Tag Archive | tai chi

7 Years Since my Stroke

When I woke up to start my day seven years ago, I had no idea that my life was about to drastically change forever! So much has happened to get me where I am today, seven years later! It has been quite the journey!

Every anniversary of my hemorrhagic stroke, I relive the stroke, but in a good way. I like to remember the people who helped me throughout my recovery. I still deliver homemade goodies to the nurses and physical therapists, which includes speech therapists and occupational therapists. It makes me feel good to thank them again, and they like it because hemorrhagic stroke survivors don’t always recover.

I get asked a lot, what are the effects I still have from my stroke? My recovery, by what one can see by looking at me, looks great! What one can’t see, is where the problems lie. I love that people think I’ve recovered, but there’s a whole other side that I struggle with every day that nobody sees. There’s a hidden side of strokes, and I have a few to share with you of what I experience. It’s low stamina, lack of strength, fine motor skill deficits, exhaustion that is debilitating, short term memory loss, blood pressure issues, balance issues, and the physical deficits from being paralyzed that haven’t come back.

I do pretty well not letting those things show! I’m very proud of that! I like it when I feel like everyone else! I like it when people say that they can’t tell I’ve had a stroke!

I can’t fake it when I go to therapy! I can’t fake it when I try to exercise, even in Tai Chi. I can’t fake it when I am tired, or when I need to write something with pen and paper. I wish my blood pressure would just stay normal, but it spikes.

I have to pick and choose what I do every day, in order to balance out my stamina and strength. If I can’t attend a party or function, it’s usually because it would be to noisy, BP issues, or I have other things that make it too hard to do everything in a day.

I don’t have the luxury of getting angry. That emotion will spike my BP so high, that it can be dangerous. I’ve learned to let things go. Sometimes I don’t want to let it go, but I must for my own health.

So those are some of the hidden sides of my stroke that I work on every single day. If I can help someone to avoid having a stroke, that would be great! If I can help someone who has had a stroke, I would love that!

My granddaughter has been amazing for me for therapy! I know I am physically stronger because of her, and have loved life even more since she was born 7 months ago.

My life is amazing and full of good stuff every day. If I could keep those hidden stroke effects hidden, I would. Sometimes I know it can help someone else, though, so I need to talk about it. But I would much rather talk about all of the good things. I wake up every day and say thank you, and before I go to sleep every night I say thank you. Life is really good!!


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!