Tag Archive | stroke

Tai Chi for Stroke Recovery 

I’m about 6 years post-hemorrhagic stroke. I am constantly looking for new ways to get therapy, which is beyond the traditional therapy. Traditional therapy has just gotten boring, and I tend to not keep it up at home. I like fun therapy!!

 Last year I did pool therapy, and I really liked it! It’s just hard to swim in the winter. I really wanted to do something different. 

 So last October, we joined our local Recreation Center, which also includes a Senior Center. The Rec Center has an indoor pool, every kind of workout equipment, and lots of exercise classes.

 After trying the pool, I just couldn’t keep swimming there because the water wasn’t warm enough for me. So I decided to try some classes. In the Senior Center!! Yup! I figured that would be my speed! The age for the Senior Center starts at 50, so I fit the bill!

 The first class I tried was Chair Yoga. It was fun! Very challenging for me! Apparently not too challenging for the 94 year old lady in class!! Actually all of the class could do the yoga! Except me! I’m not usually one to compare myself to others, but it was glaringly obvious that I was struggling in class. I’m also not one to give up, but it was just TOO tough! A little bit tough is good, but TOO tough is frustrating and not productive.

So, next I tried the Tai Chi class. I used to do martial arts, and my husband still does jujutsu and taiko drumming. I still feel surrounded by martial arts with our dojo friends, too. So Tai Chi is another martial art! I LOVED the first class! It’s physically challenging in a good way! I love the calmness that I feel in class. I work hard to get my right side to cooperate, but nobody knows that I’m trying hard! That’s a good thing! Any time I feel like I blend in with others, I feel great! When class is over in an hour, I feel so good!!! Tired, but good!!

 Tai Chi is slow. It can take years to “get it”! There are so many intricate details that one might not get for years. I love that!! That’s how it was in jujutsu! So that’s what I know to be true about martial arts. Tai Chi follows that philosophy. The teacher is really good! She believes that she is also the student. She doesn’t expect perfection. She expects us to try, and do our best that day. It’s Tai Chi for Diabetes, so it’s a slower class than her other classes, which is why I signed up. I don’t have diabetes, and neither do some of the other people in class, but I’m sure some have other issues, too.

 I’m so glad that I’ve found this class in the Senior Center. I look forward to going every week! It’s something that I know will always be a part of my life. I’m not sure that I’m physically stronger because of Tai Chi yet, but I’m pretty sure I will be stronger with time. Some day, I’ll try that Chair Yoga class again, too! Haha!

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!

My life is in perspective and positive

When I experienced having a stroke, that moment changed my life forever! Initially, every moment was spent on survival. Even though I wasn’t consciously thinking that, reflecting back I realize that I was in survival mode. I know that I had a choice to live or die, but I can’t recall the moment that it happened or the details to that experience. Later on, improving my condition became my focus.
I have always had the ability to find the good in the bad, and to always see the bright side of things. I believe that being positive is the key to making possibilities happen, when the odds are against you. I also believe that not knowing how bad the outlook is, is a good thing. I also am thankful that I never had any doctor, nurse, therapist, family member, or friend, tell me that anything with my recovery would be impossible. It seemed as though I was surrounded by positive people! I never knew, until much later, that the odds were against me! I always knew that I’d improve! I knew it!! There was no doubt, because I didn’t know to have doubt. I beat the odds!!
My life was instantly put in perspective the moment that the stroke happened. I am always aware of what is important in life now. That feeling doesn’t go away. Not that I wasn’t aware of that before the stroke, but now it’s the focus of my thinking and actions. There’s no other way to be, as far as I’m concerned. There’s no “sweating the small stuff”. If something can’t be done with love, then it shouldn’t happen. Life is about love and happiness. Yes, I can still get mad or frustrated, but I quickly let it go. It is not worth it to have stress, because stress affects the body and health. We are in control of ourselves. I won’t do anything to jeopardize my health, or anyone else’s health.
I view my life now as a gift. I want to help other stroke survivors, and people who need a touch of positive in their life when faced with a long recovery. As my strength and stamina continue to improve, my thoughts are shifting into helping others, and how to go about doing that on any scale. Getting back on my blog is a start.
My husband is my rock, and he is amazing! He has helped me most with my recovery, because he has been there almost 24/7, and knows what it takes to do life now. My kids keep me humble and laughing all the time, and they are always on my mind. They are so positive and happy, and I appreciate their fun personalities. My family and friends give me strength to keep pushing forward.
I have a deep sense of calm, and I look forward to my future and old age. I will do it one day at a time, with a smile!