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Five Years After My Stroke

It’s been a little over 5 years since my stroke. It seems like my right side is weaker than it used to be. My day-to-day activities aren’t enough to build up the strength in the muscles. The brain signals are probably weak to the muscles, and I feel it! So, the doctor has recommended pool therapy this time.
Bryan and I were thinking that pool therapy would be good for me, and we bought a 4 ft pool to set up in the backyard. We haven’t put it up yet, because there’s a lot of preparation to the yard that needs to happen before it can go up. So hopefully soon this can happen. 
In the meantime, I went to my first pool therapy session. It was so crazy! First off, walking into the pool, I realized that I had very little control of my right leg, once I was in water above my knees. I actually felt like it was right after the stroke when I was learning how to walk again. My leg was very uncoordinated, and I really couldn’t feel my leg! I spent a few minutes walking along the side of the pool in about 3 ft of water while my therapist finished with her other patient. At one point, I even wondered if I was having another stroke, because that’s how it felt! After her initial evaluation of me, we started to do a few exercises that she had to keep modifying because I just was unable to do them! She was very surprised that I couldn’t do them, and even at one point asked me if I walked with a walker or cane! Haha! No, I can walk, just not in the water! It was crazy, and so hard, that I just couldn’t believe it! It was a real challenge!
I will also be starting physical therapy in a regular therapy setting in a building. They call it “land therapy”! So one day a week for land therapy, and one day a week of water therapy.
I hope to build up my strength on my right side, and wake up the muscles that don’t seem to be getting the brain signal to work.
After we get our pool set up, I will use it daily, and do the exercises that I’m learning from going to therapy.
I enjoy going to therapy! It’s hard, and it’s very tiring, but I like it! It’s fun, in a serious way! It’s all about learning to strengthen your body, and all of the different and creative ways to make that happen.
Therapists are awesome! In the 5 years since my stroke, I’ve had quite a few Therapists, and they all have done things differently. It’s so interesting! I like to have fun, but seriously do the work. I love how they see all of the little things with the muscles and the way the body moves. They see the details, while also seeing the whole thing.
When I was growing up, we almost always had a pool. I love the water! I’ve always been a good swimmer, and have felt very comfortable in the water. This new water therapy has shown me that I have a long way to go, to feeling comfortable in the water. I have a new goal now, to get to where I feel good and coordinated and comfortable in the water. It’ll happen! Hopefully soon! It’s all good!

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My Fourth Strokiversary

Well, not only is it Pi Day, but it’s the 4th Anniversary of my hemorrhagic stroke. It’s my “Strokiversary”! I’ve come a long way in 4 years! Today, for me, is a day to celebrate, almost like a birthday. I felt like my life changed 4 years ago, and I started my new way of life.
Life for me is really good! I wake up thankful, live each day in a positive way, and go to bed thankful every night. I don’t take things for granted, and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I no longer get to worry or stress out on things. I have very reactive blood pressure, and very quickly can be reminded of that if I get stressed.
Since my stroke was caused from high blood pressure, it is the one thing that I can’t let get out of control, or I could have another stroke. I will do everything in my power to avoid another stroke. So, I avoid stressful situations. I have additional prescriptions that I can take if my BP goes too high, and it can bring it down 40 points in about 20 mins. There are side effects, so I don’t like having to take them, but when necessary, I do what I have to do.
Aside from the blood pressure problems, I basically have right-side weakness, and balance issues. My back fatigues very fast when doing the same task for a short while. Then I will feel like I can’t hold my head up. I can walk about 1 to 1 1/2 miles. The bursitis in my hips is bad. My bicep, tricep, and trapezoid are very atrophied, which causes problems trying to keep my arm up. My hand is weak, with thumb and forefinger very weak and uncoordinated. Writing is still a challenge, and still can’t write cursive. Speech can be jumbled if I talk too fast. Short-term memory issues, but not too severe. Those are my basic physical challenges, which is why I tell people that I am about 80-85% back to normal. Usually I don’t talk about what I CAN’T DO, I focus on what I CAN DO. Most people just looking at me can’t even tell I’ve had a stroke. I love that! But I get asked all the time, “What is still wrong with you?”. So that’s it in a nutshell. If you really watch me do something, you would see the problems, especially if you spent a day with me.
My husband sees it all, and is very protective of me because he knows what happens when I try to push it. I respect him for that, and love him so deeply. He has helped me with my recovery immensely. He is a very good person, and I am thankful  to have him for my husband. We will celebrate our 30th Anniversary this year!!
My kids are wonderful people, and I love my time with them every day, whether in person or on the phone. I have an amazing family and relatives, and the best friends a person could ever wish for.
This year Bryan and I want to start our foundation for stroke recovery, so stay tuned for that!
I have a nice life. I don’t focus on my deficits, but still try to work on strengthening the different body parts by doing creative things.
Today, I will make a pie for Pi Day, and I will have a glass of champagne to celebrate my 4th “Strokiversary”. Cheers!