October 2022 Larry Marquis
October 3, 2022
Well, here it is seven years later. I wrote my story in 2015 after having two strokes in 2009 that left me with memory, vision and balance issues. I’ve come a long way since then. I was ready to give up, give up life like many that have had a stroke or TBI. But, I didn’t, and now I’m glad I didn’t because I found a purpose in life. Yes, life as I once knew it changed just like that. Our hopes and dreams changed and so I had to change. I still have my struggles, but try to keep a positive attitude and humor. Humor helps.
As hard as it was for me with my daily struggles and for my wife also having to do many things for me, I had to stop feeling sorry for myself for the things I could no longer do and focus on what I could do. That’s when I went to my first support group meeting and saw that I wasn’t alone and there were others just like me. I’ve gone to every one and only missed two meetings in the last 12 years.
It was about eight years ago at one of the meetings there was word that Maine was in the process of starting the BIAA-ME (Brain Injury Association of America – Maine Chapter). I and a couple others from our group decided to see what it was like and what challenges were in store for us. I did join because I wanted to find a way of giving back and helping people with ABI/TBI. This is where things started changing for me. I had a purpose! I try to be involved as best that I can by helping out wherever I can.
In the last five to six years, I also became the Brain Injury Support Group Leader for the Lewiston area. It has kept me busy and I like to meet new people and try and help those that are struggling with ABI/TBI. I remember when I had my strokes there wasn’t much help available as to what to expect and where to get answers. So, leading this Support Group gives me a purpose to help others the best I can. There are a lot of great people I’ve met through BIAA-ME, our support group, different support groups I attended through the pandemic and so on.
Like I said, I’ve come a long way. I’ve learned that I can do a lot of things I thought I couldn’t or others thought I couldn’t do, but if there’s a will there’s a way. I do most of the household chores, mow the lawn, cut, split and stack our firewood, etc.
What I’m most proud of besides being a military veteran is my ability to do 5K’s. At one of the Brain Injury Resource Fairs my wife and I attended, I saw this three-wheeled walking bike for people with balance issues and I tried it and liked it. In the last five years I’ve done 18 5K’s. I do these to help support Cancer, Brain tumors, Aneurysms, Alzheimer’s, and the Travis Mills Foundation for Veterans.
I’m proud that I never gave up, I’ve found purpose, and I have accepted challenges that I thought I’d never be able to do again. If you want to do something, get involved. Start out small steps and work toward a goal. I will be 70 in December, and it’s never too late to set a goal! There is always hope and never give up. There are groups to help you achieve what you hope to do. There are devices to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Join a support group if you can. Get involved. Most of all, don’t be afraid to try something new.
From where I was to now is nothing short of how good life can be after a brain injury.
I’ve come a long way, baby!