Learning to Live Again

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Never-Ending Nightmare - Someone Please Wake Me Up

 

 

 

Trapped

The stroke didn’t just create a bump in the road. It permanently closed many doors.

I’ve always been well aware that when one door closes, another door opens. I’ve experienced it too many times to count. I just never knew there were hallways. I also never realized that the new doors could lead to such hateful situations. Yet for nearly a year and a half, I was trapped in some very dark hallways!

when-one-door-closes

Darkest place I’ve ever been, blacker than I could ever imagine.

Leaving the hallways was hard on many levels. After all the meds were out of my system and I created a comprehensive exit strategy, I was finally able to think clearly. I asked myself, “Now what & Where do I go from here”?

Adapt or Die

By nature I am a problem solver. Until this point, those skills came in handy to figure out how to dress or bath myself but they seemed to disappear when it came to accepting and adapting.

Adapting to life after stroke is far from easy; we face more failures than successes.The key is discovering what will help you move forward & stay motivated.

Way back in rehab, the therapists and even my family were surprised how hard I worked. I’ve never been a physical person. If it was too strenuous and not enjoyable, I was usually out. However in Rehab, my thoughts were– “staying in bed won’t accomplish anything”

After camp ended, physical therapist bailed, and insurance cancelled, I seemed to forget that I’m proactive and not a slug.

Well after spending months as a slug, it was time to adapt or die because this definitely wasn’t working for me. Although I do have an exit strategy, it wasn’t my time to die. Adapting was my only choice.

Accounting

My first out of bed task was to help a friend clean up his small business books. It took me months to accomplish something I could have done in 2 days in my past life (they were a mess).

I could only sit at my desk for about an hour a day and typing one-handed slowed me down even more. I also had to research how to account for some transactions that I had handled for 20+ years. He has been unbelievably good to me so I had to stick it out. I finished it!

Even though I experienced overwhelm and frustration daily, I was disappointed when I was done. Now what do I do with my time?

Cooking

Adapting to life after stroke is far from easy; we face more failures than successes.The key is discovering what will help you move forward & stay motivated.

I had pinned from bed for months now, dreaming of all the food I’d never eat. No one here was going to make these recipes. I live with 3 men who don’t cook.

Yes, I was one of those moms that fell for “sandwiches are so much better when you make them”. Needless to say, my kids know how to get themselves cereal with milk and me a microwaved dinner. Freddy’s idea of cooking was “what am I picking up on my way home?”

On Tuesdays & Thursdays my sister would help prepare some dinners but she hates cooking so I had to keep it really simple and guide her.

After 18 months of takeout and Costco prepared foods what else could I do but figure out how to cook off-balance with one hand.

Support Groups

support-min

After spending so much time in rehab & camp, I knew I wasn’t alone. However, being able to talk to others like me was impossible now.

I could drive but I couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t get my wheelchair out of the house or in & out of the van. In-person support groups were out of the question.

Everyone here was gone all day and my sister was already driving an hour and a half round trip two days a week to help me and take me to appointments. No way am I asking her to drive here again.

It was during these months that I finally discovered Facebook Support Groups. For the first few months I didn’t participate, I lurked. Reading about other survivor’s experiences and coping methods helped a bunch. It helped even more when I started to participate.

Passions

Creating this blog is another attempt at creating a new life. Using the resources at hand while adjusting to my disabilities may not be the way I envisioned my life but it has fulfilled a need.

I’ve always enjoyed technology, learning, and challenges. All needs met by blogging.

The bonus is that I may be able to help another survivor adjust to living after a stroke, hopefully before they get stuck in a hallway for too long. I’ve always thrived when I can be helpful. My methods and the receivers may be different now but the outcome is the same.

It is my wish that this is the start of a community. A community that includes all of you sharing your experiences. We can help each other navigate our way through this uncharted territory of stroke recovery.

Life Goes On

Adapting to life after stroke is far from easy; we face more failures than successes.The key is discovering what will help you move forward & stay motivated.

Fast-forward another year and here I am. I’m still in the nightmare but out of the hallways. Finally able to share my experiences about living in Hell’s Hallways and my attempts to find that open door and begin my journey to a new life.

At times I still have trouble believing everything that’s happened. It feels so surreal. All it takes is a quick read of my journal to remind me that yes, that was MY life.

If you came here looking for the map to a new life, I’m sorry to disappoint you. There isn’t one. It doesn’t exist.

The road to recovery and living again is different for everyone. It also changes daily.

All I can do is share the roads I’ve taken. Just because one of those roads took me to my destination, there’s no guarantee the same road will take you to yours. The same goes for the roads that took me back to where I started. You never know, my failures may be your successes.

Stroke recovery as well as life is a series of trials and errors.

The more you try and fail, the more you learn and succeed. It is my hope that you find something here you haven’t found before that may possibly work for you.

My focus here, if you haven’t noticed by now, is on Mindset, Cooking, Support, and Motivation (Passions). These are the things that keep me out of bed and away from self-pity.

Although I don’t spend every minute in total fear anymore, I’m still living a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

What helps you stay positive and out of bed?

Till next time - Have Wonderful Days - Leslie

 

 

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2 Responses to Learning to Live Again

  1. Paul Hoffman August 18, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

    Interesting that you went to cooking to help your recovery…I did too. I always liked cooking in cast iron, although my wife prepared and prepares 95% of our meals. But every now and then I make a dinner. Some fail (except to my own tastes), some have become household regulars. I started cooking after stroke when (former) coworkers would visit me. I arranged it so 1 or 2 visited a week for a couple hours around lunchtime…giving my wife a few hours of “no Paul” time. Salmon cooked in my trusty cast iron with some basil and olive oil was my usual preparation, paired with fresh asparagus charred and covered with butter and Parmesan cheese. All said they liked it. It was easy for me to make one handed once I got used to handling the heavy pans. A related hobby I resumed at the 1 year past stroke mark: rehabilitating cruddy rusted old cast iron to better than new well seasoned items…a hobby I still enjoy when I find cast iron cheap. But it is so popular I seldom find any to work in any longer.

    • Leslie August 19, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      It was really a no brainer for me. If I wanted to eat “real food” again – I had to cook. Originally, I thought it would also help Freddy by limiting what he’d have to do when he got home. I was wrong. The mess I left him was much more work than the simple dinner prep he would do when he was not just picking up dinner.

      It works though. We eat real food and save money. It’s kind of like my job now! It takes me all day so it really is like a job.

      I’ve never cooked with cast iron but after watching cooking shows & reading about food for months, I’d like to. No wonder cheap cast iron is in demand.

      Your lunch sounds great and I’m not even a huge salmon fan. You got me with basil & asparagus (my fav veggie). Basil makes everything amazing!

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