I parked in the one place for the disabled to park the other night and put up my placard. As I got out, a man yelled that I did not look disabled and I had better move my car. I ignored him and walked right into the restaurant. My husband, Jim, well . . . he did not. He’s still angry that someone who doesn’t know me thinks there is no disability.

My Disability Is Now Invisible

Jim’s the one who took care of me through my stroke. He saw me struggle through the agony of my whole right side not working in synch for more than two years. I understand the "one-to-ten" scale of pain when a doctor asked about it. My right shoulder was at a nine (and then down to an eight and finally a seven) for over two years.

I worked with my physical therapist, acupuncturist, and massage therapist to get back to walking "normally" again.

First I worked on the feet. The left side walked normally. The other side had a steppage gait pattern. My right hip flexed more so that I wouldn’t trip because my toes didn’t flex enough. I had to think about the movement day, after day, after day, and I still stumbled some. Finally, my feet looked as if they were walking together again.

Next came the right hand. It didn’t swing an inch when I walked. I thought, “Forward. Back. Forward. Back.” I even got it to the place where it has full motion. Eventually, it looked like it swung in rhythm, too. To people on the outside, I looked like I walked normally again.

Shh... It's a Secret

I will tell you a secret. They are not normal. I have right leg cramps so bad that I want to cry. Oh, wait. I do cry sometimes. It’s the worst when I wake up from a sound sleep. I can feel it coming and there is nothing that I can do but bear it out. My right foot cramps every day. My right shoulder is achy.

But . . . I just don’t think about it consciously. There are more important things to do with my life than worry about the little things.

Appreciate What You Have

I appreciate being alive.

I appreciate having a family and friends who love me.

I appreciate having a voice to tell others what it is like to live with a disability . . . on my terms.

Try My Way of Seeing It

I guess that is why I could walk into the restaurant without saying anything. I didn’t want some random guy ruining my meal with the person who cares about me most. My husband.

If you don’t know anything about a person parking in a disabled spot, keep on walking and don’t say anything. If they have a disabled license plate or sticker, then that is good enough for me. Shouldn’t it be good enough for you, too?

Author's Bio: 

After successfully building her business over the last twenty-plus years, Marcia Moran thought she had life by the tail. Little did she know what was in store.

Marcia Moran has written over fifty business plans, and helped entrepreneurs strategize over how to differentiate their companies in changing environments. Her twenty-plus years of experience helping other entrepreneurs caused her to found her own firm, Performance Architect, in 2012 and co-founded Positive Business DC that same year.

After suffering a major stroke in 2014, Marcia applied her skills in planning and strategy as she strived to become whole. She never gave up. Over time she learned to walk again, but Marcia struggled with aphasia, a language disorder. She joined Toastmasters International hoping to regain her speaking abilities. It helped some, but in August 2017 she discovered a technological breakthrough that minimized her speaking disability. She then pushed beyond her comfort zone to become a Toastmasters International Club Officer in 2017, then Area Director in 2019.

A woman of many talents, she attended Skirinssal Folkehoyskole in Sandefjord, Norway and studied art. She also earned a certificate in Well-being Foundations of Personal Transformation from the Personal Transformation and Courage Institute in Virginia. She volunteers at Brain Injury Services, supporting their Speakers Bureau program.

Marcia created Stroke FORWARD because she felt there is a need to share hope to stroke survivors and their caretakers. Learning to become her own health advocate one step a time and exploring holistic methods for healing are keys to her recovery. Marcia speaks and shares her message of hope, inspiration, healing, and a way forward as she goes across the country. She welcomes new opportunities to help individuals affected by major health crises move forward.

Marcia lives with her husband Jim, two very loud cats, and two birds near Washington, DC. Jim played a role of caretaker and advocate and Stroke FORWARD. His observations and experiences are captured in the book. On weekends, Marcia, Jim, and the cats go to Deep Creek, Maryland where Marcia paints watercolors. In the evening Marcia and Jim sit out on the deck and watch fireflies flit by.

Marcia holds a B.S. in Political Science with a magna cum laude from the University of North Dakota and a Master’s in Business Administration, from Chapman University, in California.

Visit www.StrokeForward.com for more information.