My right bone flap was stored in my stomach after my first surgery, which is why I had staples on my stomach. The bone flap was surgically put back into my skull after six months, but up until then I had to wear a helmet whenever I walked.
When I was an inpatient at Toronto Rehab, my friends and family would visit me regularly and keep me company. Once a week, my cousins and close friends would come to Toronto Rehab, play board games, and have dinner with me. Socializing with everyone was very nice and at times I would forget about my situation.
Staying social was very therapeutic. The year after my stroke, a bunch of my friends got married. I attended their weddings in my transport chair because my bone flap was still out and I did not want to wear a helmet with my suit. I would take my dad with me just in case I needed help with anything. I had to plan ahead to make sure everything went smoothly.
Once my bone flap was back in, I felt liberated and a little more confident. I was able to style my hair the way I wanted to and I did not limit the places I went to, since I did not have to wear a helmet or use the transport chair anymore.
The fall of 2014 was when I became a little more mobile and independent. I had the opportunity to be a groomsman for one of my friends. I got to spend the entire day with the wedding party and enjoy the celebrations. I also got the opportunity to feel normal and socialize the way I would have prior to the stroke.
By the end of 2014, I started to attend birthday celebrations and house gatherings with my friends because I was feeling more confident. In the summer of 2015, I went out to a lounge in Toronto for a friend’s birthday celebration and experienced Toronto’s nightlife for the first time since the stroke . I was a little excited because I had the opportunity to dress up. I picked out my sneakers and then my outfit the day before. I got out more, socialized, and had some fun. After every outing, I started to become more and more confident.