Thank you.
Those are two very simple words that contain just eight of the 26 letters that make up our alphabet. We all have lots of things we need to say thank you for every day.
Since Nov. 18, I've been recovering from my second stroke in 11 years. I have much to be thankful for. One, I'm still here, which I wasn't sure would even be a possibility as I lay on the floor in the small hallway leading to a bathroom at home early that morning.
My first stroke was more than 10 years ago. I went into the hospital on a Friday and was out the following Monday. That one was mild, relatively speaking. I had problems with my balance, half my face was affected, my speech was slurred and I had double vision. Those problems cleared up quickly and I was released. I had admitted in the past that I am not the best patient. That was no more evident than on Nov. 18.
I had stopped taking my medicines and was feeling good. I was even losing weight, reaching a number I hadn't weighed since before my oldest of two sons was born.
Reality really hit again when I couldn't stand up to go the bathroom. Each time I tried, I fell. I crawled to the bathroom. Getting out of the bathroom proved to be a ridiculous proposition as I bounced off walls and counters. It felt as if I was doing my best imitation of a ball in a pinball game.
My youngest was awake and tried to help but there was nothing he could do. Help did arrive and I was on my way to Self Regional.
While both strokes were in the brain stem, this one also was in the medulla. When my movements were still impaired three days later, I started to get really scared. When talk started about rehab, I knew this one was bad.
My balance and coordination were affected. I had double vision. My left side was weak and had that pins and needles feeling. My right side was not sensitive to hot or cold, nor dull or sharp.
I was at Greenwood Rehabilitation Hospital by the end of the week when the stroke occured and stayed until Dec. 12. I worked with physical and occupational therapists there. Since being released, I'm at Optimum Life Center working with occupational therapists. Therapy continues and I've come a long way, but still have a long way to go. When I started at Optimum Life, I entered the building in a wheelchair. I'm now walking in without any assistance.


Things are going great and everyone has been impressed and encouraging.
Since Nov. 18, there have been countless numbers of people who have come into my life who I believe have been instrumental in keeping me alive.
I have encountered endless doctors, nurses, technicians, aides, assistants, hospital cook staff and servers, transporters and cleaning women.
Thank you to the many friends and family who have been in regular contact. Friends of friends have been asking me. People I don't even know have been concerned about me.
Thank you to the Index-Journal management and staff for being there for me and for making the ordeal easier to handle. Thank you to the newsroom staff for rallying and covering for me. I came back to work last Monday, and while I'm not 100 percent, It feels good to be back.
Thank you to those who sent cards, plants or flowers, called or visited.
Thank you to those who have offered prayers, well wishes and encouragement. Thank you to everyone who added me to their prayer lists. That's a great power to have in your corner.
There are a few people who do need to be singled out.
For the most part, I have worked with four therapists through my rehab. Carrie and Nancy, my therapists at Greenwood Rehabilitation Hospital, and Julie and Haley, my therapists at Optimum Life, are angels. I know that without their constant care, prodding and pushing, and raising the bar with new challenges, I would not have advanced as far as I have. They credit my determination and desire for my recovery. I know they are the huge part of the reason.
Thank you to my dad and his friend Janet. When notified I was in the hospital they headed down from New Jersey as quickly as they could. My dad is the best. He always has been there for me.
Thank you to Nancy, my ex. She has been there for our boys Kyle and Adam … for me. She was great when introduced to my girlfriend, Amy, in the emergency waiting room at Self the day I was admitted. I'm pretty sure, from what I've heard, the security guard didn't know what to expect when Amy introduced herself to Nancy.
Thank you to Amy. After Nancy and I divorced, I didn't think I would want to date again. Through the thoughtfulness of a mutual friend, Amy was introduced to me and has been a part of my life ever since. She is the best and I don't know what I would do without her. I have been told she is "Godsent" and a "gem." No argument here.
Thank you to my boys. They have been troupers through this whole ordeal. They learned just how severe a stroke can be and the toll it takes on someone and their loved ones. They have been a great help.
I know that if not for the actions of Amy, Kyle and Adam in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, I would not be here. There's no doubt this has been rough on everyone, but compared to the alternative, rough is good.
All I can say is, thank you.

Sitarz can be reached at 864-943-2529 or via email at jsitarz@indexjournal.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.