“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me…”

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I am so pleased to share a guest post by an incredible (and I mean INCREDIBLE) person.  I met Reed when I was asked by a prior COO of mine if I would have a networking meeting with Reed.  From the minute he started sharing his story,  I was amazed… amazed that I was sitting across from an individual who has suffered some pretty intense life/health experiences and he was so happy and funny.  His sense of humor about the challenges he has endured throughout his adult life had a way of putting his audience (me) at ease immediately. Reed’s post is just a snippet of what he shared with me but I am sure you will see, as I did,  an INCREDIBLE and AMAZING man…

To Reed’s mother,  to my almost ninety year old mother and to all the other mom’s out there (or those who have taken on the role of mom when mom could not),  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

“Responding to your Blog post of 0209/2014: Who are you? on February 9, 2014

What is your “at your best” story?  I would love to hear from you and hear your stories!

I try to be at my best every day. Each day is a new adventure and seldom goes as planned. I’ve learned to adapt to many things others take for granted such as tying my shoes, snapping my fingers and typing with both hands. I have learned a new tolerance for difficult situations and try to refrain from “problems”. Problems seem to be insurmountable. I prefer “Areas of concern.” Areas of concern can be dealt with more easily and I can generally work out an adequate solution on my own given a little time and some planning.

Frequently I experience areas of concern where I do need the assistance of others at home, at work and even on little projects around the house. I have learned to not be afraid to ask for assistance when needed. I tend to forget things on a regular basis and overlook details that jump out at others.

You see, I suffered a major stroke at age 34. I was in a coma and woke up unable to walk, talk breathe or swallow. It was quite a dramatic change from the life I had been living. I don’t know where I found the strength to make a rapid enough recovery to return to a 40 hour a week job within a year and continue to excel in other areas along my recovery. I was very lucky to have had good doctor and nursing care right after my stroke in the hospital and in the various therapies along the way. I also have terrific support from my wife and family.

I am looking for renewed inner strength and am trying to recapture the goals I had immediately after the stroke event. Keeping positive is sometimes a challenge. My philosophy at that time was “if it’s going to be, it’s up to me.”

Just when I thought I was feeling “normal” again, I learned my kidneys were failing. I started dialysis leading to the removal of my kidneys a year later. I was put on the transplant list and was told there would be a significant wait for a suitable donor. One Saturday afternoon I answered the phone. It was my brother in Chicago asking what I was doing on a specific date. He shared that he was a match and would be able to give me a kidney. We were thrilled knowing that he would be willing to participate as a donor knowing he had his own family and life going on. At my best would have to have been the morning after surgery when I took my IV pole for a walk to visit my brother. I felt great! He was a little sore for a few weeks but is back to playing tennis and teaching guitar to his sons.”

Who do you know who has inspired you by the way they handle difficult life/health circumstances?

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