Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is helped up the US Capitol steps by Vice President Joe Biden (2nd from right) and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (left), U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is at far right, as many other Senators line the Capital steps on Thursday morning January 3, 2013. | Jon Sall~Sun-Times
When Illinois' junior Sen. Mark Kirk returned to the Senate last month, it was a triumph for friend and foe alike.
On both sides of the aisle, Kirk was applauded after making his climb back up the Capitol steps to return to office - ne easy task, as Lynn Sweet reported on Jan. 4.
Now Sen. Kirk is talking about just how difficult that return was. In an op/ed column he wrote for the Washington Post, Kirk talks about the struggle it's been since his stroke - the fear he felt the day it hit, the fight to get back and how he's changed as a person and a senator as a result of being stricken.
Kirk, who writes that he was always a "glass half empty guy," before his stroke says he's become much more positive and optimistic as a result of surviving not only the stroke, but the rehabilitation:
I'm different from what I was. My left leg and left arm might never work like they once did, but my mind is sharp. I'm capable of doing the work entrusted to me by the people of Illinois, but I am forever changed.