotid ultrasound. Also started a new blood pressure medicine. I had not been happy with my BP since the 3rd and finally we were doing something about it.

March 31st. My neurologist. Been doing this for 40 years - only one room in the back - waited for 2 hours. Understand why. Each person has a set of questions that are different. Another MA took a lot of information and my films before I went in. Finally I was called back. I walked in, was greeted and then he began. "Well it looks like you had a major stroke" BAM! I know from what I read that this guy had not a lick of bedside manner and I was fine with that as he is the head of the best stroke center around. But this was news to me. I must of looked shocked. He wondered if I knew. I told him that most people have down played that and I started to ask him questions. He realized that I was not a child but was an equal and we got along fine from then. He took me and showed me all my films, he tested me, he told me what I need to know and confirmed a stroke in the thalamus region of the brain close to the spinal cord is what I had. Gave me information that I will go into later and sent me out with a book to buy and green tea to drink, plus something to help me get to my future ... a drug and a direction.

April 2nd. I begin to live my life for me. I have been in a dungeon for almost a month and am finally climbing out.

April 3rd. I see my sleep doctor who confirms what I knew already. I stopped breathing an average of 69.5 times an hour. I have severe sleep apnea and we need to see if a cpap (that Darth Vader mask) will help. Should be interesting but that is what I got to do.

April 3rd. I call a dietitian and ask for help. I get the paperwork from her on Tuesday.

April 3rd. I start a 6 week e-learning course on gratitude and changing the way I think about the world.

April 4th. I buy Ultraprevention as that was the book my neurologist gave me. I sit there with a green tea latte non-fat milk and read about a 3rd of the book. If I had not been scared silly before I was now. But I had a pathway to get out of this.

One of the last things I read was that it is the hardest for a person to take one hour out of the day and do nothing. So today I went to the park and for 15 minutes took pictures. Then after grabbing my blanket out of the car for the family that I was next to me with a baby I just sat there for an hour, also used my bag as a pillow for some of it, and just watched the world go on around me. It was nice.

I came home this evening and eat one of my post stroke meals. I then decided to delete my poetry blog as it was dark and the last one I posted on the 20th of Feb was foreshadowing what I have just been through...I saw that last night and thought I should do away with this. Today I did.

I now want to keep a journal that will be the repair, learning and living process. I am doing nothing fancy with this blog. It is just me. There may be typos but most I will let stand as I am recovering. Daily I get stronger. I am grateful for every breath and I have away still to go.

On the 14th I have two heart procedures, then a follow up MRI and another visit with my neurologist. I also will met with the dietitian, get fitted for my cpap and continue reading and learning. I will share with you.

Any other reasons Why?

One of them would be for my cousin's son (technically my 2nd cousin) Carter.

One would be for my friend Sarah.

There is of course the family; for my brother and his wife, for my other brother and his three children and for my mother and father. There are aunts and uncles, my grandmother, cousins and their children who are included in my daily meditations and for all of them I want to succeed and show them, teach them and live with them for the years to come!


"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." – Buddha