Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Questions Answered

Today a frequent reader and commenter posed some interesting question in a comment that I wanted to address:"How are things with Matt during this time? He's seems like he's been nothing but loving and supportive and wonderful (which is what he should be), but how has all of this affected you guys?  What kind of things have you learned, or how have things changed in your dynamic?  "Matt is dealing with everything the way he normally deals with things; He is a remarkably level-headed, rational and loyal person, I don't think not helping me has ever crossed his mind, this is what he's supposed to be doing as far he's concerned. But I think it is diffucult for him because he's watched me change so drastically as a result of the stroke, my brain just doesn't work the same way anymore so I react to things differently, live my life diffrrently, I'm not quite as vibrant or confident as I used to be and I think he misses that part of me, but he and I feel that person is starting to resurface again and now that my voice is starting to sound like my voice agsin, I thik he feels better, I know for awhile there he was scared to death that the woman he married would never come back, but with time I am and I reassure him that I will be back some day, ready and rarin' to go!My stae of mind these days is in large part to Matt kicking me in the ass everytime I attempted to throw a pity party for myself, he constantly reminds me how lucky I am and how important it is to stay positive andhow important it is to keep hope alive. The thing I love the most about Matt, although it infuriates me most of the time, is his ability to call me on my bull shit anytime I'm ready to give up on something either due to fear or lack of self cinfidence he talks me through it so I don't give up, ever! And as far as how this has changed our relationship, I think we appreciate each other more than we did and we certainly learning to have more opatience with each other and he has blossemed as this experience has unraveled as a wonder ful caregiver and father, I truly believe this was his destiny and am so thankful everyday for his calm, comforting solid prescence in my life, I never could have made it this far without his support.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Days Go By

Something amazing happened today! Something that made my day, before I tell you let me set up the story.  One of the biggest issues I've had since the stroke is keeping track of what day it is, reading a calendar is extremely challenging because it requires a higher level of cognition to do that, according to Super Annie. In an attempt to cure this problem I've had since November, Matt has put a calendar in our room for me to look at everyday, he writes all of our various doctor and therapy appointments on it si I can see what is happening when. He also crosses out the days that have passed so I can better see where we are on the calendar. I look at the calendar everyday and try to remeber what day of the week we're on and the date, so I can figure out the date a few days later without having to look. We had an OT appointment this morning at the University's clinic, and as the Master of the Calendar Matt is usually in charge of setting the alarm clock on the days we have to get up early. This morning the alarm did not go off when it should have, so I got up and got ready instead of giving into the desire to stay in bed since the alarm did not go off. Turns out Matt got a little confused about what day it was because of the long weekend. For the first time since the stroke I remembered something he forgot! I have finally conquered the calendar!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Unexpected Words

Afew days ago I was having lunch with a couple of friends we were discussing various tragedies that had touched our lives and how they ultimately changed us and I found myself uttering a phrase that I never ever would have thought would come out of my mouth: "This is the best thing that's ever happened to me." What? Really? Yes. Really.Befor this happened to me I took so much for granted, I had no idea how luck I was, I was blind, really, I didn't enjoy my life as much as I should have.Now every day is a blessing and I'm excited every morning to see what's going to happen that day. So, yes, this has been a blessing in disguide, how's that for acceptance?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Turning The Corner

The most recent progress I've made is due to one thing: a passage I read in Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's book"My Stroke Of Insight"she said that losing hope will put an end to recovery. That really hit me where it mattered because when I read that passage I was close to giving into my hopelessness. And this was a good mantra to repeat to myself, to this day, I firmly believethis is the truth becasuse once there is no hope, what's the point?If I had given up when I wanted to, I wouldn't be back at work or carrying my baby around, changing diapers and walking in the backyard without a cane, I refuse to let this defeat me, I guess my stubborness is coming in handy in this situation!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hindsight Strikes again

This is a photo of my mom and I in my room on 3West, you can kind of see my arduous therapy schedule written on the white board.
Seeing my OT from rehab, Erica on Monday got me thinking about my time in rehab a lot. Those were probably the carkest hours of my life, I had no idea how to process the myriad of emotions I felt on a daily basis and could not accept the new person I was. Looking back on it, I I had the clarity then that I have now, I would have thrown evrything I had into therapy, I feel like I kind of phoned it in at the time, I was so exhausted and in such a fog, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, I kept waiting for my body to bounce back miraculously. I as given a wonderful gift when I was sent to 3 West, I just couldn't see it at the time. I was so devestated that my new motherhood had been torn from me, I was pissed off is what I was, I felt cheated and betrayed by my own body. So if anyone on 3West is reading this, my message to you is, I know you're tired, more tired than you ever thought possible, but you ar exactly where you need to be,those therapists are wonderful peopl who know what they're doing, listen to them and give it everything you've got, even if it feels like you've got nothing left, the rewsrds far out weigh the exhaustion. I'm telling you it gets better, life goes on and is still beautiful, never give up, there is always hopr and that goes for anyone who is facing adversity.

