Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Stroke Survival: Gone Are The Days, BUT It Will Be Again

If you read my last post on how my brain sees things now post strokes, then it should be no huge surprised that I'm now considered learning disabled too. Yeah, I still love word clouds also.

So how is all the shortcomings in reading comprehension listed? Funny enough, exactly how I described my my brain in the beginning...dyslexic/ADD. I called it that before I had my psych evaluation, oh, about three years ago and I hit it exactly head on. How did I do this? Was it some previous clairvoyant talent? Nope, not at all. My daughter showed me the way. She's a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) survivor. Over the decades, I watched and taught her through her reading comprehension issues. I was a writer and still have a keen sense of observation.

By watching her deal with this disability, I was taught how to deal with mine. All I have to do is remember what she did with such grace. Always, always with an uncompromising sense of humor that is truly Jenn. If I taught her by example how to be this way, how could I do any less.

She took things slow. She didn't kick herself too much. We were always there to play cheerleader. Now she is MY cheerleader as I struggle with re-learning all that I have lost.  All victories in the beginning are celebrated. It's fuel to go on to bigger challenges. While the delayed waiting game that is post stroke recovery, it's essential to keep striving to be better.

I spend hours on the computer playing games to regain my word power and correct my spelling deficits. I've been at it for years now and very slowly I am getting better. I spend on average three to four hours a day working on it.

Retraining your brain is never as enjoyable as learning something new for the first time. For example, when Jenn learned a new word in both spelling and reading we could cheer and praise her for owning that word forever. Or until a stroke wipes your memory like a formatted computer hard drive. I'm left with a "Doh! I knew that once upon a time." I'm not really learning something new.

There is nothing exciting about relearning. It's really hard not to kick myself. Mainly because, I often forget what I've relearned. It's a now-you-see-it-now-you-don't crap shoot. With words there are no guarantees that I'll remember it the next day or even five minutes later. I've misspelled "remember" twice now just typing this blog.

Physical recovery like learning how to walk again with partial paralysis is easy by comparison. Sure, I still have my foot inversion which makes stepping a challenge some days, but I can get up and take the necessary steps I need to do to walk. I haven't forgotten that.  But my communication skills are in the toilet from one moment to the next. It's a constant challenge to put words on the screen. No matter how hard I work at it, the results are the same. By nature this is a true learning disability. From having to read everything multiple times to seeing red squiggles of misspelled words, it doesn't want to stick in my brain.

Gone are the days of my photo and phonographic memory. I really do miss them. I don't ever know if I'll get 'em back. But what I do know is I'll keep trying.

Nothing is impossible.


  1. Challenging, but You. Will. Not. Give. UP. Go, Jo, Go! {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  2. Hi Jo - that's so good to read ... that you and your daughter are helping each other so much - I admire your tenacity .. all the very best - cheers Hilary


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