My life changed three years ago this week.
Life turned from I feel completely happy and life is rolling like a tidal wave to I feel miserable, cannot walk and talk or feel my right arm. And why the heck am I laying in a cold tube at 3 in the morning for brain scans?
This week three years ago I suffered the first of two strokes which put me on the sidelines of a once fulfilling and fun career in Detroit sports media. Now I am just a guy watching from the sidelines, sometimes sad that the run ended. But sometimes I am happy that the ride ended because life is a lot less stressful without deadlines to meet and two employers trying to convince you that you should devote more time to them,
Now I worry about meeting cooking and laundry deadlines for the family which are easier to meet.
I am a different person than I was three years ago. I feel like the old Terry Foster died and a new Terry Foster emerged.
I am happy to be around, bouncing around town and enjoying life in a different way.
I am not going to blame my career path for the strokes. Its how I handled my career path that caused the strokes. I could have taken time off to take care of myself and go to the doctor more often. However, I was always chasing the next big story in Detroit sports, making evening phone calls and maintaining my presence on the Valenti and Foster drive time show on 971 The Ticket
Both newspaper and radio were good about giving you time off. I chose not to take it because I was addicted to the profession.
Let me answer the question most people ask me. Is a stroke painful?
They are all different. In my case there was no physical pain. I felt numb, heaviness in the legs and the complete loss of my fine motor skills. I had pretty good hand to eye coordination. That is no longer the case.
I had pretty good speed for an old guy. That is no longer the case. But thankfully I can run well enough to stay out of trouble.
I am different though. The first stroke robbed me of many of my physical strengths. The second robbed me of my personality.
My ideal of a good time was crawling into the bed and pulling the cover over my head. I did not want to talk to the wife, the kids, neighbors or friends. I was a shell of my former self.
My doctor recommended that I socialize more. It helped because I am almost back to that old guy with the gift of gab and stale humor. Sometimes I want to crawl back in my shell but I won’t allow myself to do so.
Doctors fear depression.
You find strength in peoples’ well wishes and in friends. Two media people really stood by me during my darkest hours. I swear Rob Parker called me every day to see how I was doing and offered to talk any time of day. That meant a lot to me and I don’t know how to thank him except to say thanks.
And Detroit News sports columnist Bob Wojnowski provided refreshing and therapeutic Friday nights at Bar Louie in Novi. He always offers to be there for me and is a real pal for sharing a few beers and snacks.
I must thank wife Abs who acted as a strong patient advocate and held my hand when it needed holding. And thanks to my pal Melissa who has thrown a lot of support my way.
Now I almost feel bad about beating up Rob in the boxing ring and making fun of Wojo just for being Wojo.
I celebrated my third year anniversary by going to see the doctor. Dr. Elconin gave me another clean bill of health.
So I decided to have a me day where I did and ate what I wanted. I went downtown for a cheeseburger and fries at Shake Shack and later discovered the downtown Plum Market. That place is amazing. I downed two glasses of wine and home girl behind the bar made an Old Fashion for me.
So how do I feel three years later?
I feel good but not great. I still have heavy legs. I don’t feel as sharp or as quick witted. I can do many of the things I could do before. But at a slower pace.
I get tired easily but can’t sleep.
I am happiest at the gym with the old people at Planet Fitness and with Stephanie and the gang during body pump class at the West Bloomfield Power House gym.