Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: Happy Thanksgiving

Wow, it's Thanksgiving week again. The years seem to fly by after age 50. It's almost time to open my GITG (Give it God) box to get reinforcement in faith just how many blessing I've received and how God is working in my life. I do around Thanksgiving each year. I'm focused on especially on the areas of health (recovery), love, family, friends, and faith. After all, it proves what I have to be thankful for. I thought I'd share it with you.

As far as health goes 2018 has been the stinky arm pits of the year. I've struggled with my post stroke spasticity all year long with the pain and mobility issues. Hopefully, this will become a nonissue with the cervical selective rhizotomy the end of this year or the first of next year. The same goes for my spastic inverted foot.

I think Hanger finally got me into an AFO that does not cause foot pain or pressure sores. It's only taken them seven months to do it. I'm up to six hours a day wearing the latest adjustments. I'm still taking breaks every couple of hours of standing and moving for thirty minutes, but having to switch AFOs is almost a things of the past. I might be able to chuck the old AFO that was causing stress fractures in the trash in a couple of weeks finally! Hopefully in the coming year, I'll be able to find an orthopedist who will do the operation to rebuild my foot and ankle.

For right now, my stroke recovery is back tracking or stagnant. This will change in the coming year. At least that's my prayer.

In other health issues, all this imposed inactivity has cause my weigh to edge up some. My scale reads my weight between 155- 162 lbs. A weight gain of 10 lbs this year. That will change when I can get up and moving more. The fluctuation depends on how much fluid my body is withholding. That's all due to my heart. I can always tell when I am withholding fluids too much because I start wheezing. If it's not a double Lasix day, I'll make it one popping 60 mgs of Lasix instead of 40 mgs. Then, it's a bad incontinence day until the fluids come off. My stress test shows no new blockages, so I just have to keep the fluid off my heart and throwing myself into congestive heart failure. But I know the drill after ten years of dealing with my heart issues. I weigh myself daily to keep it all in check.

My kidneys are currently holding their own. The damage isn't any worse than six months ago. It isn't any better either. I'm still getting frequent kidney infections. I wish I could catch the bladder infections before it hits my kidneys, but I can't since my strokes. I just have to be extra diligent about watching for the tell tale signs of a low grade fever, lower back pain, and increased frequency of urination. Neat trick when your on Lasix. I've increased my cranberry juice intake to 8 ozs every day to try and reduce my rate of infections. If I can drop my bladder infections turning into kidney infections to less than ten times a year, it could only help the situation.

I've had bouts of depression this year. In dealing with all this pain and waiting, who could really blame me. I eventually get back on track. But I've dealt more with depression this year. I feel like a yoyo in all the back and forth. I find myself struggling to find my center. Now that positive steps are being taken, it is easier to keep the depression at bay.

I am well loved by the Lord. There's no doubt in my mind. I get my daily quota of hugs, blessings, and peace from Him. I have no need for any other. I've heard more from my children and grandchildren this year so that's even more love received. I am abundantly blessed in that regard. I still miss my beloved and have periods still of pining for him and grieving his loss.  At the times when I feel it most, I'll be visited in dreams of him, remember all the things that made me love him more, and it gives me comfort. That is enough to carry me through.

I combine these two because they have equal impact on my life. My family is making more contact with me since I've moved away. My father has been released from Hospice care because of his improvement. He's still in a heavy care situation, but nor going to die of it any day. That's a huge improvement over last year. I no longer dread phone calls from home.  My family has coalesced without depending solely on me as I hoped they would.

I've developed new friendships here with the stroke and homestead ladies. I still haven't found a church to my spiritual liking yet, but I'm still trying. Although I'm a Methodist minister, my faith has grown beyond their teachings. Actually, it had broken the boundaries before I was ordained. But I'm still searching. I'll eventually find one.

And finally, I end up in FAITH.
(I went through my GITG box early)

My faith in the Lord is stronger than a year ago. I didn't think it was possible, but it is. I have been through the wringer this year. Both personally and worldly. I was shaken, but knocked off the rock my faith is for me. In my GITG box, there are very few items that haven't been resolved. Which is different than the last couple of years. There also seems to be fewer pieces of paper in the box than last year. God has handled it all for me. Or maybe, I'm trusting Him more and not having to write it down as much.

See, I told you I'd grown in faith.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday Stroke Survival: Serenity Prayer for the Stroke Survivor

I was thinking of the serenity prayer the other day. You know the one that goes...
It's a fine standard type prayer. But for the stroke survivor there needs to be a few extra lines. Standard prayers need to be modified to fit current needs.

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things
I cannot change,
Courage, to change the things I can,
Strength, to change the things I can,
Ability to fight like hell, to change the things 
I can despite man’s word;
and the Wisdom to
Know the difference.

 The reasons for the extra lines...
  • Strength because recovery take thousands of repetitious actions to regain one thing and repeated reinforcement. You need the strength of your convictions to carry you through. It could take days, weeks, months, or even decades to recover.

  • Ability because you will often hear "It's the best it's going to be." This is a fallacy. Every day old stroke survivors are regaining abilities even after 20 years post stroke. Don't settle. Keep fighting in spite of man's words. Man speaks from knowledge based on averages. Every survivor is unique individual. God is the only one who knows your outcome.

Nothing is impossible.