I had a stroke one day during the second week of November. Fortunately, my wife noticed the symptoms and forced me to go to the ER. I spent two days in ICU and one additional day in a regular unit. The stroke was “mild” and taught me a valuable lesson.

The situation showed me that I need to be more cognizant of my day-to-day health and fitness. I am sure there are many other people who can learn from my experience. A good friend, John Comer, gave me some great advice not long after the stroke.

He said “we must treat our bodies as if we are in a relationship with it, and not have it be an abusive relationship.”

How we eat and maintain a regular fitness routine has a great deal to do with our relationship with our body.

As I have followed orders to clean up my diet, I have seen very positive signs in my recovery. I feel really good right now, and I look forward to continuing to make progress until I am fully recovered.

During the past two months, I have seen an outpouring of support from family, close friends, and those who follow my work. It truly cemented in my mind the importance of healthy relationships. I also see how many people genuinely care about me and value the life that I lead.

Another piece of really valuable advice came from my close friend Tracy Tuffey, who told me to focus this article on a holistic approach to relationships. The focus I have moving forward in my recovery will allow me to strengthen all of my relationships.

I understand very clearly how vulnerable we all are and how I, like many, take our health for granted. Good health requires much more vigilance than I ever thought of before the stroke. By the same token, a good work-life balance is also about how we manage relationships. We only get one body and when we fail to take proper care of it, the consequences can be deadly.

I see that I am fortunate enough to have a strong support system, that many others might not be as blessed to have. I know that being who I am and the way I have lived my life has greatly contributed to the environment that nurtures me and helps me to keep moving forward. I have always tried to build and maintain strong and positive relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. This has paid huge dividends that have come to the surface since my stroke.

I have learned how my life’s work has brought such wonderful people into my life, and how their support helps me in all that I do on a daily basis. Healthy personal relationships are a critical part of my overall wellbeing. I will never take them for granted, in the same way that I will never again take my health for granted.

I never feared for my life because my wife forced me to seek proper medical care right away. All of the medical care I have and continue to receive has helped me survive and thrive in my recovery.

My relationships moving forward will focus on the positive. I am so fortunate to be here to see these things with clarity today. I will continue to assess my relationship with my body, family, friends, and neighbors to ensure healthy relationships all the way around.

I value my community and the world around me enough that I will continue to advocate for a more just world. The world we have built can and should be filled with positive relationships.

Please do not wait for a health scare to wake you up to this reality. I learned the hard way about my health, but I could have avoided that. All the information I needed was right in front of me.

Find a way to get well informed about your health needs and relationships. Life is too short to not value those parts of your life that matter the most.

© Photo

Lee Matz