Jun 27

My Stroke of Insight

New Chapter Begins Now

WRITTEN BY: John Finley

Here at Finley Visual Communications, we have been busy at work keeping current with all of the latest advances in technological visual communications. In support of sharing all of our hard work with you, our valued customers, we are proud to introduce our new industry blog! Here, we will be posting news updates from the visual communications field to keep you abreast of all the myriad services we have to offer. However, I am going to lead off with a bit of an unorthodox entry to re-introduce myself. So, while this post will be a bit more personal in nature, please stay tuned for future entries that will focus on the visual communications field.  

As some of you may know, but many do not, I suffered from a stroke nearly 5 years ago - at the relatively young age of 36. On October 29, 2014, my family and I returned from a fun afternoon at the circus. It was a normal day. Later that evening, I found that I had a headache – a really bad one – which was rather peculiar for me. I felt horrible; my whole body felt achy. I turned in early. 

I awoke around 8:00 in the morning, shocked, knowing I had suffered a stroke. My left arm and left leg were completely numb and I couldn't speak! I was terrified. My wife came into our room and I couldn't say a word to her; I couldn’t even move. Our young daughter followed her and saw me, speechless and motionless. It is the strangest thing how even young children immediately know when something is awry. She ran to her bedroom and returned with a huge elephant and a Transformer toy to comfort me. I was just barely able to lightly hug them with my right arm.

Eventually, the ambulance arrived and transferred me to a helicopter which flew me to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I had no real awareness of what was happening in those critical emergency room minutes. All I recall is that the care providers at HUP were excellent and I was quickly informed they would have to remove blood clots from my neck. The doctor informed my family and me that I had a 50% chance of surviving. 48 hours later, I had made it through the critical period, but it was really difficult. I couldn't speak correctly, and the left and right side of my body were basically dead. I was really scared and my family and friends were devastated.

Over the next three years, I struggled through countless days and hours of physical rehabilitation and speech therapy. And, thanks to the amazing teams at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown, PA (who made my body move again) and the Aphasia Center in St. Petersburg, FL (who helped me re-find my words), I am back now! My whole body feels great and the words flow more easily now. However, there are a few remaining hiccups. For example, sometimes, I know what thoughts I’m trying to verbally communicate, but the words aren’t always perfectly there… yet! Believe me, it is a struggle to sometimes search for the words I want to use in speaking with my clients. But, in the grand scheme, the meaning is always made clear.  

Moreover, the marvelous thing throughout all of this is that my talents always lied in the field of visual communication. Therefore, the tools of my graphic design profession supported my recovery – both personally and professionally. Even through the years of physical and speech rehab, I was proud that I could continue to provide quality visual and graphic design to my valued customers. Accordingly, I hope this little debut of our blog has served to re-introduce myself to you and furnish you with a bit of background should you ever notice a verbal tic in our future communications. As always, we, here at Finley Visual Communications, are ready to embark on our next strategic marketing, creative implementation and programming & development challenge and serve you!

I got hired,
Then I hired myself.
I started a business,
Building a brand.
I suffered a stroke;
I should have died.
But I have lived…
Found a dream…
To be continued…

Sincerely yours,

John Finley, President
Finley Visual Communications

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