Meyerson, a former Stanford University professor, looks at how the experience of a stroke affects one’s concept of identity.
On Labor Day weekend in 2010, while on a hiking trip with her family, Meyerson had a “weird” feeling in her right leg: “neither uncomfortable nor painful, not numb or asleep, just…not right.” It was the first sign that she was experiencing a stroke that reduced blood flow to her brain. It caused her to lose her ability to communicate her thoughts via speech or writing. She’d long studied how personal identity shapes one’s experiences; this book looks at how the traumatic experience of a stroke shapes identity. It also aims to offer hope to stroke survivors as they adjust to their new normal. Although the book is written in the first-person singular, the “I” refers to her writing team, made up of her credited co-author son Zuckerman, her husband, and others—which is “a good example of how life has changed” for the author. What sets this book apart from other, similar guides, though, is its focus on stroke survivors’ emotional journeys. People recovering from strokes are often asked to focus on their physical recoveries, and they often receive relatively little psychological support, the author notes. Her book clearly shows the benefits of focusing on the emotional side of the recovery process. Along the way, Meyerson walks readers through psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and quotes authors, such as Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, who’ve written about post-traumatic growth and grief. She also assures readers that they, too, can build resilience as she has. The book presents stories of other stroke survivors, including a 13-year-old who suffered his event at football practice; a man whose stroke put him on a ventilator and who can now do four sets of 25 pushups; and a woman who fought to regain her long-term disability benefits. Overall, Meyerson has written an inspiring guide for anyone starting down their own road to recovery.
An encouraging story of personal growth after a life-altering medical event.