Been ages since I’ve posted! Life is often so distracting.
Though not quite the anniversary of my stroke, believe it or not, it’s coming up on four years Feb 18th! Wanted to jot down a few notes to the progress I’ve made before 2018 is a memory.
Body Stabalizing On AEDs
The most improvement is primarily with anxiety levels I attribute to my body finally stabilizing a bit on my anti-Epilepsy drugs (AEDs). Year prior, I was a mess with hardly being able to perform daily activities or any sort of travel. It especially affected getting enough exercise, as near paralysis would wash over me in fear of a seizure would somehow be triggered by an exercise that involved my (affected) left arm & hand. Tough to explain, but flexing the mucles would send an odd twingy feeling in which became associated with a biofeedback anxiety sort of way. It also caused severe drowsiness and the abilty to concentrate. This year was much better and consequently was able to get back to most rehab exercises, hopefully even making up so loss time, hard to know. The drowsiness & focus has also greatly improved.
Another aspect witnessed, is improvement in how my body deals with drinking a bit of alcohol. Having a couple craft beers or a friday night cocktail, I consider to be big sources of my quality of life. I went from last New Year’s eve where to toast friends, I literally had to limit myself to a few drops of Bourbon in a glass to mainly smell to now being able to drink a cocktail or a couple beers.
My digestion has improved some as well. Still not great, but mostly have a handle on. The Lyrica causes severe cronic constipation. Sort of like one gets after a round of opiates post-surgery, well that’s more or less become my daily existence. Doctors say it’s a motility issue having to do with the drug doing something to the nerves in the bowels it does to calm down my brain, preventing seizures. It’s taken well over a year for my body to stabalize. Still have to be very proactive by drinking enough water, eating plenty of fiber, drinking aloe vera juice, an herb extract,Cascara Sagrada, and occasional acupunture seem to all help. Worrying about it every day still isn’t fun, not gonna lie.
Due to the above along with doing my best to push past my comfort-zone, I feel stamina has improved considerably. It’s not at all at a level where I hope it is someday, but at least is has improved quite a bit. I was able to take my second solo trip to LA to visit my friend, Jonathon, which went great. My rides on my recumbent saw increased frequency, some tougher hill climbs, and a bit more ride lengths. Still havent ridden from our house in Columbia City to and around Mercer Island and back, but that can be a goal for 2018. Being able to travel more is a huge goal. While my bucket list has had to shrink some, there are loads of destinations on it yet. 2018 will see travel to Palm Springs for a family reunion and a big trip with four of our great friends to New Orleans, all which will require quite a bit of stamina for sure. Future goals are Mexico & Belgium to start with.
I committed again for my third season of skiing with Outdoors For All starting in a week, yikes! Really hoping it goes better having my PT and training pay off. Last year ended not so great I thought.
Walking, Stairs, Wobbling and Jumping!
My gait I think has improved some. Nowhere close to where I figured I would be at this stage, but subtle improvements coming from my PT work. But, yes very much still walk with a considerable limp. One musle critical in leg and your foot tracking straight is the Gluteus medius that has been getting stronger. Improvements are also coming from better dorsi and plantar flexion of my left foot which are both very important for smoother gait. Any chance to ever get back into my old race ski boots depend on this as well.
One goal this year that I’ve met is being able to walk both up & downstairs mostly without the need for a railing. Ive even been able to do so while carrying something. It’s a hell of a lot easier and ok safer with the railing, but I take my time and so far so good. Most of the time my (non affected) right hand hovers of the railing just in case.
To my suprise, my PT, Aaron has me jumping off of the bottom step of a stairwell and also jumping as a kid would hopscotch. This is helps with skiing, gait, and overall balance. Speaking of balance, I’m now mostly able to fully balance on a wobble board, plus do full squats while on it, which is pretty great.
Cognitive improvents continue. Though I did have a rather tough year at work for other reasons, I felt I’m able to perform better and better. I’m tending to not forget things in day-to-day life as much. Memory is still only as good as to be expected of a dude that’s approaching 50, but overall pretty good though considering. I can even fill up my weekly pill cases reasonably acurate without Jeanie having to count to verify I put the correct quantity in. Little things, I know.
I feel I’m making some fairly significant ‘breakthroughs’ with my therapist with starting to drive at the core of the loss and grief, so that’s helping. Still angers and baffles me how this is such an integral part of recovery the entire medical system, for the most part, overlooks with their one-size-fits-all stroke recovery protocol!
I can whistle again 🙂
Here’s to about to ring in the New Year!