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Tag Archives: Stroke

Acceptance

For most of my life I accepted the fact that I would never meet my mother – it just was the way things were.  I did search the newspaper each birthday hoping against hope there would be a cryptic message only I could decipher, and when the internet came along I searched there as well – but at the same time, I still accepted that I would not meet her.  In the end that acceptance of fact proved true because she had already passed by the time my records were unsealed.  Acceptance to me in most things was simply a logical assumption based on probabilities and realities.

That type of acceptance of reality is how I have always lived my life both personal and professional – decisions based on careful consideration of all logical facts – not emotions.  That is the me – my family, friends, and coworkers knew. 

Which brings me to the change in me after I got sick – and specifically after my stroke.  I never accepted that I could not get back what I had lost.  It just wasn’t in my realm of possibilities – despite the fact that probabilities and realities predicted I wouldn’t regain all that I had lost.  I did regain some that I shouldn’t have, and perhaps that attributed to the belief – who knows, but I set myself up for expectations that were not achievable.  Those expectations ensured I fought and became very stubborn which has hurt me as well, simply because I did not apply the logical facts based on reality.

Last week I broke down and suggested to my husband that I hire a landscaping company to bring the backyard back to what it had been before I got sick.  I think he breathed a sigh of relief because his agreement was immediate and without any qualifications or strings – just “I agree” – no questions on cost – just “do it”.  On Friday the crew of four arrived and worked all day long trimming hedges and shrubs that were massively overgrown, pulling weeds, taking down small trees seeded by the birds and squirrels, mulching, and then hauling it all away.  My backyard is beautiful once again.  I can go out and wander around the yard and hopefully maintain the flower beds, but from now on I will pay for the heavy gardening on a regular basis because having a beautiful space to enjoy nature in, is good medicine for the soul.

I should have known logically and factually that I cannot do everything that I did before I got sick – the facts speak for themselves – but my brain is different now and refused to see it – I need to remember to compensate for its difference.

Which brings me to perhaps what made me finally realize I wasn’t thinking logically like I did before, although it took a couple of weeks to sink in but I watched the Ted Talk (see below) the last week of May (I created a post about it but left it as a draft).  I recognised many of the same things she experienced and talks about here – although my stroke was ischemic and a specific section of my left brain now operates in my right brain.  “Same but different.”  At the start she says this about having your right brain be the dominant side controlling you and what that means: “This present moment – right here – right now” and that resonated with me.  I said that to a friend at lunch just the other day – I am good in the present – alluding to my inability to keep things that are in the present now, in the future, or connecting the past to what is relevant now.  I am different now – I live in both sides but unless I focus, I would say I am more on the right side.   I do believe that is the reason I failed to realize for so long (years) that I was over my head in my own backyard.

Enjoy and take the time to listen to the talk because chances are that at some point in your life, someone close to you will go through this too – different but perhaps similar and it will be invaluable to be able to understand the difference not only in how they think, but even in the personality.

“Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.”

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Numbness…

Most of the time I don’t consciously focus on the fact that I have had a stroke. I just go about my day, but the fact that I have had a stroke hits me at different times, and in different ways. This morning as I reached my arms up to wash my hair I felt a wave of numbness/tingling that flashed over my right hand and arm and then reverted back to its normal level of numbness. 

Some stroke patients experience pain, numbness or odd sensations of tingling or prickling in paralyzed or weakened limbs, a symptom known as paresthesias.

But that flash made me consciously think about my stroke, and the part of my stroke that impacts me the least.  I started thinking about whether or not the numbness is different now, than it was when it happened, physically I believe it is less.  How I react to the numbness is far different from when I first woke up during my stroke, or even days and months later when I would unconsciously lace my fingers together and immediately pull my hands apart because the right hand, wasn’t my hand. 

Now I pay more attention working around the stove because I can burn myself very easy, I write less because my handwriting is worse and disintegrates quickly, I seldom lace my fingers together but can tolerate it when I do.  I know my arm and leg fall asleep quicker and deeper, so I watch how I sit or lay.  Sometimes when I casually touch my husband, his reflexes kick in and he will flinch and automatically know it is my right hand touching him because it is like ice.  I don’t feel the cold in my right side, so I forget it is different.  If I want to feel textures I use my left hand as the sensitivity is much better. 

I have adapted and adjusted to my new normal, I still miss my old normal and wish my stroke had never happened to begin with, and that the numbness is the least of the issues from the stroke.  I also know that I am very lucky compared to other stroke survivors, but wouldn’t I have been luckier not to have the stroke at all

So while others may tell me I am lucky they also comparing me to other stroke survivors.  They would never tell me I am lucky to have had a stroke, while comparing me to people who have not had a stroke.  Would you?

And if I have a day when I am angry that my stroke had to happen, my friends let me be angry, because it should not have happened.  If I am angry that I can’t work anymore, they don’t tell me how good I have it being retired.  They listen because they know that is what I need from them, and that I hear it from them, when they need to vent or talk about things that impact them.

I see a lot of similarities between my stroke and my adoption.  The stroke really doesn’t have an upside while adoption also has positives in it, but nor do I believe anyone else would want either to happen to them, but both did to me, and I have made the best of both.  Yet different things trigger thoughts of each and invariably I am reminded of both by normal everyday occurrences.  I also see a complete disconnect in how people in life see and react to me, they understand about my feelings about my stroke but talking about being adopted is different.  And the difference is that they only want to see the positives that come from adoption, and only want to talk about the positives, because it makes them uncomfortable to think of the negatives, and to me that is the biggest disservice of all. 

Just like what triggered thoughts of my stroke today, my adoption impacts me and I am reminded of the fact that I am adopted in many different ways on a daily basis, and I can’t see it ever being different.  It does not mean I am always angry or upset when I think about either, they are both just a part of who I am, and who I always will be. 

But if my talking here, as well as by other adult adoptee bloggers and allies, about the issues surrounding adoption and actions by those who lack ethics can make adoption more ethical, and only done when there is no other good option, then that’s a really good thing, and I am happy to be a part of that.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Adoption, Ethics

 

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