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!

Back to Triking!

Here in Arizona, our Summer’s, for the most part, are NOT spent outside, unless you are submerged in the pool!      smileypool

So last May, when I got my new Terratrike Rover, I didn’t get a chance to put many miles on it before the heat drove me indoors.
terratrikeI was happy because today I was finally able to get re-acquainted with my trike!  While it’s still warm, it wasn’t bad.  As I said last May, and from what I gather from other recumbent trike owners, it can take a while to “dial in” that perfect comfort zone.  So I went for a ride, stopping along the way a couple of times to adjust the seat, etc.  I think for now, I have it at a comfortable place.

The nice thing about this trike, is that it’s not difficult, and doesn’t take any time to adjust it.  It’s as easy as stopping, pulling a couple pins, adjust, put pins back in, and away you go.

I rode 2.06 miles today!


Emotional Changes After A Stroke

I got an email from the Stroke Association.  In the body of the email they had a download button for an article on emotional changes that can happen to a person after a stroke.  While I have not experienced all of these, there are definitely some that I deal with.

Take a look and see if you, as a stroke survivor, or the survivor you care about is going thru any of this:


Golf Balls? Really??

For a time after my stroke, I felt I needed to explain to people that I had a stroke.  Now almost 2 years later, I try not to tell people if I don’t have to.  While I understand being a stroke survivor is something to be proud of, once again I find that some of the stroke associations, IMO, go a little overboard with the “Stroke Accessories”.

I just received this email from the National Stroke Association.  Isn’t there a more dignified way to get the word out without having to plaster it on everything from mugs, t-shirts & buttons, to the newest offering………………… balls?

Gym – 1/Stroke – 0

A year before my stroke, my husband & I started going to our local gym three days a week.  I was loving how I felt, both emotionally and physically.

After my stroke, physical therapy was my gym.  Some days it was just as, or more, physically demanding than the gym.

But since I have stopped going to therapy, I really haven’t done anything to “push” myself.  Why?  Fear, plain & simple.  Fear of another stroke.  Fear of hurting myself.  Fear of embarrassing myself.  When I really thought about all that I had overcome & accomplished since my stroke, it just didn’t make sense.

So, when my husband subtly “hinted” that a new gym had opened up even closer to our house than our old gym, AND that he really missed working out with all the equipment, I took the hint.

Yesterday we went and checked it out.  I knew that with my Walkaid on I would be able to use the treadmill, and most of the weight machines (using lower weights to start).  So we talked about signing up.  After looking the place over, we sat and talked.  While looking around I was mentally figuring out what I could/couldn’t do.  I decided there was enough to keep me active, and also enough to motivate me to try even more.  So we signed up.

We went back later in the evening and tried it out.  We got inside and my eyes immediately went to the elliptical.  That used to be my favorite piece of equipment.  Could I do it?  I decided to give it a try.  While I had trouble getting on the thing, once I got situated and reset my Walkaid, I started.  I was able to do  50 MINUTES on it singlewoohoo!!

So, even though today I know I maybe overdid it, I am still thrilled.  One more thing I am overcoming after my stroke!

What Was Your Favorite Victory Over Stroke?

When I was in the hospital after my stroke, I heard a lot of comments like, “Don’t expect to be able to walk like you did before.”  And, “Things will always be harder to do now”.  Wonderful things like that!  So it’s no wonder my morale was so low.  But with my wonderful husbands support, I tried my best to not listen to that crap!

Now it’s been just over 19 months since my stroke.  Have I lost some abilities?  Yes.  But am I as bad off as they said in the hospital?  No way!  Not by a long shot.  And I truly believe it’s because I didn’t listen to that crap!!

When I got home the one thing that had me upset, was the thought that I couldn’t crochet anymore.  I had taught my left-handed brain to crochet right-handed years ago so I wouldn’t have to do the “mirror-image thing” all the time.

So one of the first things I did was pick up a crochet hook and yarn and fought my brain every step of the way until I re-leaned how to crochet!  I am a little slower.  And there are days when even a pattern I’ve done many times just doesn’t make sense.  But that’s ok with me because I know I can still do it……………….Because I didn’t give up!

So I want to know.  What has been your own personal victory over your stroke??? Or what do you PLAN on your victory being?

Shhh….Don’t tell him I said this!

