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ART BLOG article

Stroke Update – Scooter

I am so lucky and blessed to have so much going for me: My kids are happy and successful and all doing well, and I have a husband who loves and supports me. My stroke could have been much worse and I am so grateful that it wasn’t.

BUT today was hard.

And I feel foolish as I sit here and write with tears in my eyes. But it’s still hard.

We bought a scooter…a real challenge for me.

Annie's Update: Getting a new scooter and frame of reference

My husband, Lad, loving the camera!

Just the fact that we were able to buy it is something I am so thankful for. Because I honestly don’t need it. 

While we’re a one-car family, I can always take a Lyft (that can get expensive); or I can get a ride (I don’t want to impose);  or I can walk to the grocery store and the gym (it takes almost an hour and I’m exhausted by the time I get there.)

So, it’s going to be great to have the scooter for trips like this and it’s going to make getting around so much easier than it is now.

My husband asked if I was excited about it, and I said, “Well, yes and no.”

Yes, because it will make things easier.

No, because this is the first time in eight years that I’m realizing I probably won’t get much better.

As an athlete, I kept treating my “stroke thing” like it was a sprained ankle and I could eventually work through it.  Maybe everybody else knew that I wouldn’t fully recover. I was determined to prove them wrong.

For all these years, I kept telling myself…

I am smarter than this little “stroke thing”.

I am going to work out enough. 

I am going to fully recover.

They don’t know me and what I’m capable of!


I felt defeated when the scooter arrived—like this is my admission that I’m not going to fully recover.

Am I letting my kids down? Am I letting my husband down?

OK, Annie, (I tell myself) enough of this!

I am grateful for so much.

That I’m able to walk.

That I’m able to talk, laugh, and make art.

That my children and husband are happy and healthy—and they all give me so much support.

That we have the means to buy a scooter, and that it will help me get around independently.

That as much as life after a stroke can suck, I wouldn’t change a thing and know that we’ve all grown stronger and closer in the last eight years.

Lad’s trying it out and loving it! I’m trying to get used to it.

And I know I will eventually feel grateful for the scooter itself– it’s just going take some time.

Annie Salness

Artist, wife, mother of 4 great kids!, lifelong learner and fine art teacher.


  1. Sarah Peroutka on August 28, 2018 at 3:01 am

    I love your candor in talking about what you’re experiencing and think you are demonstrating a healthy combination of determination, hopefulness, resourcefulness, and practicality. Thanks for sharing your journey, you inspire me. xo

    • Annie Salness on August 30, 2018 at 12:03 am

      Thank you, Sarah!

      • Corrine on October 16, 2018 at 2:23 am

        Annie-You are an inspiration!

  2. Karen Sjoblom on August 28, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Annie: You are my hero and you’ve kicked that stroke to the curb. I hope you will come to love the extra freedom and energy you’ll have from your new wheels. Love from Chicago!

    • Annie Salness on August 30, 2018 at 12:03 am

      Ha! “you’ve kicked that stroke to the curb”
      Love you back! 🙂

  3. Barbara Pask on August 28, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    I still think you will improve, I don’t see it that way at all. Life is hard enough, just try to enjoy it. I admire you so much. ❤️

    • Annie Salness on August 30, 2018 at 12:01 am

      Thank you, Barbara!

  4. David Balding on August 28, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Both you and/or husband are an inspiration for me.

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:58 pm

      Thank you, David!

  5. Ann Beavers on August 28, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    So proud of you for biting the bullet and accepting the 3 wheeler…it really is just like riding a bike to where you need to go. Ride with pride and add some fun attachments?

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:57 pm

      You bet! I’ve got some fun attachments! I’ll post it in my next newsletter!:)

  6. Monica on August 28, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    Transitions are a struggle and I resonate with your situation Annie. Although my medical circumstances are different somewhat, I am in the middle of pushing forward or admitting that this is my new normal. I can’t decide yet on a scooter but would enjoy walking my service dog on these beautiful Colorado mornings!
    I admire your artwork and your courage. Blessings on you Annie

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:56 pm

      Monica, you’re right. I’m in the middle determining if this is my new normal but pushing forward. Thank you!

  7. MerrieSue Dobert on August 29, 2018 at 2:34 am

    Annie, although I have been unable to coordinate my time with your amazing classes, I read every word you write and enjoy every opportunity to view your amazing artwork (and recipes!). You are an inspiration to all, especially women. Your expressions in word and paint are what so many of us appreciate and feel.

    Hope to get in another class with you at one point!

