Perhaps it is the legacy of Plato's body vs soul dualism, but I guess many of us would more easily relate our "true" self to "soul" and relegate the body to be a temporal and somewhat "fake" shell. So it is our bodies - somehow separate from who we are - that fail us when we grow old or sick.
Being with Ma J and learning more about what a stroke does to you makes it even easier at first to think of the body like some kind of a trap, a burden. The stroke affected her right hemisphere, so she has lost all feeling and use of the left side of her body. More than that, she has somehow "forgotten" that that left side of her body exists. And since the right hemisphere of the brain also controlled visual and spatial perception, she has a poor sense of time, loses attention easily and has trouble making sense of the TV dramas. Even her emotions sometimes seem a little out of her control.
But the stroke also demonstrated that the opposite is perhaps more real. Because all these are not just things which had happened to her body per se, as if who she is has remained untouched. Her emotional, intellectual life - even her spiritual life and certainly her personality, has changed together with the physical and physiological changes. So, in a strange way, these after effects of the stroke are now part of who she is and part of her life. And until she acknowledges that and accepts that her bodily condition - however dysfunctional and frustrating - is not a distinct, somewhat rebellious entity from her, she may never take that first step towards recovery.
Ma J, get well soon!