“Before, Afdre, and After (My Stroke…oh, what fun)”
by Maureen Twomey
This is the true story of a woman who had a massive, extremely debilitating stroke at the young age of 33 which caused significant brain damage. The book recounts, step by step, her very difficult journey back to functionality. It truly illustrates the principle that heroes (and heroines) are ordinary people plunged into exceptional circumstances. I was totally blown away by this book for so many reasons. First of all, that someone could be so entirely debilitated and survive, much less want to, given the immediate effects left her abilities so compromised. She had to learn to read and write again as well as speak, since it was the left side of her brain which was damaged, which governs these abilities. Walking was likewise something she had to learn again, given the resulting paralysis.
The support of her family and friends was so heartwarming. What a marvelous person she was to have so many people, including coworkers, pulling for her during her long recovery period back to functionality in today’s world.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with a debilitating illness or injury, I highly recommend this inspirational story. Few have to go through what Ms. Twomey endured. Her sense of humor remained intact, however, so while this is a heartbreaking experience in so many ways, she confronted it with courage and determination, which paid off for her and defied the doctors. What a testimonial to the human spirit when assisted by the skilled hands of physical, occupational, and speech therapists. It’s absolutely amazing how the human body can respond to willful recovery. Those who are working in those field will enjoy this book as well, as a testimonial to the importance of their profession and training.
Included in the book are illustrations of the various exercises and protocols she used, which accentuate how much work Ms. Twomey and her therapists put into her recovery. Her step by step improvement is shown graphically, demonstrating how far she has come throughout this difficult journey.
I am so glad that she took the time and effort to write up her story for a multitude of reasons. It has brought me true appreciation for my own health while showing how bad things can really get. It has provided me with an increased appreciation for therapists and their valuable work. And it has increased my faith in the human spirit and the body’s ability to heal, especially when commanded to do so through work and positive thinking. This story is amazing and something everyone needs to read to expand their awareness to those with handicaps of all kinds. Maureen Twomey is nothing short of a miracle.
There are a few typos, but considering what an accomplishment it was for her to write it in the first place, they are forgiveable. I’ve read many, many books by those with no such excuse that are loaded with them! How many of us had to learn how to read, write, and speak again in our 30s? Some of the graphics and illustrations were difficult to read with my old Kindle, so for those who want full benefit of this marvelous story, I recommend they get a print copy if their reading device doesn’t cooperate. Either way, don’t miss it.
You can pickup your copy on Amazon here.