Thursday, May 29, 2014

Remembering and Growing

Four years ago today my life was changed drastically. 

Four years ago today, I had a stroke.

On the surface, I still look the same. 
People who don't spend much time with me don't realize anything is different.

But people who know me well know the drastic changes that have happened in my life.

The stroke affected my left side. 

You know that "pins and needes" feeling you get when your foot falls asleep? I have that feeling all the time on most of my left side. 

The feelings on my left side are all intensified. If something rubs against me, I feel like I've been slapped. I can't wear bracelets on my left wrist, and there are a lot of clothes I can't wear because they are just too annoying.

Despite a few months of rehab, I have several muscles that just don't work very well. I have trouble reaching for things accurately.
My left hand has trouble grasping items. (Drive throughs are pretty much impossible!)

My core muscles on my left side are very weak. I have balance problems. Sometimes I just tip over. When walking on uneven surfaces, I stagger almost as if I've been drinking.

I can't lift things. I have to buy a smaller size cat litter now because I can't lift the bigger ones anymore.

Those are all the annoying things. 

The most difficult thing I've had to deal with: the fatigue.

Before the stroke, I was heavily involved in theatre. I used to teach all day, then go to a rehearsal at night, or even a performance.  Then I'd go and teach the next day.  I kept this sort of schedule for years! I'd be in shows that lasted a month or more, with 4-6 performances a week.  

Since the stroke, I get tired very easily. I can't go for more than a few hours without a rest. By the time the children leave at the end of the day, I'm a basket case. 

When I get home, I'm so tired I sit in my chair and watch TV.

On weekends, I do laundry, try to cook some meals to plan for the week ahead, and I catch up on my rest.

I have regular doctor's appointments, go acupuncture and a chiropractor. These help me keep going.
And I take a million pills each day.

But it's all ok.  
Why?

I have a beautiful daughter who loves me.

I have a wonderful gentleman friend who understands how tired I get.

I have friends and family who care.

I've made some wonderful friends through blogging, who are an important part of my life.

Do I miss theatre in my life?  Abolutely! But in the last 4 years, I have discovered a hobby that brings me much satisfaction: blogging! It doesn't drain my energy, and I can do it sitting down!

I give those kiddos most of my energy. They're worth it. 
After 37 years, I still love teaching.

And I really appreciate my readers! 
Thanks for listening, and thanks for being there!


3 comments:

  1. Wow! I didn't know that about you. I appreciate your openness. I love drama, but never felt good enough at it to pursue it. I have assisted with many of my step daughter's productions as she has been growing up. This year I started a drama club at my elementary school to encourage students to try it out. I can imagine that you miss this part of your life. Thank you for this post.

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  2. When I scrolled down to comment, I read the comment that was already here. My sentiments EXACTLY....that is exactly what I wanted to say. I commend you and respect you more than ever!!! Thank you for being so open and sharing your feelings. Means more than you may ever know!!

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  3. Thank you for sharing this and focusing on those positive things! I know the side effects are tough and I am so impressed that you are still teaching full-time with all of the exhaustion, guess the kids really keep you going.
    Last year my mom was told she had a mini-stroke, a very minor one, but I see these changes in her as well. I have stressed to her that she needs to take care of herself. Kind of ironic, because I have been ignoring my own neuro health a little lately. I have epilepsy. Have recently started having seizures again, after many years of being seizure free. I think it is hard for people without neurological issues to understand how exhausting brain issues can be. I am using this summer to see my new neurologist and take care of all of those appointments. It is time to change meds because the long term effects are poking their heads through - I have that tingling feeling a lot and need to change meds before it becomes more severe. Phew, thanks for letting me say all that. It has been on my mind.
    I hope you enjoy your (upcoming) summer break, rest and take care of yourself! Thank you for sharing the story, everyone needs to be more aware of strokes and their effects, so that they can receive treatment.

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