Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Enjoying Life

Yes, This is the new me!
My daughter posted this picture on her FaceBook page. I didn't even know that she took it. The point spite of my stroke, I am living life to the fullest and being me.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in being a stroke survivor and full of regret over what we lost that we lose sight over what is really important.

Yes, the destination of trying to be whole again is  important. We get so wrapped up in relearning and rehab that we fail to remember that journey is just as crucial if not more so in importance.

I was reminded of that this day. I was making corn dogs in my cake pop maker. They are little and just the right size for my 22 month old grandson, James, to eat. I was engrossed with being grandma and spending time with my grandson. Yes, the fact that I'm paralyzed on one side is a factor. Yes, I'm having to sit on a chair to cook because of balance issues with an ear infection. Yes, he's having to hold a bag so I can put them in so he can take some home. He got the hot dogs out of the package so I could cut them up. James stirred in the hot dogs into the corm muffin mix while I held the bowl. He set the twisting wind up timer for the cooking time. Not always correctly, but he isn't yet two years old.

BUT the value of the time spent with him was priceless.

He didn't care that I couldn't do some things. James only cared that I was spending quality time with him. He's a helpful little bugger with a giving spirit. Gee, I wonder where he gets that from? Currently, he's entered the terrible twos tantrum stage so it's best to keep him busy.

You may notice that I've cut my hair into a pixie style. No fuss. No muss. Though I've tried keeping my longer hair neat  and out of my face, it was a no win situation one handed. Hair is not important besides it will grow back. Back to the issue at hand...

Embracing what you can achieve after your stroke is a positive. Rocking your child, cooking a meal even if it's a nuke 'em meal, or if you're managing to do one thing with some adaptation of your old life it is precious.  It should nourish your soul and encourage you to try other new old things. I often compare myself to James since my stroke except now in some ways he has surpassed me in learning. I watch his trial and error how he accomplishes goals. In his trial and errors he has actually taught this old grandma how to do a few other things. Adaptability is common in youngsters, it's just that we, as survivors, have aged out of the exploration stage so it's harder.

Yes Jeremy, I swiped your pic!
In the advents of all the news and magazine touting "40 is the new 30, 70 is the new 50" etc. I wrote a new story in my WIP, Don't Get Your Panties in a Wad, about this very subject except it was 60 post stroke is the new 2. Yes, I'm writing again. Yipee! Wahoo! I was thinking of all my grandson and I have in common. Things like diapers, having someone cut up your food so you don't choke, nap time, drooling, etc. The list goes on and on. Now it might offend some stroke survivors as stereotyping, but I call it like I see it.

I should be so lucky...
  • as to be two years old instead of my age and having to relearn certain things.
  • as to have a young, nimble body that doesn't revolt.
  • as to have the joy of exploration for the first time.
  • as to having a loving and caring person show me the ropes.
Yes but instead I take joy that I can share any moments with my grandchildren because the worse thing that could happen to me is not being here to share in their lives and creating these moments to remember. My mother died when James' mother was just a little bit older than James, but still she has some memories. A fleeting glimpses of a smiling face and certain things she did with her. Life itself is precious and a gift. Don't waste it.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. I am looking forward to being a grandmother, so I'm envious. My kids aren't even married yet (which makes no difference to me), so I'm looking far ahead. And my daughter is unlikely to have children, so it's up to my son. Who knows? Anyway, I worry about not being able to change diapers or run after and scoop them up, especially given the rocky yard we have - not rocks scattered on the ground, but granite outcroppings standing 10-15 feet above the nearest ground. Rock walls. I HAVE to be able to baby-sit. How else can I be a proper Nona?

  2. Actually, I'm the grandma not the babysitter. I am only a babysitter in emergencies that was the case even before my stroke.

    While I may not be able to run after him, I find the crook in my cane is enough to reel him in. He is actually a pretty mindful child and behaves better for his grandma than he doe for his mother. He actually will "help" me instead of being bad.

    I have changed a messy diaper one handed.

  3. What an amazing, amazing story and you will be an inspiration to many, many to take the challenge to try, many that can and won't, many that are just plain lazy and want hand and foot service. I hope it rings a bell out there loud and clear.

    You are doing wonderful, and my very best to you.


  4. Beautiful photo and moment, and it's awesome to hear you reflecting on the beauty of it all. My son was 22 months at the time of my stroke. We made a lot of adaptations so I could still be "Mama",which was my #1 goal in all of rehab. We found "creative ways" to do most things and what I couldn't do....I cried my eyes out and worked harder till I could do everything."Nothing is impossible with determination!" Exactly!!!
    The ability about 2 year old...I felt the same way. We were developing at about the same time, and I was afraid he'd pass me up. He was much faster than me for a long time. He has certainly lived a different life than he would have had I not suffered a stroke. But he's undoubtedly learned a great deal from our experience and I'm grateful we got to grow together. :)

  5. Elizabeth, Exactly. Yes they would have known different lives if it had not been for the strokes, but it is important to be part of their lives.

    My older two girls remember me climbing trees and assorted other things, but my younger two don't because I couldn't. It might have changed some of their childhood but they still got me!

  6. 60 post stroke is the new 2
    That's a positive attitude. Go, Jo, Go!

  7. Beautifully said, beautiful message. Thanks!


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