He adds, "They say there are no atheists in foxholes, and this stroke put me into a very deep foxhole. Yet, that feeling of faith sustained me, so I have no feelings of anger or regret."

While it didn’t affect Kirk’s cognitive ability, the stroke altered his mobility on the left side of his body. Doctors say a blocked artery caused the ischemic stroke.

The junior senator will mark a major milestone in his recovery when he returns to Washington on Thursday. Kirk, who will use a wheelchair to get around more quickly at work, plans on climbing the steps of the Capitol without holding onto the handrail.

He says getting back to the D.C. grind is part of what kept him going during months of rehab: “I kept imagining going back to work and the irreducible physical amount of effort I had to put in.”