Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: Survivor's Lament

If there's one lament about living post stroke that I hear the most it's "I just can't do nothing since my stroke!"

Be it a stroke or any life altering event. The first thing everyone faced with it, their first inclination is to say this and throw up their hands in frustration. True? True. It's probably one of those human nature things that I was graced to be standing behind the door when it was passed out.

Yes, I'm blessed to have been standing behind the door on a lot of human nature things that plague so many. By the same token, I was probably jumping up and down waving wildly when it came to impatience and stubbornness. "Pick me. Oh, please pick me. I gotta have those! Give me a double helping!" I can see God in heaven shaking His head and going she's going to a handful. He wasn't wrong. <grinning> But He also blessed me with creativity, logic, problem solving, and a healthy dose of common sense too to balance the equation. Is it any wonder I call myself the queen of Abby Normal? By sheer nature, I'm a contradiction in terms. But, I digress (once again *sigh*) from today's topic.

I always say, "Your attitude needs adjusting." Instead of "Get your head out of your backside," or " get off the self pity pot because someone else needs a turn." But that's basically what I mean. You've heard of the fifteen minutes of fame? I propose you apply the same approach to frustration and self pity. Okay, maybe thirty minutes. Your attitude is about the only thing you have control of after a stroke. Unless you have PBA like me from my stroke, but that's another thing entirely.

Basically what I'm saying is your focus it twisted. Unless you really want to feel worthless, down trodden, and alone. Does anyone really WANT to feel this way? I know. I know. We all know someone it seems to want to live like this, but I'm assuming you are not them because you are reading this. Take stock of what you can do.

Maybe you lost a lot with your stroke(s). I know I did. The laundry list of what I've lost, maybe forever, is huge. The inability to hold a job is the biggest for me because I loved my ministry and writing life. It takes a strong will to look at this list and  say I give up, but I don't. My first winter, after my stroke, without knitting or spinning wool, was devastating to me. I'd only spent over thirty years doing it. The first Spring without a productive 1/4 acre garden was just as bad. Did I wallow in self pity? Honestly, I did a little, but I was also researching how to do these things I loved with my new impairments. Just the act of researching helped me off the ledge. It was doing something rather than giving in to my plight. (Remember the stubborn trait) By the next Spring, I had knitted little Easter bunnies for each of my grandchildren. By the year after, it was knitting elegant shawls for my family. Now, almost 6 years later, I'm spinning and knitting one handed all winter long again.

I'm gardening too. Adaptive gardening techniques was also something I researched. I may not produce as much as I once did, but God's wisdom and grace has given me a smaller core family to provide for.

The list of pros and cons are still skewed because I'm living post stroke. But I truly believe in the "Nothing ventured. Nothing gained." saying. Just like before my strokes, the sky is the limit for what I can achieve or learn to do again. If I truly want to do something, I'll figure out a way to do it. Sometimes, the attempts are thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs neutral, but that doesn't stop me. I weigh the importance of my success against time, frustration, ability to repeat the process, and a long list of other things just like all the "norms" out there.

So when hit with the survivor's lament of "I can't do nothing" buck up. There's a lot of things you still can do, if try and adapt. Don't sell yourself  short. Take stock and figure out how you can.  You can do it. I have faith in you. All it takes is the first baby step of wanting to do it. I say baby step but for some folks it's a huge one. It's taken over a year of talking about knitting one handed for a lady in my group to say, "Teach me." That's okay. She's doing it.

Nothing is impossible.


  1. My most common "poor me" refrain is generally along the lines of: "Can't just ONE thing be easy today? Just one - that's all I ask for. Is that really too much?"

    I say it out loud, very loud. I'm generally immediately successful, because my frustration comes when I'm doing something I know I can do, but am messing up. Otherwise I shake my head and conclude that it's going to be a tough day. And I say that out loud, too, and my dog looks at me, very concerned, debating whether to get up from his comfy spot to cuddle with me.

    1. "Can't ONE thing be easy today?" LOL I actually haven't said that one out loud, but I've thought it. Ya gotta love your dog for reading between the lines.


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