Rebuilding confidence is the key to moving forward. When I started learning to walk again, I was constantly afraid of falling. To go forward, I realized that I had to overcome that fear.
With each day at Toronto Rehab, I was able to get closer to my goal of walking out of there. The day before I was discharged however, I experienced my first seizure, which shook me up pretty badly considering I had just gotten back up on my feet.
I used a wheelchair up until the day of my discharge, because I was not sure about my endurance. The day I was discharged though, I left my wheelchair at Toronto Rehab and walked out. The funny thing was that I picked an exit song for myself to which I was going to play as l left; it was “Walk it out” by Unk.
Regaining my confidence took some time, so I had to take baby steps. The first step was going into social settings on my own. I made sure I kept up with my appearance, dressed in style, and made my weekly visits to the barbershop. The day after my stroke, I actually had an appointment booked with my barber, which I missed. While I was at the hospital, my barber came and cleaned me up. I still go to the same barber, who has been cutting my hair since 2006 (THE ACE OF FADES).
Being well-dressed and well-groomed is important to me. I still kept up with everything after my stroke. For instance, I still buy and collect sneakers.
The first time I commuted by myself to Downtown Toronto was last summer, for my last block of outpatient therapy at Toronto Rehab. I took the GO bus into the city and walked up to the Rehab center twice a week for 6 weeks. Since it was the summer time, I was able to wear my shorts, put on a fresh pair of sneakers, and go into the city. It was on my first trip that I started my Instagram page and documenting my journey. I took pictures around the city and shared them on my page. After I was done my rehab, I would grab lunch with my cousins or coffee with my friends just before I headed home. Socializing was very therapeutic because it gave me the opportunity to be independent, make plans of my own, and try out different places in the city, which I posted on Instagram at the time.
Now that I am out and about independently, I take public transportation to get wherever I need to go or I walk, depending on the weather. I also had to start making life decisions to begin moving forward, so last summer, I decided to go back to school. I enrolled into the Retail Management Certificate Program at Ryerson University and completed my first semester this past December. My recovery is my main focus but I plan on improving myself on the way. The Instagram page was just something I started to keep myself busy, while I tried to inspire and motivate other stroke survivors. A thousand followers later here we are.