Today's ponder

September 3, 2022

At what point does something stop being a story and start being reality?

I was thinking about this recently, because ever since I have all of my medical stuff go on back when I was a teenager, people keep commenting to me that my attitude must be one of the things that got me through it all. And while they are not wrong, it made me realize that there are a lot of things about who I am growing up to be that were 100% shaped by the medical events of my childhood.

I think that a lot of this stuff has been coming up because I have FINALLY started writing my book! It is about my theory on stroke and brain injury recovery. It talks about the three pillars of good health and recovery (nutrition, fitness and mindset). It talks about vascular malformations like my AVM and why there is just so much that we can do that sometimes doesn’t get done. It has my story and a breakdown of how you can start living a life fueled by recovery and wellness instead of therapy and prescriptions.

But I am finding this to be an exceptionally heavy, emotionally-charged thing for me to be working on! It is bringing up things that I thought I had buried for good… turns out that supressing things doesn’t actually help us deal with them.

So I am taking the month of September to go within, reflect and hopefully at the end of it all, I will have a clearer idea of a few things that have been weighing rather heavily on me lately. Coming to terms with the fact that it has been almost 25 years since my first stroke (March Break 1998), and the fact that after ALL THAT TIME, I still have limitations and struggles due to that event (the second stroke in 2001 didn’t help either!)… well, that is just a total bummer.

I don’t like the struggling and the limitations that the strokes I had gave me. I miss playing the piano and guitar. I miss being able to run, jump or climb. These little things that are so crucial as we grow up, well… I had to give that all up a few years sooner than most people. I struggle with simple everyday tasks, like opening jars and dicing vegetables just because my hand doesn’t work. As much as I have learned to work around a lot of these things, I want to just find acceptance of this. Acceptance of these struggles and an increased ability to see the good that always comes out of them. Acceptance of my present limitations and a drive to push past them. Acceptance that this is where my life has gone and continues to go, and acceptance of the fact that while I may never get completely 100% “better”, this whole experience has made me a much stronger, aware and snazzier person from it all.

So what’s my point? September is going to be a month where I start figuring out how I define myself, my goals and my life path. I seek direction, bravery and fortitude to go forth in that direction and take on whatever adventures lay ahead. I have been at a fabulous job for more than a year now and seem to  have slipped into “adulting” with no real trouble.

I don’t actually know why I have such a hard time accepting the strokes and limitations that they have presented me. I mean, I am pretty much used to it by this point… but there are still (daily) reminders of all of the things that hold me back.

Good thing I would much rather focus on the things that push me forward! And I am super lucky and blessed that in my life, I have many of these things – my amazing boyfriend Alex (who is one of my greatest sources of support hands down), my incredible family, my excellent friends… All of these people add so much to my life and motivate me to want to make it even better.

So September, bring it on! I am ready for you.

 

Still improving, more than 20 years later

March 6, 2022
Well guys, I am really quite happy today. It has been more than 20 years since my second stroke, and it looks like I am STILL improving, even after all that time has passed. 

I peeled THREE oranges completely with only my affected hand today (right hand). I haven't been able to do that since I was a teenager. 

Victory is mine! Just keep believing that recovery is POSSIBLE and recovery is CONSTANTLY HAPPENING, and then just watch what happens. 

I think that the other thing that has been helping m...
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An interesting read - sleep after stroke

August 14, 2021
Found this article today and think it's got some really good information: Sleep After A Stroke The Key To Faster Recovery | Saebo

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Finally! There is actually information available about AVM out there

April 13, 2021
Amazing! There is finally some easily accessible information available about AVM! For years after my diagnosis (back in 1996), there was just nothing out there about the condition because there was no real research being done! It was assumed that the condition was much more rare back then too (the numbers that I was given are dramatically different than the ones given in this article). 

But this is a huge step in the right direction at least! It's about a need for greater awareness too. Just k...
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Recovery mode

March 30, 2021

Sometimes, the universe sends little hints that all of your efforts are going to be worth it and that everything really is going to work out in the end. This past week, I had a massive one of those experiences, and it’s the simplest little thing that is the most significant too… I can feel the ground underneath my right foot.

That is HUGE NEWS, because that was the first thing that I lost with my first stroke back in 1998. I was 13 years old and it was March Break. I was spending it at ...


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Could this mean that I am getting better?

March 22, 2021

I can feel the ground underneath my affected foot today.

I don’t think that you all understand how significant this is… when I had my first stroke, which was a side effect of cranial radiation treatment that I had to have back in 1997, the first thing that I noticed was that I couldn’t feel the ground under my right foot. The radiation treatment had caused brain swelling, which in turn caused a progressive stroke on my right side. First the nerves in my right foot stopped communicatin...


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Better than better

October 25, 2020
Today's epic realization: I am already better.

In fact, some days I would dare say I am better than better. (I'm talking about my recovery of course, but isn't it amazing how much that blends into the rest of our lives as stroke survivors?) 

But it's true when I think about it! I have days when I am so functional that even I can't tell that I have had one stroke, let alone two of them. My hand works and I have all of the fine motor control. My leg co-operates and I can walk normally. There are ...
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Taking (literal) steps toward improvement

August 3, 2020
Did you know that, as of this year (2020), it has been 22 years since my first stroke? Geez, it's been nearly 20 years since my second stroke! And as hard as that is for me to believe, there is a lot that I have learned in that time and a lot that I have taken away. 

For example, one of the first things that taught me after my first stroke was regarding stairs - always step up with your good foot, and step down with the bad". This stabilizes your balance and helps you accomplish the steps with...
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And so the next chapter begins...

April 8, 2019
You know how my last post a few months ago was all about personal growth and change? OH BOY has there ever been a lot of that since then!! Alex and I moved in together at the beginning of February... literally only a few days before I broke my right leg!! Yup - broken my tibia and fibula and fractured my tibia. I need to learn to watch where I am putting my big clumsy feet LOL....

So since then, we had to move again (all in a matter of about two months). But now we are close to downtown Hamilt...
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So much growth!! Am I ready for this?

December 7, 2018
You know how personal growth is a continuous thing (or it should be at least)? I like it much more when it's evenly spread out over the course of months or years... but in the last two or three months (since beginning my co-op for school), I have been hit with a whammy of growth, development and maturing.

It's a lot to handle, or at least I feel that it is. Learning about decision making, making wiser decisions, budgeting, managing my time better, managing my life better... 

Sigh.

My 34th birth...
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