THE STORY BEHIND THE PAGES
Author, Deanna Rossi, wrote No Justificuses talk-to-text while in a dark room recovering from an occipital stroke that left her partially blind at just 43 years old. Her No Justificuses mentality is infectious as she encourages readers to overcome their own adversities. Her personal stories and anecdotes will not only entertain you, but you will find her no-nonsense approach to life, parenting, business, and relationships refreshing. Deanna will share how as a single mom she came to believe that balance is bullshit, that cowards send emails, yet on the other side of uncomfortable is everything you ever wanted. Be inspired to elevate yourself and celebrate your challenges. It’s time to wake up, suck it up, and grow up! It’s time to be the version of you that you always knew you were meant to be.
I’m writing this book via talk-to-text while sitting in the dark in my bed. I’ve had the idea for the book for a while, yet last week while I was sitting on a plane on our way back from a family vacation in Florida, at only 43 years old something unimaginable happened that would forever change my life going forward. The night before our flight, my teenaged kids and my husband were playing cards and I had a headache. It was the type of headache where you have a bag of ice on your head. Before we went to bed, I scavenged through my bag to see what I had to help me with this terrible headache. I had some magnesium in the bag. I made it through the night and woke up feeling pretty OK, yet I asked my hubby at the first sign of a headache that morning if he had any extra aspirin on him. He takes a daily aspirin. Luckily, he did. We had planned a relaxing day by the pool before we would take our flight home that afternoon. We usually don’t take connections but we needed to get home that afternoon so we could get back to work the next day. The school year was also starting; so, we took a flight with a connection to get us home on time. I got everyone fed at the airport and that headache started to creep back up. So, I ran over to the little kiosk that has all the sodas and chips. There I found Excedrin. I knew that it had aspirin in it and something in my mind told me to grab it. The first leg of the flight was uneventful. My husband and I watched a great movie on our Amazon fire. There was some inclement weather, so the flight went higher than usual and took a little longer than expected. We deplaned and our connection was tight, so we were rushing to our new gate. As we arrived at the gate, I saw my sister-in-law’s sister, but I only saw half of her! As I hugged her, I quickly realized that something was terribly wrong. My vision was split in half. Things seem to have crisscrossed. I told my husband I needed to sit down. But it was our turn to board. My kids got on the flight, I was still sitting in the terminal, more people boarded, and I knew I shouldn’t get on the plane. My husband was so encouraging and he told me I would be OK. He gave me his arm and I walked onto the jetway. Yet, I knew I was not alright. My arm was starting to tingle and so did my tongue. By the time I made it to a seat, my tongue was numb like I had just had Novocaine at the dentist. Then from the top of my head down to the tip of my toe, my entire right side was going numb! I calmly told my husband that we needed to get off the flight.
You see, I believe there are two types of people in this world, those that when they are faced with adversity flip out and then there are those of us that are eerily calm. I am in the camp of people that fall in the latter. I was probably too calm. My husband didn’t realize the severity of my condition. I told him that my entire side was going numb. He tells me now that his assessment was that I was speaking clearly, I wasn’t slurring my speech, my face was not drooping, and I was calm… apparently I was repeating myself, but I was calm. So, he thought I was fine. I was not fine. Since we were one of the last to board, the flight quickly pulled back from the jetway. Again, I tried to explain to my husband.
“We need to get off the plane, there is something terribly wrong with me.”
He said, “If I say something now, it’ll be an FAA event.”
I told him, “I am having a TIA event!”
But, he’s so good at calming me. He reassured me that I would be OK. He and I both assumed my blood sugar must be low because I had not eaten much that day. So, he held my hand tightly and closed his eyes as the plane made its way to the runway. I was in no mood to sleep!
I tried to take his affectionate direction and I closed my eyes. As I did, I saw an alternate version of what was about to play out! A premonition, if you will.
I saw my body lying on the aisle of the plane. I saw my husband panicking over my body with a stewardess. I saw my 14-year-old daughter peering over the seat and looking at my still body on the floor as the plane climbed in the air. Yet, my viewpoint of this scene was from the overhead bins! I heard my husband ask the stewardess to land the flight. She said there was nowhere to land yet. He told her, “But, she’s dying.”