    Enjoy the last of our summer daze.

    MerrieSue Dobert

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:53 pm

      Thank you, MerrieSue. I look forward to it!

  8. Mona cordell on August 29, 2018 at 6:03 am

    Very dear friend, this post is amazing in so many ways. Acceptance and courage over surrender and/or regection . Your ever uplifting understanding of family and your talent! I love you dearly and can’t wait to race you in those scooters ??

    • Annie Salness on August 30, 2018 at 12:01 am

      Well, it only goes 4.4 mph, so if you can walk fast or jog… 😉
      I love you!

  9. Misty Archield on August 29, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Hi I just wanted to say with tears in my eyes and love in my heart ❤️ that you are such a big inspiration!! trying not to sweat the small stuff and to remember life is to be valued and to be grateful for each and every day. This is what I remind myself of every day. Thank you so much for telling your life journey it reminds us to keep holding on and press forward and never never give up. Thanks again

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:51 pm

      Hi Misty! Everything you said is true…be grateful and never, never give up. Thank you.

  10. Sally on August 29, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Oh Annie, thank you for being so honest and open. You demonstrate the qualities that make life so wonderful, by recognizing the things to be grateful for and challenging yourself, trying to be the best version of you regardless of the obstacles that come along. You are a gift to us all, a brave and talented woman who is so much more than my words can express. Thank you for being an inspiration to me on a day where I too see my life changing and not in ways I want. Love you!

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      I was worried about writing about it…THANK YOU to you and all of the friends responding in such a positive way! It means so much.

  11. Jeff Hall on August 29, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Annie, I am so impressed with your perseverance. You are setting a great example for those around you. Enjoy your scooter and let it be okay that you get a break now and then. Your art just keeps getting better and better.

    Best Wishes,

    Jeff Hall

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:35 pm

      Thank you very much, Jeff!

  12. Patsy on August 29, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Hi Annie,

    Your story was poignant but at the same time strong! You have done amazing things and will continue to do amazing things. I would guess at some point you will be happy about the scooter and the way it makes life a little easier. And hey, your scooter might be slightly different from other “scooters” but scooters are now big every where now, so you are one of the scooter crowd.

    I admire you so much and what a great role model you are, not only to your family, but to all of us who have been fortuante enough to meet you.

    Take care and happy painting! Can’t wait to see your next body of work.
    Love Patsy

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:32 pm

      Oh, Patsy, thank you for your kind words! And I am one of the scooter crowd!

  13. Jacqueline Sowell on August 29, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    What a beautiful article! I’m touched that you share your journey with such openness and honesty.

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      Thank you, Jacqueline!

  14. Jacque Frenzel Dockery on August 29, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Annie, you’re so inspiring. I know you won’t let the scooter (name it!) make you feel less than you are, but it’s there to help give you the strength and the time to do SO much more! You will build just the right relationship with it and still strive to improve physically. I believe in you and I believe you know God is with you in all of this, too! I will continue praying for you and all things ‘stroke’ and sing praises for all the accomplishments you have achieved so far. You are a wonderful, remarkable and blessed woman!! Love you niece! Aunt Jacque

    • Annie Salness on August 29, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      I will name it Aunt Jacque! Thank you for all your kind words and prayers, and I DO believe that God is right there with me! 🙂

  15. Melody Cleary on August 30, 2018 at 12:42 am

    Hi Annie – I can totally relate to your feelings having had a slow progressive disability my whole life. Every 5 yrs or so there are ‘new normals’….facing another one now. My GoGo scooters have been a huge help….and so has my husband and family. Count our blessings, right? Blessings to you <3

    • Annie Salness on September 1, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      Thank you, Melody! I’m already seeing my scooter as a huge help!

  16. Patty Brumley on September 1, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Dear Annie, I understand. In my heart, soul, and broken little brain! I had a brain tumor, brain surgery, and was SO SURE I would be pre-surgery Patty asap. Hasn’t happened, and because of my changes inside & out and life learning along the way, I’ve waved goodbye to pre-surgery Patty, and focus everyday on learning who this new version of me is.
    By the way, you are doubly blessed–you can paint, and man, girl, you can write! Art AND smart–I’m the one blessed to know you! Go with God, my friend!

    • Annie Salness on September 1, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      How true…I have to say “goodbye” to parts of the pre-stroke Annie, “nice to see you” to parts that were already there, and “hello and welcome” to the new version of me! As far as the writing, I have a good friend, Madeleine, , who helps me. We go back and forth on the writing, and I am so thankful for her!

