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I never intended for this book to see the light of day. As a matter of fact I published a book last year thinking that I would never publish another. When I suffered my stroke in 1991 I kept a diary of my thoughts and feelings. After about six years I sat down and wrote about my stroke. Recently, I was walking at the park as my cardiac rehabilitation therapist had recommended after my heart attack and bypass in 2009. I was talking to a therapist who works at one of the hospitals and also teaches a class at the local college. She asked me if I would speak to her class about my thoughts and feelings when I had my stroke. I agreed heartily, but also remembered I had written this manuscript. As I read this manuscript those feelings came back. I said to myself that all therapist and those in training should understand those feelings I was having. So here it is… I would like to share with you, the reader, my story. It's a story of tragedy and pain, recovery and hope, of a world shattered and broken, and the road to health and wholeness. It is my story. I'm going to try to share the feelings of lying in a hospital, not being able to move, needing help to go to the bathroom. Hating to call the nurse and having to admit my helplessness. Me, a minister, one who always prided himself on being in control of every situation. Here I lay; my whole world had fallen around me. Would my wife stay with me or would she just go away? Could our marriage of thirteen years take the stress? And what of Philip, our nine year old son, could he take the ribbing from the other children about his brain dead dad? Would Philip be embarrassed to be with his father who walked with a limp? What would all those people say since I had made my living keeping people at arms length all these years? How would I face them, or better yet, could I face them? These questions and many others would pop up in the next few weeks, months and years. I learned real quick what depression was and how it would grip me almost any time of the day. This is my story. I am proud of myself because now I can share it with you. It is said the first sign of recovery is when you can talk about it. I have faced a lot of monsters in the past ten years. There is a story of a young man named Shea. He lived in a small town called Shady Vale. One day a wizard named Allanon came to see him. Allanon told Shea that he was chosen to defeat the dark lord who was destroying the world. Shea was to find the Sword of Shinara and go to mount doom and defeat the dark lord. Well, on the way he meets the elves and dwarfs. He was attacked by the dark lord's underlings. One day he finally reached Mount Doom with the sword of Shinara. There he came face to face with the evil dark lord. Shea to his amazement faced the evil one. The sword reflected his doubts, fears and hopelessness (The Sword of Shinara). You see, the monster that Shea faced was himself. This story consoled me at times. When I was asked to do something I would have "no" on my lips. Then I would ask myself, "what monster are you fighting? Will you give up and give in?" My grandmother told me I was a hard headed person. I'll buy that.

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