12 Days of Tap 2020: Day 11
– Karen Mercado –
The incredible gift of this job, ask any of the TAP group leaders, is that we have the opportunity to meet these awesome people that make up our TAP Family. The hard part is knowing that we all wish we hadn’t “needed” to meet. A common thread in these 12 Days of TAP stories seems to be that people are hesitant, nervous to join a program about an impairment that they may just be learning about themselves. Most, if not all, don’t anticipate or want to believe, that they will need the programs and support beyond their initial hospitalization. But the reality is that recovering from aphasia…compensating for reading/writing/speech/listening challenges and formulating new pathways (yay neuroplasticity!!) doesn’t come easily or quickly. Finding cohorts in the journey, others who are traveling similar pathways, people who “get it” … this can be the game changer!
I love how Karen describes TAP within her recovery story. We love you and are happy that your family is now a part of the TAP family.
TAP has been such a major part of my healing story and just the fact that I am able to write it and type it is proof. I was a special education teacher for 10+ years before I had a massive stroke when I was 7 months pregnant with my second child on October 15, 2018. I wasn’t feeling well and on my way to work that day when I had a headache. Next thing I knew I woke up in a hospital bed 18 days later barely able to speak or know my name. Over months of rehabilitation and so much support from my family and close friends, I was able to come home in December just in time to celebrate Christmas with my family.
I heard of TAP from an inpatient nurse at UNC hospital who shared that her own husband suffered a stroke and benefited from the amazing services TAP has to offer. Unfortunately for me, having a wicked case of post-partum depression along with adjusting to new life with certain limitations was a challenge for sure. After sometime I told myself Ok I was ready to “meet” TAP! Of course perfect timing as COVD hit. Thankfully that didn’t stop TAP as they went virtual! The meeting is posted every week and clients (like myself) can and checkout what they would like to take part in each week. It has been such a wonderful way for those who had to deal with a tough time finding some peace and knowing that they aren’t alone. I so enjoy going to Music Mania and Movie Club. It has been really great to find stroke survivors and brain injury survivors who can relate to what I have gone through and want to talk with me about it. It has also been great to just have some socialization that isn’t strictly on stroke recovery and speech (although it is understood why it is a part of it.)
Maura always calls this group the TAP family, and at first I thought she was just using it an a “cute” way, but in no time (and through COVID craziness) I have come to see that it is really true. I have enjoyed the valuable time with great new additions to my life and I look forward to more good times to come.
David (Karen’s spouse):
The saying, “Life can change in an instant” became true to our family in October of 2018. In an afternoon I was told my pregnant wife had a headache, to a physician informing me to say my final goodbye, to waiting nearly three weeks later for her to wake up and hear her voice again. During this dark cloud, our love for each other remained strong and our rainbow occurred when we welcomed our newest addition to the family, a beautiful baby girl.
TAP has been an amazing outlet of support not just to my wife directly but to our entire family. With the resources TAP has to offer, Karen has an opportunity to share experiences with others whom unfortunately walked the same path. As caregivers we see all and always there for what happens next but TAP offers different thoughts, feelings, and ideas for individuals adjusting to their recovery.
From the TAP Home Office:
TAP Unlimited’s End of Year Campaign provides TAP Stakeholders an opportunity to embrace the reason for our efforts and hear from those who have been impacted by aphasia. Aphasia, as you know, can be a devastating impairment resulting in social isolation, depression and disengagement from the passions and purpose of an individual’s life. It can interrupt a career, destroy plans for retirement and threaten relationships. TAP Unlimited is embarking on its 18th year of service to those effected by aphasia across the Triangle and beyond.
Our ability to pivot and create a virtual world of connection possibilities, to stay afloat and to even thrive, has been, in no small way, a result of the generosity of our donor base. Today, we ask that you continue to support TAP by doing the following:
- Share this story. Share it on your social media, in emails to your family/friends and to those you work with…it will increase awareness of Aphasia and provide hope to those who feel alone in this journey.
- Consider an end-of-year gift to TAP. You can donate online and make it a gift by honoring someone on the aphasia journey.
- Donations can also be mailed in the form of a check or a donation of stock. Email us for more information.
Thank you for your faith in our organization and for supporting the 12 Days of TAP!