  17. Mary Scott on September 1, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    I’m sorry, Annie. I had no clue about what you’re going through! I imagine that was difficult to reckon with the reality of a scooter.I look forward to your emails and draw inspiration for my art. You’re so positive. Enjoy your new mobility.

    • Annie Salness on September 10, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      Thank you AND I am enjoying my scooter!

  18. Elaine on September 19, 2018 at 12:05 am

    Annie, you probably do not remember me but I used to be at Art On Broadway (just after you left)and I think we met at a couple of art occasions. I just LOVE your beautiful work.

    I cannot begin to tell you how much you have inspired me when I needed it most. I have always struggled with my health and the last 6 weeks have been tough. NOTHING like what you are going through. And today, I came across your website. Your perseverence, strength and determination has given me strength and lifted me up. Thank you for the beauty that you create through your work, your words and setting an example to never give up. Hope you get better soon.

    Elaine Tan

    • Annie Salness on September 20, 2018 at 1:54 am

      Of course, I remember you! You make lovely jewelry. 🙂 Thank you so much for those kind words. I really appreciate them. And I hope that you are feeling better soon.

      • Elaine Tan on September 20, 2018 at 2:22 am

        Annie, thank you. Sending you my best for your journey to recovery. Looking forward to seeing you and your lovely work.


  19. Celeste Bergin on October 15, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    The super cool thing about you, Annie, is how you think things over and let us all in on it! This is just a change, but you’re processing it…. and soon you’ll see that it is nothing but positive and awesome—maybe after your first trip to the grocery? It has always floored me how you went straight to painting just like you did before the stroke (with your non-dominant hand)! You are and always will be a complete wonder woman! FERSHIZZLE! 🙂

    • Annie Salness on October 15, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      Thank you, Celeste. I truley am processing, BUT so thankful that it wasn’t worse!

  20. Mollie Lupinacci on October 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Annie, I am so blessed by your candor. Thank you. Life isn’t all easy or all hard, all good or all bad. Your honesty shows health and healing. It also gives others permission to be honest and not just put on the happy face. Expectations are tough–others, our own. I am so glad you have so many around you to support you. Every day a new opportunity to take the good, the raw and the honest to our LORD for candid conversations and opportunities to hear what He has to say.

    You are loved. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are talented. You have so much to contribute and bless others. You are an inspiration in your realness.

    • Annie Salness on October 15, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      Thank you so much for commenting and your beautiful words.

  21. Dottie Leatherwood on October 15, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Annie you are such an inspiration! Those moments when we have to face something we don’t want to and make our peace with it are so challenging. You have faced this all so gracefully and honestly. xo

  22. Stacey on October 15, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    Oh Annie…I almost cried reading this, but I know God has a purpose in EVERYTHING. I have a card in my Bible (held onto from after my 1st miscarriage) that says, “Everything that comes into my life is filtered through God’s screen of love and is designed to make me like Christ. EVERYTHING.” So I was able to name my son “Nathaniel” and he knows he is a gift from God. So Melissa met Thomas because he stayed with you when you needed him…another gift from God.

    We are so blessed to know you and your incredible family. Enjoy your scooter. Don’t turn it up to “rabbit” too often ;)…

    Love, Stacey

    • Annie Salness on October 17, 2018 at 2:21 am

      I had a miscarriage right before Thomas. I figured that if I hadn’t had that miscarriage, Thomas wouldn’t be here. What a gift! I believe there is a purpose in my stroke and I wouldn’t have it any other way…
      BTW, I turn my scooter up to “rabbit” all the time! 😉

  23. Mary Kay Holman on October 16, 2018 at 3:32 am

    What a great example to your kids of taking care of yourself so you can have more energy and be more available to them and your family. Thanks for sharing your struggles and triumphs.

  24. Ruth on October 16, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Nobody is perfect… though I know many of us wish we could be. I am blown away by your honesty and candor… and your perseverence! What you have accomplished already puts most of us to shame… so more power to you, enjoying a ‘power’ ride! I hope you’re soon enjoying the luxury this scooter affords! Love ya’

    • Annie Salness on October 17, 2018 at 2:25 am

      I have been enjoying the scooter because of the gorgeous weather we’ve been having! I get to look around!
      Thank you for all your kind words. 🙂

  25. Bhavani Krishnan on October 16, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Wow! You are such an inspiration Annie. I second everything that’s been said. Your honesty and perseverance is just amazing.

  26. Elizabeth Velazquez on October 17, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    You have come so far! You are honestly such an inspiration!

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