WORK WAS MY LIFE. For years I believed that if I worked really hard, I'd have everything I'd ever dreamed of—including all the things I could ever want. My work was very stressful, and I often worked long hours for weeks on end without taking a break. But it paid off. After working my way to the top of my industry, it seemed I had it all. I owned a beautiful home and had the making of a perfect life. All my dreams were coming true.
Then one night, about four years ago, I awoke in great distress, unable to move my left arm or leg. Frightened and confused, I was rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital and told by the physicians that I had suffered a massive stroke. I couldn't believe it. This wasn't supposed to happen at my age! But the doctors explained that hereditary factors, in combination with the tremendous stress created by my work schedule, were the leading causes.
Following a month in the hospital, where I underwent intensive medical and rehabilitation therapy, I was told that I had suffered permanent damage to my brain. The effect of this damage was that the left side of my body was completely paralyzed. It was also difficult for me to understand and communicate with others. I couldn't comprehend even the simplest written words. My mental alertness was significantly reduced, and I suffered from sudden, uncontrollable seizures. Discharged from the hospital, I returned home in a wheelchair, completely dependent on others for my basic daily care.