Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Holes in Your Head? Brains Leaking Out

The subject for today is depressive craniectomy. Holes in your head to reduce swelling. Often because of trauma to the brain that would cause more damage if they didn't surgically do it. Mighty technical subject Nuh, uh, I think I'll pass.

Did your mama ever tell you that your brains leaked out through the holes in your head? Often because you did something really stupid.

As a teenager I thought of a snappy comeback that I didn't give voice to. I valued my life too much.
"Yeah, I do. They are called ears, a mouth, a nose, and two orbits for my eyes."
Oh the things we think as teenagers! We get a mouth on us. Now, I'm watching my children struggle with their own teenagers and enjoying every minute of it. [positively a wicked, evil grin on my face]The sweetest of paybacks.

So what does this have to do with living post stroke? Teenagers have brain damage. Not because of an insult like a stroke or trauma, but hormones. I often relate my recovery in reference to my grandchildren. Not in this case. Hormones have nothing to do with my poor choices. What we do have in common is the rush to get on with our lives.

So many stroke survivors, me not included, mentally pictured their lives as over because of their stroke. Me, I look at it as the end of a chapter of the book of my life. The next chapter will be full of surprises, joys, pain, and suspense as the previous one had. It's not the end of my book where all the questions are resolved in a tidy, little package.

Sure, I have passing moments of regrets of things I haven't recovered yet, but I still believe that I will. It's something to fight for. Did the brains leak out of one of the holes in my head? Nope not at all. I have hope. Every little achievement I make towards some semblance of normal is something that should be celebrated. Believe me when I say we celebrate the little things as often as possible.

For example, I have been trying to figure out how to grate vegetables without having to buy another gadget. I've been pondering it for almost a year. My favorite grater is not a box grater, but my flat one. I couldn't figure out how to hold it and the vegetable with only one hand working. Compound this with my craving my carrot cake. No store bought carrot cake tastes like mine. Don't get me wrong, Sara Lee comes closest, but it still doesn't taste as good as mine to me. I rehydrate the raisins in Bacardi Gold Rum. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

Then I was looking at my handy dandy handicapable cutting board...the one I purchased after my stroke. I positioned the prongs at their closest together setting so that they would fit inside my grater handle. I pushed the locking bar to hold a small plate and wedged the other end of the grater against it. Not quite a 45 degree angle was formed by the grater and it was tightly held in place.

I pulled out my carrots and set to work. We had grated cheese and carrots on our salad at lunch, and for his midnight carrot cake! Yes, I could have gone out and spent a bunch of money, which I don't have, on a food processor or ordered one of those one-handed graters from a medical supply house that my OT showed me, but I figured it out without spending a dime. Yes, grating two cups of carrots this way took a lot of time, but I was reveling in my success. One more step towards becoming the old me.

If I really thought my life was over, I'd have to have holes in my head. Other than the ones that were there since birth. The fact is that the strokes have killed off parts of my brain. And, other than the Christ or Lazarus, nothing lives after dying. But it's only parts of my brain and not my whole brain. The fact that I'm still drawing breath proves that. Where there is life, there is hope for a better tomorrow. I live it from waking hour to when I lay my head down for the night.

Maybe I'm mad for believing in this. I am what I am and life is what it is. This might not be  the life I ordered, but why not make the most of each day you have? That's what I'm doing. I can feel sorry for myself and those around me, or live. I choose life.

If that means I go through the rest of my life with a bum arm and leg so be it. I'm not going to make a bucket list of what I can't do anymore. I'm going to live each day to the fullest. Rejoice each success no matter how small. The past is the past and the future may never be. Today is what I make it to be. Remember...
Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. Wahoo! One more use for the Swedish Deluxe cutting board. I would not buy any other kind. I was thrilled to hear you felt empowered.

  2. Wow! I want a piece of that cake! ;-)

  3. John, I got it for my hubby after his 1st heart attack.
    Rebecca, It was royalty money well spent.
    Zan Marie, It's yummy! Drive on down and get some.

  4. That was a stroke of genius with your grater.
    Just sit back and grin at your children and their teenagers!


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