Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: New Year's Resolution and Living Post Stroke

Let me preface this with a statement. I do not make New Years resolutions for the following reasons. Resolutions or life goals changes can be made at any time. If you want to change something- then do it. Most New Years resolution are chucked to the side by March to languish there until next year. Anytime is a good time for a fresh start or a do over. Why wait until January 1st?

It took me five minutes to remember the word "resolution." Geez, my poor stroke addled, aphasia suffering brain. I knew what I wanted to say, but couldn't remember the word.
It might work if you had your stroke on New Years Day. But I don't know anyone who had a stroke on New Year Day, do you? Then again, I don't know everyone, do you? Imagine with a stroke happening every forty seconds in the US, there has to be several, but I don't know them yet. 86,400 seconds in a day = that's 2,160 strokes happening a day. Divided by 325+ million people, according to the 2018 census, all this math is making my brain hurt with the probability of my meeting a person who had a stroke on New Year's Day.

So what goals do I have for the new year? Nothing, Zero, Nada, Zilch. Resolutions set me up or failure. Nobody likes to be seen or feel like a failure. I have enough of those on a regular basis without setting myself up for it. I've had general goals that were set in 2012 with my first ischemic stroke, but they are opened ended. Doesn't every stroke survivor? The magic word is 100% RECOVERY. With time, it's recovering marginal abilities like being able to walk without a cane or walker, or pinching two fingers together, or just doing a recovered action better.

I wish I could do this
Unlike most stroke survivors, I have had six mini strokes since my first. Each one has set me back in varying degrees to where I'm re-recovering after each one. Talk about frustrating! I no sooner start living my life post stroke, I get set back a peg or two and have to relearn something over and over again. I resolve and do over in stride. I keep plugging away and onward. Each stroke is a fresh start. It doesn't matter if it's the first of the year or not.

Now, I walk with a Parkinsonian type movement. I stand up, then pause. I have to engage my brain before I take my first step. Then, I pause again before the next one. After that I'm fine walking one foot in front of another. Now, walking backwards is another story. I pause with each step. Each step I'm having to reengage my brain. I had recover my walking ability after my first and subsequent strokes until my last one this year. My brain just doesn't function the "normal" way any more. It might get better with time, or with more mini strokes, it may get worse.It is what it is. I'm still mobile on my legs which is my blessing such as it is.

Last year, my goal was a rhizotomy. It started in January with a phone call from Emory. If you've followed along with this, you know how that turned out. This year my resolution is simple...survive. Whatever comes down the pipe, I plan on surviving to try again. After all, that which doesn't kill us...there's that Nietzsche quote again. I have another chance of a restart or do over. In psychology studies show, adversity weakens you without tender, nurturing care to support you and strengthen you. Makes sense, doesn't it? For me, the tender, nurturing care comes from heaven so I'm never without it so my faith in the face of adversity actually strengthens me to cope and have the ability to start again. So that's another New Years resolution I have that isn't one...continue my walk in faith.

So you see, my New Year's resolutions are just continuations of survival with faith. Nothing more or less.

Sometime in 2019, I will stop smoking once again in the coming year. I will exercise more. I will lose some more weight in the coming year. It is what it is. They aren't goals they are a matter of facts. Now that my AFO is not causing any new foot fractures and it fits properly of course I will be moving more and because I'm moving more (exercising). I'll lose weight (by exercising more). DOH! In stopping smoking, for me, it's a matter of not lighting up. Thanks to healing prayer, there are no addiction withdrawals other than a mouth sensation thing and aversion to the smell which is remedied by sugar-free suckers and washing everything. I found this out after my first stroke in 2012. In that respect, I'm luckier than most. I'll heal faster from my foot and ankle reconstruction and my eventual rhizotomy by not smoking. But these aren't resolutions that I start in 2019, but will happen in 2019. There is a difference.

Nothing is impossible.


  1. Kick that habit to the curb next year!
    I don't make resolutions either for the very same reason. If it's a goal, I set and do it right then and there.
    Happy New Year.


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