Stroke Update …a little smile in my heart…

The end of May marked 2 1/2 years since my stroke. I’ve been thinking for a while that I should write an update, but it’s not even, ya know?? It’s sposed to be done every year in an organized fashion. So a 2 1/2 year+ update is just weird. But hey. Yeah. Here we are. Lol.

I’d been thinking of an update mainly to catch on paper all the little things that have been happening. There’s really not been any big milestones for a year or more, but there’s been many many little things taking place. They say the first 18 months is when there’s the biggest improvements and then it tapers off after that. I’d say that’s true. The myth is, and a lot of docs say, you’re as good as you’re gonna get at that point. I’d def say that’s not true.

Small things count. Nah. ?

The stuff that can’t be registered by a medical exam and tests count. The things that others don’t see but that I’m aware of count. And honestly, to me, these little things feel as about as important as the big stuff. Little bits of a former life returning. (Although, I don’t want to go back to that life, but forward to it).

Standing up.
Since the stroke I’ve looked at others longingly as I watched them sit down and stand up without thinking about it. It was so graceful. (We just don’t realize how very much we do without thinking about it). I’ve been able to stand up and sit down since the hospital, but it was more like falling into the chair and using my arms to push out of the chair. I’d gotten graceful at it, but it still wasn’t normal.

Then, one day I kind of “accidentally” realized what muscles actually engaged in that process. I remember, they’d worked with me on it in physical therapy, but there was a disconnect between my brain and those muscles so no matter how much I did the exercises, my brain/body still didn’t really UNDERSTAND how to stand or sit, if that makes sense.

Now that my brain has again isolated those muscles and how to do it, and now that I’ve been spot training those muscles in my glutes and thighs, I feel my standing and sitting is coming back to doing it more without thinking. A little bit. We’re not talking a lot here, but a leeettle bit. Still, again, it’s a leeettle feeling of hope that the normalcy of sitting and standing can (and will one day) return.

My inner ear.
In addition to the disconnect w my muscles, my walking was affected because there was a shift in my balance. No matter how steady I look to others, on the inside I have continually felt like I was tipping over. I’ve gradually improved, but still had some residual tippiness (kinda doubt that’s a word. ? Lol). But lately, I can feel my inner ear actually adjusting as I turn corners and turn around. I can literally feel it correcting itself. Kinda cool. And I can feel the muscles in my leg adjust for it as all of it begins to work automatically again.

Just lately I no longer have to use a shower chair in the shower. I can stand and navigate as I used to. Maybe that seems small, but it’s, again, a little tiny bit of normalcy returning.

I can now also step out of the shower stall forward without having to hold onto the bar and carefully back out. I have the grandkids and their toys to thank for that. Lots of practice stepping over and navigating thru and in and out and around. Six months ago I couldn’t do it with any sense of ease.

Again, might seem inconsequential, but not to me. Makes me happy. ?

My cane.
More and more without thinking about it I’m walking off and forgetting my cane around the house. Getting into another room, and then realizing I didn’t grab it. It’s disconcerting a little bit in one sense to realize just how mentally dependent I am upon it. There’s real fear in being out and about and not having it. Of course, I’m not nearly so steady out and about. But, it’s nice to know its coming back at home. And if it comes back at home, there’s hope that it will come in public again one day.

My neuropathy.
My left side still experiences neuropathy- tingling, numbness and coldness. Particularly my hand and foot and left eye. It can get rather painful at times. But ever since the Lord gave me directions on how to be able to sleep with it, I’ve had little problems with it. And over time, it’s improving. It’s still there, but much much much less than at the first. This year, I can tolerate air conditioning again and fans. Yay. ?

My right stroke side.
It’s still tight and bound up. I have no days when it’s not bugging and/or downright painful. I do believe a lot more normalcy would return if it would correct itself. I’ve tried everything. Stretches. Exercises. Chiropractors. Massage. Herbs. Salves. Shoes. Inserts. Everything. If it’s ever corrected, it will be the Lord who does it. He’s not allowing anything of man to succeed with it. It’s here at times where I still feel the most frustration.

My brain.
My thinking is still slow. I still have trouble with maths and logic. Organizing is still slow. Explaining things so they make sense is still kind of well… a nightmare. I leave out a lot of details and rarely feel I explain anything well (unless I’m writing). But still, there’s little improvements. Leeettle. Folks don’t have to interpret quite so much of what I’m trying to say but can’t quite put it into words. Leeettle, but still forward progress.

My speech is getting better and better. We ran into my old speech therapist at a restaurant recently and this same woman who jokingly told me I sounded like a nazi drill sergeant right after the stroke when I was monotone, complimented me and said I sounded normal to her.

Even with that, I still don’t feel myself in this area of my speech. It’s another area where other people who didn’t know me well don’t notice much difference, but it’s different in my head. You know, we’re so comfortable in our own skin. We hear ourselves in a certain way from the inside. And in the stroke my inside changed and got “glitchy”. There was a continual hesitation in my thinking. Mud. Molasses. A different me. I had liked that person before the stroke. But she’s been altered forever, and I still don’t feel I’ve gotten comfortable with her yet.

But the Lord’s got it in hand. He’s brought about social situations that have developed my speech and are developing my speech more and more. In effect, forcing me to talk and interact more. Just the other day, while working at the farmers market, I had the experience of feeling like the glitch was gone and I was talking and interacting much as I used to. It was pretty thrilling really. ?

So I guess that’s pretty much it for now. I guess the word LITTLE sums it up. All these little things when added up equal out to …a smile in my heart. ?

Thanks, Lord.

Love to all,

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2 thoughts on “Stroke Update …a little smile in my heart…

  1. Katharine Reply

    What a lovely testimony! I’ve always admired your writing, but this is so happy and gentle and sweet. Thanks for sharing from your heart! <3
    And I'm so glad you are better! 🙂

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