Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Visual Art Therapy I Don't Qualify For

I've watched some pretty amazing videos this week of stroke survivors drawing and painting. I even been encouraged by Diane's husband, Bob, in attempting to draw after his stroke took that aspect of his life away. So is there hope for me to ever publish more of my children's series of books...possibly. And possibly means hope.

Currently I'm having a rough enough time trying to write a grocery list. My left hand refuses to draw straight lines and close circles. In OT we were working on that a year later. The idea of painting and drawing again is part of who I was as a cartoon artist. Perfect for the children's books I wrote. Remember I have six books completed and waiting on me to do the illustrations.

Although my stroke and aphasia took away a lot of things I could do, I was left with the ability to creatively write with difficulty and read, also with difficulty. Being able to express myself verbally is challenging, but given time, I can make my point known. There is a big difference between doing something with difficulty and not being able to do it at all. I'm so much luckier than others who have survived strokes. I can finally say it and that's a huge step forward for me to make.

I wonder if my writing and drawing could have been recovered earlier with an art class in my early transitional therapy? Possibly, but there wasn't the time, money, or transportation to get to any of these and still isn't. Therapies focus on what you can't do first of basic ADLs. These other things are side bar activities for severely aphasic stroke survivors and I'm not severely handicapped enough...thus another gray area or crack that I fall through in the floor. Those classes are reserved for aphasics with problems communicating and mine would be for just gaining my old life back. Big difference therapy wise.

I guess I could buy an end roll of newspaper paper from the newspaper printing company and some finger paints to start. I did this for my children as a deterrent from coloring on my walls. Now there's a workable idea. Start my own studio for me, but I'm no artist or therapist. Yes I could compare earlier works from current works to judge my progress, but I couldn't tell what I was doing wrong and how to make it right.

In my life before, I painted pictures and murals on walls, drew cartoon figures, illustrated books, and enjoyed it as another creative outlet. Now the effort frustrates me. That's the last thing I need is more frustration...maybe next month or year. I focusing this year on getting my left arm, wrist, hand, and fingers functioning again.

There's nothing like a picture to speak a thousand words. For me, I'll see a picture and type a thousand words...maybe, if I can think of a thousand words to string together. Maybe I can convince one of the local artists to start a class for my stroke group. I do know quite a few of them. Now there's a better idea. If I keep writing like this I'll have a whole program outlined.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. Here's another reason to cheer, Go, Jo, Go! That's the way to work through frustration to find a workable solution. I do hope the local artists will help your stroke group. It's got such a positive vibe to me. ; )

  2. Hi JL .. you will improve in some direction over time .. relax and maybe try one thing .. without stretching the brain too much?! Difficult I know - because you're a great thinker .. good luck and all the best -Hilary

  3. Zan Marie, Thanks. Currently, I am looking for an artist or group of artists with their own studios, AND a yoga instructor.

    Hilary, I'd thought about one thing at a time but I've never been wired that way.

  4. Does your community center offer art classes? That might be another option to explore.

  5. The only art classes are for the YMCA and college as continuing education. No community center.

  6. Jo, I think Bob (if he could) would tell you to just go for it. His very first sketchbook post-stroke is filled with half-completed, just-started-then-quit, gave-up-in-the-middle-of, "not good" (his words) drawings, but he kept going at it. and you see what he's doing now!

    And when he writes, (the only thing he can write is his name), none of his circles are closed and his lines are crooked. But he can close those circles and make straight lines when he draws... I believe it's because the creative part of his brain is still intact and takes over his left hand when he works on his art. The creative part of your brain is certainly intact! Let it help your hand and you just might be surprised.

  7. Diane,
    Thanks for the encouragement!


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