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!

Goodbye’s & Hello’s After a Stroke

After you have a stroke, you find yourself saying “Goodbye”…… A LOT.  Goodbye to feeling independent.  Goodbye to feeling comfortable alone.  Goodbye to family & friends just “being” with you, instead of asking “Are you alright?” every time you have an ache or pain.  Goodbye to feeling in control of your life!  I deal with all of this, and a few thousand more “Goodbye’s”.

For the stroke survivor, the “Goodbye’s” can tear your heart out!  Losing a job. Friends distancing themselves from you. Hobbies that can’t be done anymore. Dreams that you now know you will never accomplish.  So many Goodbye’s!

But, after a stroke, you do slowly start to have some “Hello’s”.  They don’t seem to come as fast or as often as you want, but they do come.  The problem is that sometimes you are saying “Hello!” to a slightly different “friend”.

Your “Hello’s” now may need to include assistive devices, such as a cane, and AFO, walker, wheelchair, etc…

But we need to realize that it is a “Hello”!  And that means one less “Goodbye”.

Four years before my stroke, I almost lost my eyesight.  Doctor’s have no idea (big surprise) what caused the lenses in both my eyes to suddenly detach 2 years apart.  I spent 3.5 years & countless amounts of money & time traveling to/from AZ to CA for 3 separate surgeries, all the while not knowing if my vision would ever allow me to read, see my kids & husband, or drive, again.

The surgeries were a success.  It left me saying “Goodbye” to my lighter than air glasses, and “Hello” to what I laughingly call my “Mr. Magoo” glasses.  But I can see my kids & husband,  I can read, and I could drive!

Fast forward to March 2012.  That was the day of “1000 Goodbyes!”  And once again, I found myself saying “Goodbye” to driving.

Well, starting Oct 9th, I am hoping to start the wheels turning (I know, “Groan!) to me being able to say “Hello” to driving again.

I am going to talk to the doctor about signing me up for the assistive driving evaluation.  This will allow me to move forward to having a vehicle fitted for hand controls so I can drive again!

After a stroke, there are MANY “Goodbye’s”, but we have to remember to celebrate the occasional “Hello’s”!

 

So Much “Varying” Info On Post Stroke Exercise!

I’ve started going to the gym with my husband recently.  I workout out on the treadmill and recumbent bike.  The first day back, I tried the machines, which I used to love, but now I feel too “awkward” to use. I find I can’t lift my damned right foot/leg very gracefully so I can get on the machines properly.  I worry about tripping, or toppling over while trying to get on the darned thing.

So this morning, I decided to look on the web to find info on how best to start an exercise program after stroke, and independent of physical therapy.

Know what I found out?  It appears no one knows what the hell to tell anyone!!!  I’m reading statements that say, “It is impossible to devise a single exercise program”, or “only exercise to your level of competency!”.  And my favorite, “Only do what you are able!”

After reading many articles on getting back into exercising after a stroke, I’ve learned one very important thing:  The medical community has no idea what to tell us about how we should exercise, how much, how long, or just plain “how” to exercise.

So, I’m coming up with my own philosophy on getting back into exercising after your stroke:  If you’re nervous, have someone with you.  If it physically hurts, don’t do it. And above all, at least try it to see if you can do it……..You may surprise yourself!

exercise1 exercise2     exercise3

Mobility Scooter For Sale So I Can Buy a Recumbent for Therapy!

It may be weird to use my blog to post this, but I am in the process of trying to sell my mobility scooter so I can use that money to help me buy a recumbent trike for outdoor exercise/therapy.

The scooter is a Pride Victory 9 3-wheeled model and it comes with a custom ordered sun shade/canopy that easily attaches/detaches.  This scooter is in EXCELLENT CONDITION.  I am in the Phoenix, AZ area.  I am asking $650.00/OBO  for the scooter & the custom ordered sun canopy.

I have more photos if interested.  Anyone interested, please email me at: tiniree2@msn.com

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Reflecting on 2 Years Post-Stroke

I have been lucky.  I know it.  I read others blogs and they remind me.  I didn’t have to have surgery.  I’m not committed to a wheelchair.  I can communicate with my family.  Hell, my family stuck around!  Thank you family!

At just over 2 years since my stroke, I have reflected on all the things I’ve re-learned, had to learn, and had to leave behind.

I won’t ever be running or jogging.  But that’s ok.  I never really wanted to.  I won’t, at least from this point in recovery, ever be totally comfortable in a group conversational setting.

But there are things that have improved!  I don’t take the day-to-day so seriously.  If something doesn’t get done, it’s not the end of the world.  My family relationship, though always strong, has become stronger for me.  I read so many stories about people who have had major medical life changing things happen, and their family just bails on them, unable to “deal with it”!

And then there are the things I have to still deal with, but hope will go away, but may not.  I continue to have major drop foot on the right side unless I am wearing either my Walkaide or my AFO.

But the two biggest things that drive me nuts are trying to remain calm, and focus on conversations in a group setting.  At this, I am almost “AWOL”.  It’s just too hard to concentrate on one person speaking to me when others are talking around me.

The other thing, and this may be the biggest, is my lack of time.  I will be in the store, and totally “zone out” looking at a small section of products.  My husband will come looking for me and say something like, “It’s been 20 minutes.  What are you looking at?”  I usually have no idea.

Also, I have no reference to timing activities.  Because of this, most things take MUCH longer to accomplish, if they get accomplished at all!

Today Is My 2 Year Stroke Anniversary

I woke up this morning and realized that today is my 2 year stroke anniversary.   My husband and I were talking about how different this year has been compared to last year.  I am truly amazed at how much I have accomplished.

While I try not to dwell on my stroke, I think such an important anniversary deserves to be celebrated.