Six years ago today, I had a life changing event. It wasn’t necessarily a good one, but it changed my life forever.
On May 29, 2010, I had a stroke.
Luckily, I look fine. You'd never know just by looking at me.
Although, honestly, sometimes I think if I were somewhat maimed or deformed, people might be a tad more compassionate. There are actually people who think I’m just lazy and using the stroke as an excuse.
I much prefer to think of myself as a fighter. Or a survivor.
The stroke affected the left side of my body. You know that “pins and needles” feeling you get when you fall asleep on your arm? That’s what I feel ALL THE TIME. When I first had the stroke, it was my entire left side. I could actually draw a line down the middle of my face. Luckily, it has subsided some, but it’s still there. I have some “hot spots": my left elbow and my left knee, where the “pins and needles” feelings are the most intense.
My left side is super sensitive now. If you brush against my left side, it’s extremely uncomfortable for me. There are many of those “touchy-feely” types that have to touch people when they talk to them. In an effort to be polite, I try not to scream, but honestly, once someone has touched my left side, all I can concentrate on is NOT screaming, and I’ve lost pretty much everything they’ve said to me.
After the stroke, I went to Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy for several months, in an effort to get certain muscles working again. We made a little progress, but there are parts that will never work again like they used to.
My left hand is unable to grip things like it used to. I can hold things for a short time, but it takes a good deal of concentration, and it starts to hurt real fast. Blow drying my hair, putting on necklaces, or going through a drive through are some of the things that are very difficult now.
I can’t lift much anymore because of weakened shoulder muscles.
I can walk just fine, but I have trouble with balance because of weak core muscles. If I walk on soft or uneven turf, or have to turn quickly, I will lose my balance. Unfortunately, when I lose my balance, I look like I've had too much to drink. It's very embarrassing, not to mention all the bruises I wear all the time!
The hardest effect from the stroke has been the constant fatigue.
Before the stroke, I used to perform in a lot of musical theatre productions. We had rehearsals several times a week, often with very physical demands. I also was in an adult tap dance group. I was busy often after school, going from one rehearsal to another performance, both on weekdays and weekends. That was my release at the end of the school day. It’s what I loved to do for myself.
Since the stroke, I have trouble getting through the school day. I wouldn’t dare make any plans for after school. When I’m done with my daily school work, I go straight home to rest and relax.
I use weekends to catch up on my resting.
Want to read a good explanation of the fatigue? Google “The Spoon Theory” at http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/category/the-spoon-theory
I am certainly grateful that I never hesitated to enjoy life when I had the opportunities.
Luckily, I have a job I love, since I really don't do much else besides my job.
I have a wonderful man in my life who is very understanding of how tired I get.
And I found a hobby I can do sitting down: blogging!