Archive for October, 2006

Yesterday was the biggest day of my academic career. It was my final dissertation defense. When I get really stressed out, I get a bit flaky (pre-stroke too) & I forgot my computer – WITH MY PRESENTATION – at home!!

I started out the day with trying to find a nice outfit. I have gained about 10 pounds (I refuse to get on a scale right now so I guesstimate) since the stroke and couldn’t fit into my suit. I fit into some fat clothes and drove off to get my hair done. My stylist is great – she is energetic, creative, great at what she does, and loves her job. She made my hair look great. I had 3 phone calls on my cell while there and finally answered the 3rd time – it was my advisor wondering where I was! I got into work at 11:30 and clarified some concerns that my advisor had. His wife was at my practice presentation and brought some concerns to me and mentioned them to him. She is awesome – brilliant, kind, and helpful. I had a donut for lunch – not nutritious but I was nervous about leaving and not making it back on time!

A good friend, Carol, had come for support and she & I were chatting while I was pacing when Bob showed up with my computer!! woo hoo – he is the best!! We went to the conference room at 1:15 pm to set up the computer and projection system and to wait for the committee. One of the members was about 15 minutes late – wringing my nerves dry!

I started and made a joke about how much has happened since I last saw them for the proposal defense. During the presentation, I noticed that I was talking fast and told myself to slow down (something that I am working on for public speaking). I gave a 20 minute presentation and answered 20 minutes worth of questions. I kept expecting to be blind-sided but I could answer the questions relatively well – with more time and thought, I feel as though I could have been more thorough though, oh well .

Carol, Bob, & I left to get the paperwork for the committee to sign while they decided my fate. We got back and they were ready for us – I passed. I PASSED!! Get this – I passed as presented…WITH NO REVISIONS (very rare)!!!

We went out and celebrated

It is still very surreal and I don’t feel ‘doctor-ish’ yet. I wonder if I ever will or if I will just get brainwashed with it eventually (if enough people call me a Dr. I will eventually believe it & feel like it?)



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Wow – it has been a while since I have blogged…I will try to catch up as best as I can.

– I have my dissertation defense date set – October 27 at 1:30 pm – THIS FRIDAY!! I am working on my presentation and am anxious/excited.

– I went to a conference in San Francisco Mon – Thurs of this past week. I was pretty much on my own. Had my own room & handled everything by myself. I met an online friend there and it was great to see someone face to face that I have communicated with online for so long. Her screen name is MonkeyGirl but I was very disappointed to discover that she looked nothing like a monkey whatsoever. She is tall, kind, and warm. The conference was interesting and I had a good time in San Francisco.

– I am continuing with PT but am getting a little frustrated with the most recent person that I have been working with – she just recently graduated and I have determined that she either (a) was barely a “C” student, (b) does know how to apply what she learned to real work, or ( c ) is simply unmotivated. She simply asks the supervisor what to do and has me do it – I don’t think she understands the why behind the activities because she focuses on details of the activity that are not a part of the big picture. I will have to talk to the manager to ask not to work with her any longer. She is very nice and pleasant but that does not help me to heal.

– Guess what I did yesterday (Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006)? I rode my bike all the way to work AND back – BY MYSELF!!! Bob & I figured it was 6 miles one way, so I rode 12 miles yesterday – woo hoo!!  I had the best conversation in my head the entire time – “yeah you are!” was my internal response to everything my body was doing. For example:

I am biking up an incline well & my mind says “yeah you are!”
I was working really hard to keep going & my mind says “yeah you are!”

It felt fabulous. I hope to do it at least 1-2 times a week and work really hard at it.

“yeah you are!”

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Weird stuff

Man alive am I sore from step aerobics class! Oddly though – the soreness is only on my unaffected side – I know I worked my affected side just as much but it doesn’t seem to know when it is sore. It is a very weird thing to have one leg and butt sore and the other side doesn’t seem to know a thing.

I am revising the last section of my dissertation and I continue with writing issues that I have always and forever have had – I am too concise and need to expand on the topics. I find that difficult. At the same time, it is comforting to have a same problem rather than a new, stroke problem – I hope that makes sense, as weird as it is.

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Feeling good!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy  I finally have a date set for the big finale – defending my dissertation – October 27th at 1:30 pm Eastern time.

Yay!!! Woo hoo!! Whenever I think about it, I get excited and anxious and nervous – feelings that together create a neat combination of *finally.* ~12 or so years of schooling to get to this point – my undergraduate education spanned 2 states, 3 colleges, and about 6 years; my graduate education also spanned 2 states, 3 colleges/universities, and about 6 years.


My second reason for feeling good is that I went to step class last night. A good friend of mine teaches it and I have loved step aerobics for years. I was a self-proclaimed Step Queen!

I approached last night with hesitation and caution. I didn’t have any risers (the bench was flat on the floor) and still almost fell 3 times. I couldn’t do much of the choreography since I can’t seem to keep track of where my affected foot/leg is in space (hence the almost falls). My brain was connected and wanted so badly to keep up and do every single move but my body wasn’t ready to respond. That’s okay, it has also been almost a year since I have attended a step class so that may be part of it. That is what I plan to keep telling myself until I improve significantly.

Ahhhhh…to feel good again. I like it!

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So, the plan was for me to defend my dissertation on Friday, October 13, 2006 – my 11 month stroke-aversary and Friday the 13th!!

Scheduling conflicts at the last minute have now changed that – darn it! I am trying to set up the day but getting people to respond and let me know what works is taking FOREVER! I am anxious/excited/nervous but I think I am ready.

I am excited about this feeling too. I feel as though this has snapped me out of my fog. A coworker said that I seem more alert now and my advisor said that I seem ‘crisp’ now. That makes me feel great. Better than great – incredible. Now I just need to get it set up and rolling – waiting is the hardest part, right?


On a separate note, I was watching something on TV and, although I don’t remember what it was, something that was said really struck a chord in me. There was some type of support group and one of the people said “when I was first diagnosed, so many people came to my side, called, talked, and supported me and I felt so loved. Now that time has passed, they have pulled away and it feels like they have taken that love with them.”

A light went on over my head. I think that is why I have been so punky and down lately. It is an odd thing really. I didn’t want anyone to treat me differently when I had the stroke, but they did. It was an amazing feeling to have people express their care. Now that so much time has passed, I am treated as ‘normal’ and I miss that feeling of being loved and valued.

Maybe I am just an attention lover


I have often thought or hear that people can’t wait until they ‘wake up one day and feel normal/feel better’ Baloney for me! It has to be pointed out to me.

I was trying to talk through some parts of my dissertation with Bob the other night and he started to get this little grin on his face…I don’t have much humor when it comes to my dissertation so I asked him what he thought was just so darn funny about my study? He straightened up and said ‘nothing, nothing at all.’ Later, when we were going home for the night, he asked me if I remembered when (pre-stroke) I used to get to talking and gesturing all together and he would grasp my hands to shut me up. I told him that I remembered, thank you very much. He said that he was smiling because it was the first time that he noticed that I was gesturing and my left hand matched my right, without any delay or awkwardness. Awww….thanks, honey! Thank you for pointing it out, sometimes I need that.

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