My Apologies

I apologize.

I’m morphing. I intended to write a day by day account of our journey through stroke recovery. That was probably a very ambitious goal.

The truth is, we all do the best we can at every moment. Right? I mean no one really says “Yeah, I could hit this out of the park, but I’m just gonna bunt right here.” No one intentionally underperforms.

Initially, as I fell behind a day or two, I didn’t even panic. “I accept what is.” However, as I got further and further behind most recently, I had to totally reconsider the whole goal, as there is likely no way I can catch up at this point.

As I was processing what this moment was presenting me, it suddenly occurred to me. The title of the draft I had last worked on was “Progress Is Not Linear”.

It isn’t neat and orderly either.

Progress happens all at once one step at a time.

While Chris continues to progress, gaining lost ground inch by inch, measurable month by month, we have many other things happening in unison. Life is a great thing! It gives us challenges and blessings all at once so that we can dig deep into our Souls for strength and grace. So that we can truly rise above each challenge and see that it isn’t a give and take but a continuous give.

Every challenge and blessing is given for our highest good. Everything is for our highest good. Are you hearing this in your heart? There is nothing that is not in your life that isn’t there to lift you into the highest version of yourself.

Our lives since the stroke, look very similar to what they were before the 19th of January of this year. In many ways, however they look very different. We have both been forced out of the complacent routine we had created. We are expanding in different ways. We are digging deeper, going wider and flying higher than ever before.

Expect miracles out of us.

But don’t expect daily posts from me about it, because when you are in the midst of miracles you don’t always have the notion to document it!

But DO expect that I will be writing fairly regularly to share our where our journey is taking us and how we handle the off roading on our new tires!

~Jade

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Stroke Day 34 – Killer Tacos

February 22, 2017 Wednesday

I made tacos tonight for dinner. First time since the stroke. Up until now, they’ve been kind of a staple in our house. If Chris tells you this story, he will tell you that I tried to kill him by way of taco.

It turns out the many little bits that make this delicious treat are difficult for someone with a stroke to manage and swallow. He was choking and gagging with every bite. It was painful and terrifying to witness.

A quick remedy was to make it into a taco salad and he was able to eat without issue.

Killer tacos. Never to cross our threshold again.

In our lives laughter is indeed the medicine we take in the highest doses. It takes the edge off. It lightens our perspective so that we can rise above it.

For those familiar with me, this will sound very familiar: “What happens to you does not matter; what matters is who you become through those experiences.” As far as I’m concerned this is the secret to a happy life. You can become bitter or you can become better.

EVERYONE has a reason to become bitter, not everyone has the wisdom to become better.

 

Stroke Day 33 – Half Empty/Half Full

February 21, 2017, Tuesday

Today was the first day Chris drove – alone. We were both equally nervous. There are so many unknown variables in driving and they depend on the ability to react. He called me about 20 mins into the trip, the adrenaline rushing through my ears kept me from hearing him clearly the first time. He got a flat tire on the trailer and stopped to get it fixed. Whew.

He did say it freaked him out a bit at first, unable to discern what exactly was happening. However, he handled it and that is really all that matters…

“How do you think you are doing?”

I’ve asked Chris this twice and the answers I got were very different and unexpected. At first he felt he was 90%. I was surprised, we were still in the hospital and I didn’t see him operating at what I would call 90%.

A few weeks later when I could see him doing so much better he felt he was at 70%. I questioned him on this…he said what he measured against was different.

The first time he was measuring against how bad it could’ve been…

We were still in the hospital and engaging with others on the unit who had a stroke also. Even the staff joked with him that he did not belong there, “look at that guy pretending to be a patient.”
The second time he was measuring against how good he used to be…
Being on the job and holding himself up to his pre-stroke standard made him question and re-evaluate; finding himself falling short of expectations that he had no business having.
This is so poignant in life, not just recovery, right?
That what we measure ourselves against can give us different perceptions of ourselves. Often we measure ourselves against our goals. Which is really setting us up for failure, right? Because we are measuring how far we fall short of those goals. If we measure ourselves against our starting point we would be measuring our progress!
These are little mind games our ego plays with us to tell ourselves a story. If we want to be the victim of our story we will measure our weakness, deficits and shortcomings. If we want to be the victor of our story we will measure our strength, accomplishments and achievements! That’s it. There’s no other secret to anything! Its all in your perspective. There is no ‘truth’. No ONE-way to look at it. The thing is just a thing until you assign it a value, so why not color it bright?
It’s a little like “are you a glass half full or half empty kind of person?” I’ve had a hard time answering that question, because for me it depends on what stage of life the glass was in. If it had been full and I drank half, the glass is now half empty. If it had been empty and I filled it half way, then the glass is now half full.
The journey of life is about marking our progress, our evolution, our ascension. Its not about marking our decline. (Remember progress is not linear!) When we look at ourselves it’s imperative that we look with the eyes that will show us the picture that will inspire us, not defeat us.
How do YOU think you are doing?

Stroke Day 32 – Self-Care for the Caregiver

February 20, 2017, Monday

I firmly believe that what happens to us is not important, but rather who we become through those experiences that does.

Today, I’m talking about caregiving, specifically.

When one has a stroke they themselves change in an instant. What was familiar yesterday no longer exists today. You’ve changed at your very core, but nothing else has and now that leaves you feeling afraid and disconcerted. You have no choice, you have to find a new way to live.

For the caregiver it is inside out. You haven’t changed, but everything around you has. What once was familiar and comfortable is now strange and disconcerting. You have no choice you have to find a new way to live.

Initially, your focus is solely on your survivor, as it should be. However, if you don’t take care of yourself you cannot take care of your survivor. In my work with clients, one of the things I include is the ‘airline philosophy’. When the oxygen masks drop you HAVE to put it on yourself first. If you pass out you can’t help your children, or your parents or anyone else.

So, if you are reading this today, I’m taking it that you need some YOU time!

Make sure you take time whatever it may be, to tend to something of yourself. Actually, you need to do something for yourself everyday. