Friday, April 1, 2016

It ain't me, babe

Lately I feel I've been getting an awful lot of credit for what I've accomplished thus far on my post-stroke journey, this makes me feel uncomfortable, so I want to clear some things up for the sake of my conscience.

First of all, pre-stroke Liz would have luxuriated in all of this praise and validation she gets on a regular basis, but this new, post-stroke Liz is verrry uncomfortable with all of that.


Well, let me tell you, I don't think I've done anything at all. All I've done is get out of bed in the morning, put one foot in front of the other and tried to be a better version of myself than I was the day before. The reason that I don't feel I've done anything to deserve any of this validation is because, in my opinion,it is all of the people who are around me all of the time that deserve the praise. Without Matt constantly pushing me to be better at, well, everything. I wouldn't even think to try to be good at everything. Without Charlotte's brilliant smile, kind heart and warm hugs, I wouldn't care about setting a good example for how a strong woman should behave when life deals you a shitty hand and, of course, without my co-op standing by ,me, believing in me and allowing me to find a place within the ranks of the workers all the while allowing me a safe place where I could find myself again, I would still be sitting on the couch playing the smallest violin in the world for myself.

So, what I'm saying, it's true what they say, it really takes a village, because without mine, I'd be sucking at life and, according to a lot of people, I'm not.

Even though hearing that makes me uncomfortable. So, thank you all, of you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Reel Me In

Something happened today that left me reeling for the entire day; Our day started off as normal, Charlotte crawled into bed with us at 7am and promptly passed out on Matt, my alarm went off, I got dressed and Charlotte and I had breakfast, Charlotte got dressed and watched cartoons til it was time to leave to take me to work at the co-op. When we got to the co-op, Matt and Charlotte ran into the store ahead of me, as usual, I went straight to the back, attempted to find an empty locker to shove my giant coat and purse into, got my name tag and, clocked in and counted my cash drawer and began walking to the front of the store, as I was heading up front, Matt walked past me and said,
"your old therapist is here, I think she's looking for you." I immediately began going through my mental Rolodex of every therapist this could be and immediately settled on one option: Erica! Erica was my primary OT in rehab, the therapist I worked with most frequently. Erica was in charge of attempting to breathe life back back into my damn left arm, of teaching me how to live in a post stroke world and body. Erica spent many hours listening to me bemoan my existence and worry over whether Charlotte was going to like me or not. It was Erica who first told me I was not capable of returning to my position as Front End Manager at the co-op, a bitter pill to swallow.

It's been four years since I've seen her.

And seeing her after all that time really drove home how far I've come.

When I was working with her in rehab, I could hardly focus on a single simple task for longer than one minute. But, today I worked a cash register during a very busy lunch rush at work, I stayed focused on my tasks and even multi-tasked throughout the day, an impossible feat during my days in rehab; The last time I saw Erica, I felt that my life was crumbling apart in front of my eyes and that there was no way I could live my life this way. But today as the clear winter sunshine streamed through all of the co-op's windows I felt so happy to be alive and working, lucky to be having such a great day, one- armed or not.

So, I guess the point of all of this is, if anyone out there is reading this while in rehab or at the beginning of your post-stroke journey, I am here to assure you that, although it seems impossible right now, there is life after stroke and It does get better. Do not give up on life, or it will give up on you.