Welcome to our blog! I originally started this blog in November 2010 just prior to having a major brain surgery to remove a large bleeding cavernous angioma from a deep part of my brain. You can best understand the gravity of our experience by reading the first several entries.(Nov 2010-Dec 2010) I wrote the first one and my sweet, adoring husband, John, wrote the next several (while I was too sick to do much of anything) that documented surgery, immediate recovery, and our reaction to the surgery complication (stroke)that was revealed 2 days after surgery. This recovery process has been difficult but we are making it. We appreciate all the kind words of encouragement we have received and we would like to thank everyone that has participated in helping us along this difficult journey. Also, if you have any questions about my personal experience, please leave them as a comment or contact me directly at thankfulforeveryday@yahoo.com and I will respond although I am not a doctor and this is not a replacement for medical care or advise. Please ask a real professional, or probably several. :) I hope to be able to help at least one person along the challenging road of brain surgery and recovery.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Four month reflection!

A few days ago marked the four month anniversary of my surgery/stroke.We are very grateful for the progress that I have made and we realize there is still a long road ahead to get all the way back. Sometimes it seems unreal...all that happened. Sometimes, I can't even believe how "messed up" I was after surgery and how much better I am now. The brain is amazing!!!! Just four months ago, I was essentially paralyzed on my left side, not to mention all the other problems I had.. The doctors called it weakness, but I couldn't move my left arm or leg at all at first...Initially, all I did was think incessantly about moving anything I could. When I couldn't move my left arm, I laid in bed and moved my left arm with my right arm again and again. Same thing for my leg. I concentrated on wiggling my toes/fingers and was pleased with any movement. From what I had read ahead of time, I knew I had to get moving ASAP. It seems to have worked, thankfully!!!  I kept asking the nurses to help me get up, but they always told me that I was too weak.(I was probably driving them crazy!) I'm sure they were right, but I kept asking...hoping for a different answer.  Just four months later, I am thankfully able to take care of Jack(lift, carry, cuddle, and sometimes wrangle all 31lbs of his wild 2 year old body), alone, sometimes. I don't have the endurance to care for him all day as I had in the past, but we're working on it. Jack's a very spirited little boy and I think he could wear even a non-brain injured person out, so the goal of taking care of him entirely unassisted is a pretty high one in my mind.

We made some changes about a month ago in terms of rehab. I wasn't 100% pleased with the last rehab, so we interviewed and switched to a place closer to home...and so far it seems to be working out better. I also started seeing a neuro-optometrist a few weeks ago, to help with my eyes. He gave me the best news yet after the initial 3 hour assessment. (Yes, 3 hours at the eye doctor...crazy!!) He said that while I have a lot of problems with my brain-eye connection, he thinks I'm going to get much better if not 100%. One of the problems with working on the brain-eye problems is that for the exercises to work, you have to work yourself to the point of nausea...so it's really uncomfortable...and you have to do the exercises 6 times a day or more. Oh yay! So I feel like throwing up 6+ times a day, lovely!! There better be a pay off! I do notice some slight improvement already, which is so great! The new rehab happens to already work with the eye doctor which was another bonus in making the switch. Another new area of focus has been on my jaw. During the surgery, they cut one of my jaw muscles...and it was super painful at first. Now it's not so much painful, but I can barely open my mouth. Eating things like burritos, sandwiches, burgers...is pretty hard and something I would like to resume without discomfort. At the new rehab they are doing ultrasound and have given me new jaw exercises to hopefully restore my jaw range of motion eventually. The rest of my rehab is going well, I think. The cognitive issues(memory, information processing, attention, multitasking,  and distractibility) seem to be the slowest to resolve and the most difficult to work on...but I'm getting there. I did find out last week that I had forgotten how to do long division and subtraction. It has been so long, and I didn't imagine I wouldn't be able to do it....but I always use a calculator....so I figured I better try while I was working on my "homework". Sure enough, I got them wrong...several times! :( Glad to say, I have now remastered tying my shoes, telling time, long division, and subtraction ! It's moments like that, that hit me....what else did I forget??? And also, how lucky I am that I'm not worse off. We continue to take it one day at a time...never knowing what surprises the day will hold, and always thankful that we are blessed with the opportunity to live another day.