5000 days after I had a stroke

In May 2004 I had a stroke. Now 13 and a half years later, or about 5000 days later, I have some questions to ask myself. I firmly believe that God wants us all to be healthy and he can, and does heal bodies and minds. However, I must be honest with myself and dare to state that complete healing from the effects of the stroke is probably not going to happen. Is this a lack of faith on my part – no, I don’t think it is.

Firstly, I am quite clear that the event was not planned or in any way came from God.  For the first year I struggled with coming to terms with the fact that God could have prevented the stroke, but yet he didn’t.

90% Recovery

Recovery was initially very swift and quite miraculous. From being completely paralysed down my right hand side and coming out of hospital in a wheelchair, within a few months I could walk, do most things I needed to do, and mostly gained control of my speech.

If you look at me now, you will be aware of some physical limitations but in fact I can do almost anything, though a little slowly.  If you see me get out of a car, for example, it may appear that I am struggling, but I just need to take time to get my feet into the right position to put my weight on them.  When I am tired, or stressed, I have problems speaking, but this is more to do with muscles in my throat than any limitation in my thinking.

On the plus side

What have I learned from what happened to me.

  • I think that I am more understanding of others with physical limitations.  Walking the streets of Aldershot I hadn’t before realised how many people walked with a limp, needed a stick, crutches or a wheelchair to make them mobile.
  • I am more emotional than I used to be.  I tear up easily on hearing the stories of other people, both real or fictional. I don’t consider this as a weakness but a strength.  Empathy is good and I am glad to be more emotionally free.

Confounding the statistics

When I applied for an annuity as an income from my pension plans, I was amazed to learn that having had a stroke meant that statistically my life expectancy was reduced which resulted in the offer of a higher monthly pension! Although my expectation of a complete recovery is not very great, I have no problem in having faith for, and expecting a long life and I am counting on at least two more decades of healthy life. (I am now 73.)

Rejoice with me

The fact is that although I have some physical limitations I am healthy and have a sound mind.  Yes, I have come to terms with certain weaknesses.  Please do not feel sorry for me, or feel affronted because I am less than physically perfect, but rejoice with me that I can live a full and fulfilling life.

Author: George Dowdell

I was the founder of Karuna Action (formerly Kingscare) and was the director for 24 years. I have now handed control over to younger people but continue as an advisor and trustee. My passion is to see extreme poverty eliminated and to see justice for the powerless.

8 thoughts on “5000 days after I had a stroke”

  1. Dear George, Once again your honesty is profound and warming. I believe that many of us seek physical healing prematurely and can miss out on a much larger work God offers to do within us. This work will be the forming of us more in Christs likeness. Keep writing!


  2. Hi George. I’m not good at putting messages together but I delight in reading your blogs. You are an encouragement. Bless you

    Judy & Mike Deegan


  3. George I know you apart from this blog. I see you regularly, almost every week. I listen to you, read what you have to say and can clearly see the journey you have been on, from seeing and understanding God differently to handing over your baby to a younger team. These are not the signs of a man struggling with a stroke but a man who is not allowing any limitations to rob him of embracing new things.

    it may seem corny to quote “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16). But is this not whats going on here 5000 days later. You havent lost heart, you know you have some good wisdom tp pass on, and that wisdom gets informed by an inner renewing that makes you feel really alive and able to see beyond any limitations.

    So we continue to stand with you for the other 10% but there has been something going on in you George that reveals a very different kind of healing, which many of us continue to be blessed by.

    Thank you.


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