Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Come On and Raise Your Hand

Okay all you strokies, a question or three for you. I picked up the term strokies from Amy's site and it has kind of stuck a chord in me.

1) How many of you are at least six months out from your stroke?
I am raising my hand. Raise yours if this applies to you.

2) How many of you are still doing your OT/PT/Speech therapy routines?
I am raising my hand and waving it wildly, but I am also seeing a few hands faltering and lowering out there.  Is it yours? Shame on you. 
3) Are you fully recovered or just at a state of acceptance that this is how you will be from now on?
I'm not raising my hand to this one because I am not fully recovered and not accepting where I am, and neither should you.

I hear all you naysayers out there, "If you were five, ten, twenty years out from your stroke like I am you'd give up too." Nope, I don't think so. Here's why...

  • The brain is constantly learning. Learning doesn't stop until you die. They've got this
    fancy word for it called neuro-plasticity. People will get smarter or stupider as time goes on and that takes brain power. To me death is the absence of learning. I am a forever student in this life.
  • I'm too stubborn to give up. Yep that's right. There has never been a more mule headed person born than me and sometimes to my own detriment.
  • I'm generous to a fault. I'd rather do without than anyone else. It's a point of view. It's not that I'm not worthy because I am, but more someone else's needs are greater than mine. There is always someone else who has it worse off than you and I am thankful it's not me. Is that wrong? Does that sound condescending? Maybe. I may gripe about my family because they are such a big part of my life and the turmoil they cause, but I let them cause it. There are others in this world who have family but they are not close and there are others who have no family at all. I am thankful. If I can't do then I can't do, and I can't accept that. It's that simple to me really.
  • While I still have some paralysis and feeling loss from my stroke, I actually got off pretty light compared to some others. I didn't regain the use of my pre-stroke body, but I'm still able to care for myself and my husband with very little help from the outside world. That being said, I'm still not as self sufficient as I want to be. There are still a lot of things that I wish I could do again. I also believe it won't happen tomorrow and I may have to work years to achieve it.
  • Anything you want is worth working for. In your job didn't you not have to go to
    college and learn a skill set? Okay some of you didn't go to to college but you still had to learn what was required for your job, didn't you? Didn't it take you years to learn that skill set? Therapy is the same way. It is repeating a set of skills over and over again. It doesn't matter if you fail the first time or the hundredth time. You are working towards a goal. To be whatever and be the best whatever you could be. Doesn't the same principles apply here? Each exercise you do and keep doing strengthens the pathways to repeat that action, and with time, it becomes as solid as the original ones. Yes it could take years before my light fluttering grip becomes strong enough to hold anything or do something productive with it, but it's a start. We all have to start somewhere and set an ultimate goal of what you want to accomplish.
  • I am now talking about year goals instead of month or week goals. That's a change.
    For me, my goals for this year are to strengthen my ankle so it doesn't stay inverted and gain control of my fluttering grip so it won't take my entire body to do it.  
 If it doesn't happen in 2013, then it becomes a goal for 2014 or 2024. Goal deadlines are flexible where  therapy exercises and recovery are concerned. The important thing to consider is looking how far you've come in the year. Surely in the year you tried to accomplish a goal, other things were accomplished. Revel in that. Celebrated your achievements no matter how small. They are a step in the right direction.

Now if you are totally satisfied in being how you are for the rest of your life, there's no hope for ya. This year is already halfway over but still on my list to achieve and goal setting, but I'm still reaching for the stars but with my feet firmly planted on the ground. I'm still intent on reaching my goals. How about you? Isn't there one thing you would like to do better? Just one?

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. If I could speak normally, I don't think I would hate it as bad as I do. I'm definitely not satisfied like this.

  2. My careers depend on my speaking ability. While I have performed one wedding, it was not without difficulties. I have to be able to sign my name legibly for book signings and licenses, neither one do I do well right now so I'm stuck and hate it.

  3. But, you won't stay stuck, Jo! And you know it. I know it. Just go, Jo, go!

  4. No Zan Marie, I will always find a way to get unstuck. I'm too stubborn to do otherwise.

  5. THis is a fabulous post. My sister had a cva six years ago and made a rather miraculous recovery per her doctor's reports. She is still both receptively and expressively aphasic and for the first time this year I see her giving up. Its a heartbreak because she has changed so much over the past few years but she is now changing in a whole new way. We at first thought perhaps her stroke was extending but its not she is depressed ....but finding someone(a therapist) to "speak" with someone with her level of aphasia has been close to impossible...even through the local rehabs and agencies. I hope prayer is as powerful as we all believe it to be. Thanks for this post....I am going to discuss it with her when she's open to it.

  6. Zoe,
    Thank you and you're welcome. Aphasia is difficult. I am aphasic but not totally. I relearned quickly because I had to.

    I write better than I speak so I blog and email. I can always edit out the garbage. I had wonderful speech therapists who spoke aphasia which helped me immensely. While I still don't speak well, I try everyday to get better...and I am.

  7. This was a beautiful post. I, too, suffered a stroke in 2011; a hemorrhagic one. I underwent speech therapy for several months afterwards. Although most of my speech has returned to normal, I become overwhelmed easier than I did prior to my stroke. When that happens, I tend to stutter, lose my words, become flustered and confused. I understand completely. One thing we must never do is give up. I won't lie and say I don't have bad days, because I still have residual effects, but I am grateful to have been given a second chance at life.

    God Bless You and your family!



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