Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Stroke Survival: Have You Given Up?

I'm fast approaching the four and five-year mark of living post stroke. I have to say that the idea of giving up the hope of full or even partial recovery of my right arm and leg has crossed my mind. But still I hang on with my finger tips to that hope.

The difference between me giving up hope and others is that I'm not standing still waiting for full recovery. I'm living my life to the fullest while waiting. Sure, I may have moments, days, weeks, or rarely a month on the self pity pot, but I eventually snap out of it. What about you? Are you still on it? How boring! Don't you want better for yourself? I know I did in spite of having two strokes.

If you've read this blog very long, I know you've shaken you head in amazement about what I have done since my strokes. It honestly has taken some hard work and thinking outside the box creativity to get here. I'm still without us of my left arm partially. The shoulder works, Thank God! But from the bicep to the fingers, nothing except some serious spastic muscles. I truly believe if it wasn't for the spasticity, I would have regained full use back. I was well on the way before it set in full force leaving contractures in my wrist and fingers. My ankle is another story. I couldn't strengthen the Extensor Digitorum or Peronesus Longes (outside, lateral calf) muscles enough to control my ankle from inverting. See, I know which muscles are affected by my strokes and are causing the trouble. But I can voluntarily evert my foot and dorsiflex when the spasticity is not present. I still am working on these issues with exercises. But, I'm thankful for my AFO, it allows me to stand and walk.

My attitude has been my saving grace and my frustration point. It's no secret that I'm stubborn because of this I'm resilient and tenacious. It's also no secret that I'm a cheerleader. I'm always rooting for the underdog even if it's me. These traits have carried me through a lot over the decades. I used to say learn something new each day. Yeah, I'm a nerd. But, since I had a stroke I've added to that. Attempt to relearn or try an alternative of something you used to do each day. Nothing is easy the first time you try. Heck, it may be difficult the first twenty times you try, or even the 500th time you try. Who would have ever thought a video of me cooking or canning one handed would get 4,000 plus views, but it has. The same goes for a lot of videos we produce where I'm in it just doing.

There isn't much I need assistance with and that's the way I like it. Mel has learned to ask before jumping in. I really appreciate that. I could have been like many I see being rolled around in a wheelchair post stroke. Nah, not really. I would have fought my way out of it. See, my attitude is showing. Not to mention that it would have been impossible for me to get around my house with a wheelchair. Circumstances and sheer will got me up on my feet again. The same can be said for everything I can now do. I keep pushing my boundaries.

Nothing ventured is nothing gained. It's true. Are you satisfied with your life living post stroke? I sure wasn't. I had dreams and goals for the rest of my life before a stroke sideswiped me, didn't you? I know you did.I didn't have the luxury of time after my stroke. I had a terminally ill husband at home who needed me to function. I had to do to the best of my ability and fast. I spent a total of 30 days in the hospital and rehab unit. Then I went home to what awaited. I knew my children would help, but not for long. Within six months, I was doing almost all again. I was walking, talking, driving, cooking, and caring for my husband who was only slipping away, and able to less and less.  Did I feel hopeless or helpless? Truly yes! But I didn't have a choice.This was my saving grace plus my attitude.

Your stroke did not kill your brain, only parts of it. I know you still are thinking trapped inside that nonfunctioning parts of paralyzed body. I know I was and am. My mind is going ninety to a million miles an hour. I could spend hours, days, weeks, months, and yes, even years bemoaning my lot in life. But inside, I use all that brain power in thinking of things I can do and how I can do it. Yes, I will continue to fail at trying to use a manual can opener. But that doesn't mean I won't pull it out of the drawer and try it from time to time. There's got to be a way to use it. I just haven't thought of the correct way yet. When I do, you'll be the first to know.

Yeah, I'm hard headed, stubborn, and have an attitude. Beep, beep! Get outta my way! I might just run you down if you get in my way with the speed of my brain power. I ain't dead yet. That which does not kill me, makes me stronger. Want my attitude? What's stopping you?

Nothing is impossible.




3 comments:

Barb Polan said...

I think I've explained this before, and maybe you tried and rejected it. To use a manual can opener, use your unaffected hand to pop the little cutting wheel into the can, then use your ribcage under your breast to anchor the top handle while your unaffected hand turns the crank. It's painful sometimes, but what's a little pain when you need those beans for chili? Plus, it's far less frustrating than cutting the little wheel into the can one one wheel diameter at a time, which is how I used to do it, until I devised the boob technique.

Cockeyed Homestead said...

Barb, I don't recall you mentioning this technique. I'll give it a try.

Zan Marie said...

And another round of {{{{hugs}}}} for you!