A Valentine to myself by Kelly Naab, two time stroke survivor & mother of two from Buffalo, NY

This year I have decided to include myself on the list-yes, a Valentine to me from me.

To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how to begin “gifting” myself. But I have learned and am continuing to learn how important self-care and self-love is and I felt this would be fitting.

I am a busy wife, mom and Nurse Practitioner. An avid runner and exerciser. Day to Day life is busy. I have 2 boys ages 12 and 9 with endless needs and wants and a schedule that requires a lot of me. All this craziness is a blessing because life through us a few scares over the last several years. I have been through a lot. In 2013, at the age of 35, with a 3 and 6-year-old in the car I suffered a TIA (mini -stroke), then 5 years later at the age of 40 I suffered a second stroke. Just 2 months after that, I underwent heart surgery to fix a hole in my heart (PFO) to prevent further stroke as this was diagnosed as the cause for the stroke events. This was something I was born with but was unknown until my episodes.

Going through times like this you learn a lot about yourself, who you were made to be, what you want to give, what matters and what doesn’t. You meet new people, you get stronger, you cry, you find reasons to laugh, you learn courage and perseverance.

Recently, when talking to a friend, she suggested I give myself a Valentine-

Dear Me,

            You are tougher than I thought you were, you have been faced with a lot-and just when you thought you were ok and living a healthy life, you were hit with more.

You cried in private, you hung on, you researched, prayed and believed. You knew you had so much more to accomplish on this earth and you fought to be ok. You continued to love your family, work hard in your career and have faith in the unknown. You never gave up!

You looked in the mirror and said “I will use my story to help others”

This body-I embrace it for it can walk, run, talk, laugh and cry. It wakes each morning with a purpose.

I will give it rest, nutrition, exercise and movement, laughter, an occasional good cry, time to read and reflect. I will share-share my tough times and the moments I overcame. I will teach my boys courage and faith.

Like the quote I recently read “Sometimes life will test you, but remember this: when you walk up a mountain, your legs get stronger”-unknown

I will allow my struggles to inspire me to work harder, dream bigger and be stronger. I will allow myself to focus on health and wellness to continue to care for this body for the years it has on earth. I will be ok with what I see in the mirror and thankful for the strength within.

Love, Me

The best gift you can give yourself is to love and care for yourself daily, to recognize the signs and symptoms when something is not right and to seek help and care when things go wrong.

Feed your body positive thoughts daily and set your vision to gratefulness and a promising path.

Sometimes struggles and painful moments can be a beautiful gift allowing us to inspire and teach others and set us on a journey we hadn’t planned but one that makes us and those we encounter better!

I hope to see you at the #GoRedBuffalo Luncheon 2.14.20 GoRedBuffalo.heart.org!

Happy Valentines Day!

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