May is Stroke Awareness

May is a great month to be a sports fan.

The Kentucky Derby is run at Churchhill Downs, the NBA and NHL playoffs are in full swing, the baseball season is just heating up and drivers are reeving up their engines for a shot at winning the Indy 500.

More importantly, May is also Stroke Awareness Month.

Nearly three years ago, I had a visit from the silent killer, and it has changed my life forever.

It happened to me when I was on the road covering the state softball tournament in Columbus.

As I got out of my car, I became dizzy and things began to spin. Then as quickly as it came on me, I began to feel normal again.

I even drove home, but by Sunday morning, I couldn't 't stand. I crawled to my telephone and dialed 911. That decision might have saved my life.

After a couple of days running test, the wonderful doctors at Henry Medical Center had their diagnosis.

I was stunned, Forty-two year old men, don't have strokes.

Through lots of research, I learned people of all ages have strokes, and there's nothing funny about it.

A stroke is caused by a rapidly developing loss of function due to a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain.

I was lucky. I didn't lose the ability to speak, and I was able to walk and resume most normal functions within about three weeks.

Stroke symptoms are pretty clear-weakness or numbness in the arms and legs, confusion, sudden trouble seeing out of one and both eyes, dizziness and an unexplained bad headache.

Anyone experiencing these symptoms, should get to the hospital right way. After all, better be safe than sorry.

Three years after I suffered my stroke, there are still some side effects.

I don't always have a lot of energy and I still get scared that it could happen again.

I still keep the local drug store in business with medication that I will take for the rest of my life.

The blood pressure is back to normal and the cholesterol level is at a good level.

Now, if I could only do something about this darn weight.

I am also approaching life a lot differently now.

I don't get upset like I used too when people accuse me of not covering their school or child like they think I should.

I just reminded myself that I don't have an agenda against them; I try and let them vent, and then I just move on.

I have a great family to lean on. My Mom and Dad have been so supportive.

So has my sister.

She fought her own battle with breast cancer eight years ago, so she knows about adversity.

My friends have been there too.

Through it all, I was reminded again about the power of prayer.

For me, there's still too much living to do. I want to see my niece and nephew grow up.

I want to continue to go to Bobby Dodd Stadium and watch the Georgia Tech Yellow play football on a cool crisp Saturday afternoon.

Maybe the Braves will win another World Series in my life time too.

Strokes aren't funny. In my case, they have made me appreciate every day God has given me.

They have also made me appreciate the little things I used to take for granted.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor at the Daily. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com)