My husband has ALWAYS wanted a motorcycle!  And since I’ve never ridden on one, I’ve always been the one with the “Oh Honey, they are soooo dangerous” speech.

Well, between my stroke & other medical issues over the last years, when he found one he loved, “Oh I’m not going to buy it.  I just want to go look at it!”, I couldn’t squash his dream of having one.  It’s time for him to have some fun.

motorcycleBut, and he knew this, I always got “that look” when he’d say, “The two of us can go riding when the weather cools down.  You’ll love it!”

“Uh Oh”, I had always been somewhat afraid of motorcycles.  I don’t know why, except any time I ever heard an adult talking about them when I was growing up, it always involved accidents, blood, brain damage, & death!  Gee, who wouldn’t be afraid to get on one?

After he bought it, instead of just going down to the DMV and getting his license, he took a refresher safety course.  And then the, “Gee Honey, soon we can go riding together” talk started.  “You’ll love it!” he’d say.  I always smiled and said, “Uh NO!  This is your toy, have fun!”

Well, today he got me on the damn bike for the first time!  And you know what???

shhhShhhhhhhhh, don’t tell him.  But I kinda had fun!

Trying To Stay Positive

Lately I am having trouble staying positive.  Oh I have moments that make me smile, like my son’s first band concert last night (Good going Alex!), but it’s just been hard to stay “upbeat”.

I added another 4hr shift at the thrift store, so I am adjusting to the added “noise” & change in my cognitive needs.  Also, I’m not completely sure our GP diagnosed my arthritis correctly (osteo vs gout), so I am looking into seeing a rheumatologist just to be sure, because my hands and toes have been burning/aching.

I am just tired of waking each day feeling like I have to do battle vs just living. Not in a “OMG put her in a padded room type depression, just feeling like my life revolves around people (myself included) always asking, “How are you feeling?  How are you doing today?”  Does that make sense?

Don’t get me wrong.  I am grateful for everyone in my life who cares enough about me to ask.  If’s just that I would like my life back to where that wasn’t the main focus each day.


Stroke Moments vs. Senior Moments

Since having had a stroke, I find I do “just not me” type things.  I will blurt out something that has absolutely nothing to do with what people are talking about. My attention can be diverted in a second.  I “zone out” staring into space for no reason.  Fatigue will hit me some days that just screams at me to “take a nap!”

But now that I am almost, gasp!, 50, I find that senior moments are competing with my stroke moments.  The other day I rode my chair lift up the stairs and when I got to the top, wondered, “Well Damn!  What did I come up here for?”  I tried the old, “go back down and come up again trick”, hoping to jog my memory, but when I got downstairs, my stroke told me “Hey, go get coffee!”

I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat on the couch.  I sat there sipping my coffee,  and must confusedhave looked confused, because my son asked me what was wrong?  I told him nothing, but I had this weird feeling I was not supposed to be sitting there drinking coffee.  “Why was I drinking coffee?  I didn’t want coffee!”

As I sat there I realized I heard water running.  Water?  Were the sprinklers on outside?  No.  Then it hit me!  I just remembered why I was going upstairs!!  I had gone up originally to take a shower.  When I got to the bathroom, I turned on the shower and then realized I didn’t have my shampoo/conditioner.  These were under the sink in the kitchen downstairs.  So I must have completely “zoned out” on the fact that I had gone down to get my shampoo/conditioner, and had headed back up empty handed.  And I obviously left the shower on!  I decided not to shower just then, so I did go up and turn the water off.

So, another fun little “Wonky Walk” after stroke realization, I get to play a new game:  “Senior Moment or Stroke Moment, You decide!”

Always In The Back Of My Mind

Last night was a horrible night for me.  I kept waking up worrying about things.  One of the things I worry about most though is having another stroke & having it be much worse than the one I’ve already had.  I worry about how my life, & my family’s life, will deal with another blow.

Every time I start to get a headache, I wonder if the pain will increase.  Every time the back right side of my tongue starts to feel “weird”, I worry if it’s a smaller symptom waiting to join other symptoms.  And every time the right side of my head starts to get “tingly”, I stop and just wait it out………. wondering & worrying.

I try to not worry about it, but it’s always in the back of my mind.  I try to “live each day”, but, well, you know!