Monday, May 21, 2012

options weighing

so, I've been toyonhg with the idea of turning this blog into a book, but I am now feeling hesitant about it, I'm not ready to conclude my story just yet and feel that I would have to shut the blog down if I wrote the book, snd I'm not ready fo that yet, this has become an important part of my day and I'm, not ready to end my time blogging about my journey, since I don't know when or where the journey will end. any ideas? thoughts?concerns?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Th Great Groming Gain

I am proud of myself today, but it's for a weird reason, let me explain: I've never been a girl who is overly conxerned with body hair, I just don't care that much about it, I'm not trying to make a statement by not shaving, I just forget to do it when I'm in the shower, that's how little I care. So, I was surprised the other day when I discovered that I felt a little self-concsious about my overgrown armpit hair, I haven;t touched it inmonths, Imean, shaving your armpits is a job that is a little easier with two working arms, so, I got in the shower today and contemplated my plan of attack. I picked up my razor and shaving cream and started to shave the right pit with my right hand, awkward, yes, but I accomplished it without bleeding all over the place, then I got to the left pit. Now, when you dont use your limbs the joints get very stiff, so my left arm does not lift up easily, I tried to prop it up on th back of my shower chair, but I could not get it into any position wher I wouldn't turn my pit into hamburger, so I am taking advantage of the fact that the left pit never sees the light of day and leaving it be.But I got my right one done! I felt so accomplished when I was finished, luckily I'm a pretty adaptable lady and today I managed to discover a different way to accomplsh a two-handed task with one hand.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The fact that I am able to cross the yard relatively easily to look at the cute baby pony in our neighbor's yard is a true testament to the peopl who have been helping me since my stroke, all of my PTs: Carrie, Alyce, Courteny, Donna, jill and Derek and it's I'm telling all of you, if you ever have to have physical therapy, do the exercises they give you! they work!Considering the fact that a couple of months ago I was still too scared to walk without my cane, I think the fearlessness with which I now cross the yard with is pretty damn good! Due to that ability, I got to ride over with my neighbor today to meet her 2 week old horse baby, Kid, wonderful!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Facing My Foe

A few weeks ago I told my PT, Jill, that I wasnted to work on being able to walk up and down stairs without having to grip desperately onto something, so that's what we've been focusing on. Other than that the main goa lof my physical therapy has been to strengthen my left leg and to be able to carry Charlotte around, the latter goal has been reached. My left leg is still pretty weak but doing well. Today once I got situated in the rehab gym, Jill pulled out one of the steps I've been working with, a four inch one. Now, I know that doesn't sound too high, but once you've become acustomed to a twi inch step, those extra two inches make a big difference. Once she had the step where she wanted it she informed me that she wanted me to step up onto it, using my left leg to pull myself up. After looking at her like she as crazy I got an decided to give it a try. I was scared but juill was right there next to me just in case I fell. The first couplr trie wer pretty wobbly, until Jill got me into a good position and I got up onto that step, onlt losing my balance once and even then, I corrected my body position, to compensate for the loss of balance. Huge accomplishment! The whole time Jill kept telling me to have faith in myself, something I struggle with on regular basis, so now tha I know what I'm capable I plan on giving myself a little more credit!

Monday, May 7, 2012

First Day Back

S I'm sure there are some people out there wh may be wondering how my first day back at work went, and I am happy to report that it went very well! It was great to have somthing to do, to talk to people. I basically answered phones and helped customers, a good way to reaquaint myself with the store. I still felt a litle awkward on the phone as our system is a little quirky, luckily some really smart person made a cheat sheet and put it next to the phones (me) the only actual issue I had was mybeing a little too harsh of a crtic of myself, felling self-conscious about my speed and speech, which no one cared about! So now I am plesantly tire and feel great about how I spent my day.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

working my way back

Wednesday marked my six month strokiversary, so its got me thinking, about six months ago I was completely bedridden, unable to speak above a whisper and I couldn't swallow lquids, but now there are many reasons to say, I've com a long way, baby. Monday marks my triumphant return to work, basically since this happened my goal has been to get to a point where I could work again, but I am finding I am riddled with anxiety at the thought of my comeback. It feels like the same kinf of nervousness I experience before I start a new job: Will I be good at what they have me do? Am I hoing to mess something up? Will myco-workers like me? Now I already know that they do, my work family have been the most compassionate, supportive and accomodating group of people, outside of my immediate family,througout this who thing, but the Liz that will be clocking in on Monday is a little different than the Liz that clocked out over sox months ago, so Iqorry that I will not be the me they expect. I have decided to be great at anything I am asked to do, because, not only will going back to work help my morale, I believe it will help me cognitively and physically. I am so thankful to my job for giving me the chance to work my way back in there, to find my place againand to be a productive member of sovirty again and to work with the coolest group of people ever assrmbled!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Diaper Change:Fail

This morning I got up to the moaning and groaning of my little baby, so I dedcided to go ahead and change her diaper, this job usually falls into Matt's lap since I'm still not very quick or proficient at changing diapers, but I went ahead and did it anyway, why not? Well, I managed to clean the forest green poo off of her butt, but I managed to get it all over the changing table, changing a squirmy 6 month old's diaper when you're half awake with one hand is not a super easy task, sreating more work for Matt who heroically swoops in and cleans up after me when I make a big 'ol mess, so I went back to bed after apologozing profusely, and went over the events of the morning in my head. Normally an incident like this would plummet me into a downward spiral of self-doubt and sef-deprcation, but I didn't go that route this morning.I figure any failure is a little success, because, at least I tried at least I showed up. And with every failur, I am rwlearning how o do things and eventually I'll get it right.. S I am proud that I gave it the old college try and I feel good anouthat, so good, I did the dishes this morning, look who's doing stuff?!