DEFINING your life as BS (before stroke) or AS (after stroke)!

Do you, or someone else DEFINE every stage of your life now as BS (Before Stroke – fits perfectly, huh?) or AS (After stroke)?  Example:  “Oh, BS we use to hike and do all types of outdoor stuff!”  Or, “AS she doesn’t like that anymore!”?

I am finding that as time goes by, these “Defining Moments” happen less and less, or maybe I’m ignoring the outside comments?  I try hard not to define my life by BS/AS, but it can be hard.  Especially when it comes to not being able (yet) to things you used to do well with family and friends.

One thing struck me the other day:  We had a 2 year anniversary sale at the the White Dove Thrift Shoppe where I work.  I realized later that day, that not once did I think about it in terms of my stroke.  I used to.  I would always associate the store with my stroke in terms of progress.

Now, the store is an entire separate entity.  I find my stroke is not an issue anymore (most of the time).  In fact, the other day, one of my co-workers was telling a new volunteer about my stroke.  I found it felt odd.  Like they were talking about someone else.

That night I realized that as I progress, my world of BS & AS are widening.  I can talk about my stroke.  I can laugh when I have “one of those days or moments”.  But I am not defining every moment, every activity with BS or AS!

Stroke vs Meds…….A VERY Tricky Balancing Game!

On May 8th, I posted about having finally transitioned over from taking Baclofen to a new med Requip.  I was very excited about the possibility of having found a med that not only quieted the right leg & arm spasticity at night, but also aided in my sleep, without waking the next day feeling like I was a walking zombie! zombie

Well last week I had a major “stroke moment”! I completely forgot to keep track of how many of the new pills I had and ran out!  So for two nights, I had to fall back on my Baclofen.

This little Faux Pas did a few things:  1) I realized how groggy and “out of it” the Baclofen made me feel, 2) Even though it made me sleepy, I was still waking SEVERAL times each of the two nights with painful muscle contractions and spasms.  Sleep, wake, sleep, wake. And 3)  I WILL NEVER FORGET TO CHECK MY SUPPLY OF MEDICATIONS!

I was exhausted by day two when I was able to get a hold of the doctor and get my Rx refilled!

I am finally back on track and today I woke feeling WONDERFUL, rested and ready to go!

raringtogoAlthough I have found that taking 3 tabs of my new med with 1 Baclofen seems to give me more relief than just taking the Requip alone.  I will give this a week, and then try to just take the Requip alone. If I can, it will be great as the price for Baclofen, even with insurance, has skyrocketed here in the West.

I will report back on this.

Feeling Great On New Medicine For My Spasticity!

I’ve been on Baclofen for three years now since my stroke, for my night-time spasticity with very little success.  Yes, it helped…..mildly.  But even at the highest tablet dose, I was still waking up 4-5 times a night with my right leg & arm in spasms!

I didn’t want to add another, stronger medicine, to the others I’m already taking.

So, on my last visit, after telling my doctor again that the Baclofen wasn’t really working, and I was exhausted from not getting enough sleep, we decided to try another medicine:  REQUIP.  This is a med used for muscle spasms, mostly with Parkinson’s patients.

I was ready to try anything.  So for the last 2 weeks, I’ve been lowering my dose of Baclofen, while slowly introducing the Requip.

The last three nights, I’ve  taken 1 Baclofen (vs 4) and 3 Reqiuip.  And I am so excited to report it’s working great!!!!

The last three days, as the Requip was slowly upped and the Baclofen was taken down to 1, I’ve felt more alert, more “my old self”, with more energy and ready to “get moving”.  Best of all?  I am sleeping thru the night with no painful spasms during the night!

The folks I work with have even commented on the difference in my alertness, energy, and mood.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my body doesn’t throw a whammy in there and get used to the med and start spasming again, but for now, I’m HAPPY!

As always, it’s up to the patient to SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT, and MAKE THE DOCTOR listen!  If your meds, your therapy, your treatment, aren’t working, don’t just “go along”, assuming there’s nothing else.

Today, for now, I’m almost pain-free, sleeping great, and raring to go during the day, all because I didn’t give up and I spoke up!

Trying My Hand At Container Gardening!

Since we have dogs, and not a lot of area to put in a formal garden, I decided to try my hand experimenting with container gardening.

I bought a used large plastic “barrel”, cleaned it out, put in Miracle Grow soil, and purchased two very small squash plants: One zucchini and one yellow squash.

Yesterday I took this photo:


I have two yellow squash blooms and today I noticed the zucchini has two blooms also!!!!

Things That Affect My Stroke Symptoms Negatively aka “Hit My Wall”!

Okay, it’s been just over three years now since my stroke.  I know how lucky I am to have survived, and how lucky I am to have progressed so much.  My days are getting easier, my “brain fuzziness” moments are getting farther and fewer between.

But there are things that negatively affect my “always” stroke symptoms!  These things will make me “lose it”, or as my husband says, “Hit your wall!”

My list of things that can make me “Hit my wall”:

  • Large Loud Crowds – Way too much stimulation!
  • Long conversations – Having to listen and try to participate in a long conversation will usually have me “loosing it” because I lose focus.
  • Lack of Sleep – Nuff Said!
  • Alcohol – Wine has become a very weird thing for me.  Sometimes a couple or more glasses, no problem.  But more and more, I will be fine, and WHAM, half a glass later and I’ve “hit my wall” BIG TIME!  I find that my right side, especially my arm and leg will spasm and tighten up for about a good 15-20 minutes and hurt like hell!

So I’m curious to find out what will make you “hit your wall”?


Getting Used To Working Again

As I told everyone in an earlier post, after volunteering for almost two years at the White Dove Thrift Shoppe, I have been hired to work part-time as a cashier.

Before my stroke, a 25 hr work week would have been no problem, and it isn’t now, except it does take some getting used to.  cashier

I find that being “on” for those working hours, requires me to need to be “off” for at least an hour after I get home.  That means quiet time to let my brain simmer down.  I also need to rest my right leg.  As cashier, it involves standing, plus I am also walking around the store, helping out as needed.  So my right leg is being “zapped” quite a bit from my Walk-aide and needs to have a rest.

All in all, I am having a blast knowing that I am bringing in a paycheck to help with the bills.  But the best part?  This “job” is a perfect fit for me.  I am working with people who already understand my disabilities.  They understand when I may need to just “take 5”.  They understand and have been vocal to let them know what they can do to make my job easier.  Best of all:  I have a ball working with these people!  The atmosphere is social, happy, upbeat and just plain fun!