Upon hearing those words, I immediately opened my eyes and sprang into action. That was all but a vision, a dream, a premonition, a warning. I couldn’t just let that happen. Again, I calmly told my husband that something was severely wrong and that I thought I was having a stroke. He reassured me again that I would be fine. I told him, “I’m not fine!” At that moment my hand began to claw up as the numbness took over my entire arm. My toes and foot also started to claw up, like when you get a Charley horse.
Ahhh haaa! It came to me! I told my husband to find my purse. I remembered that I had picked up that Excedrin that has aspirin in it at the last stop. As I tried to pick up the Excedrin, I couldn’t use my right hand to do so. I had to use my left hand to put it into my mouth and I couldn’t even take the bottle of water to my lips with my right hand. I popped two of those as the plane took off from the runway. Tingling was happening all over the right side of my body.
I knew that I was trapped. The flight was about an hour and ten minutes and all I needed to do was survive. I asked my husband if he knew where all the essential paperwork was in our home… my will, my power of attorney, my insurance policies. I made him promise me in that moment verbally that he would be sure to take care of my children if I did not make it or if I was incapacitated. Being a financial advisor, I knew I was well covered with life insurance, disability insurance, and if I was incapacitated that all the financial needs would be covered. Since I prepare others for a scenario like this, I am prepared as well. I closed my eyes, held onto my husband’s hand, and began to pray.
While praying, I saw my body being filled with a white liquified light and I kept seeing flickers of gold. I knew I was being held in God’s arms at that moment. I imagined that white light healing me, filling my body, then embracing me, and my prayer was simple. “Lord, hold me in your arms, I am at your Mercy.” I told God, “If you need to take me home now, I’m ok with that. But, if you are leaving me here, do not leave me here crippled and debilitated. My new hubby doesn’t deserve to push me around for the next 40 years. If I was created in your image and likeness, I don’t believe you created me to be this way (debilitated), you created me for greatness! So, Lord, if Your will is for me to stay here, remove the enemy and his evil from my body.”
I took yet another Excedrin as numbness and tingling waved through my body. When we landed, I had regained some feeling in my right side, yet I could barely see. I was able to walk off the plane myself, but I had to hold onto my hubby to make my way off the plane and through the airport. As we made our way to baggage claim, I talk-to-texted my cousin who is my primary care physician and asked him if he could take a phone call and that it was urgent. At this point, it was about 10:30 at night. I got on the phone with him and tried to explain what was happening. I had to hand the phone to my husband because I could barely give my doctor the details besides to tell him the fact that my side had gone numb.
My doctor advised us to go to the hospital. We eventually arrived at the hospital, they immediately took me for a CT scan, and they confirmed the worst. At 43 years old, I had just had a stroke. And not a small one…it was almost 2 inches! But, I was blessed!
Had the stroke been in another area, I wouldn’t be able to talk nor walk nor feed myself nor use the bathroom!
The stroke affected my occipital, meaning a portion of my eyesight, so as I write this, I’m sitting in a dark room trying to rest my eyes. Yet, I can’t rest. There are so many people that make excuses every day to do the least versus give their best. Right now, I can curl up and complain about the world, I could feel bad for myself, or I can suck it up, pull myself up by the bootstraps, and share with you my mindset. I prefer the latter.
There are so many people I work with on a daily basis and all I do is hear them bitch and moan. They complain about how other people didn’t do their job, how other people didn’t do this, how technology spoiled that, when in reality it’s just their flipping mindset. I’d like to share with you a little of my mindset as I lay here in this dark room trying to heal, but realizing the only way to do so is to make an impact on others.
So, stop bitching and moaning! Shut the f*#% up, put on your big girl / boy pants, walk it off, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, grow a pair, wake up, suck it up buttercup, grow up, or pick any other catchphrase!
They say that misery loves company, what they really mean is that people love to bitch and moan and hope that somebody will validate their feelings. That is an average mindset. Do you want to be a part of a world-class extraordinary mindset or would you rather be average and ordinary? If you want a world class mindset, maybe you need to take a listen to some of these principles that I’m about to share with you.
I’m not some genius, these are just some thoughts that I’ve gathered from some people in my life. I’ve been very blessed over the years to be mentored by some of the greatest entrepreneurs. I’ll tell you what has made them the greatest. Would you like to know their differentiating factor? It’s not about the amount of money they made, nor the amount of people they’ve helped; it’s about the way they think about the world.