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Archive for July, 2009

Getting Stronger?

I think I’m getting stronger. By “running” for 30 minutes, 3 times a week, I feel strength building in my ankle and leg in general.

Then comes moving day. My leg threatens to give out several times (once at the top of the stairs while holding a heavy box – yikes!). Walking up to the 3rd floor apartment and down with boxes, bags, and miscellaneous things and driving to the new house and walking up a flight of stairs to put boxes, bags, and various things in the office, extra bedrooms, and our bedroom only to trudge back down the stairs to carry more wore me out beyond explanation. I think I am S-L-O-W-L-Y building stamina, but jeez, I would like more and faster please! When I get worn down, I have more slow or false starts. It takes longer to think about and then take that first step on the stairs, whether going up or down. There is something so lonely about being a stroker – when you’re the only person who has to think carefully about how to navigate across a room, well, there’s a sense of solitude to the whole thing.

So, in the end, I *do* think I am getting stronger, but is sure as heck is slow. ~readjusting expectations…AGAIN~

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So much news!

As a continuation of the previous post – I said that I used to need to secure my affected limbs but that, basically, I didn’t need to do it any longer. Oops. Spoke too soon. About 2 weeks ago, I realized that I still need to secure my limbs, but I think it is more habit now or, at the very least, I’m just not as conscious of it. Bob & I were riding in the back seat and I had to sit in the middle between Bob & my dad. Bob was on my left (affected side). If I can’t angle my foot so that I can balance my leg, it pretty much kind of flops a little. Finally, after getting frustrated with trying to fix it, I just took Bob’s leg and shoved it against my leg so that it was supported.

Part of it is the stabilizing muscles. The muscles that hold your leg up when you are sitting on the floor with your back against the wall and your legs bent. You can release the major muscle and allow the stabilizing muscle to keep the leg in place. Paralysis messes that all up, doesn’t it?! When I was at USC for the study, I suggested they look into how to engage the stabilizing muscles. It was clear that they didn’t really understand what I was saying and I just dropped the issue.

Over the July 4th weekend, Bob & I flew to South Dakota for my grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. She’s quite the firecracker yet. When I teased her about keeping it up for the next 15-20 years, she just hushed me!

It was so nice to be home. The balance between quality and quantity of time with family and friends is a delicate balance, and one that I’m sure that I never quite accomplish but I got to meet the newest niece and distant new family members as well as old faces that are so welcoming.

I also got a chance to spend (far too short) time with a good friend from high school (hi Kris!). We enjoyed chatting over a couple glasses of wine. The fact that she and Bob had to help hold me up when I had to put my shoes on at the end of the night – Bob wants to blame it on the wine. The real me is afraid to blame it on my continuing balance problems. I won’t dwell on it since it would ruin the memory of the lovely evening we had.

One of the topics of conversation really got me interested. Kris said that it seems as though our bodies age but our minds feel like no time has passed since high school. I think that, right now at least, I’m aging backward a little. When I first stroked, I felt 80 years old (not that I know how that feels, but go with me on this). As I am gaining strength, I feel younger. I hope that I will be my actual age by the time I hit 40!

On a related note, BS (before stroke), I used to feel very secure in aging. I liked the idea that I would age and wrinkle and gain life experiences. Now, however, it scares me & I try to freeze the age I am now and I long for my early 30s. It is too hard to put into words. I hope to release this fear in the near future.

I am keeping up with my “running” program. (I put running in quotes because it really isn’t running by any stretch of the imagination but it is all I can muster so I am giving myself artistic license!) I am running 1/3 of the track and walking 1/4 alternating for 30 minutes three times a week. Next week, I will be running 1/2 the track and walk 1/4-1/3. Increasing the increments slowly has been working really well. The increased ankle strength has surprised me. I also feel more energized which is a great feeling! Who knows, maybe I will actually come to like running (I never did before)!

Lastly, we have finally purchased a house here in Virginia. It was a foreclosure so we had to buy it from the Veteran’s Administration which was a pain in the tuckus. They gave us fits up to the last minute but we prevailed! We will be moving in at the end of July. Thankfully, Bob’s dad is flying here to help us move – I don’t have that kind of strength and endurance just yet! Until then, we are working to get stuff done while we aren’t living there – the flooring in the kitchen, foyer, and hallway needs to be replaced and we are updating the kitchen with some paint and a new island that we are building! I still tire quicker than I used to, but I am building up my endurance.

That’s the news from Virginia. And South Dakota, too, technically. I hope all are enjoying the summer.

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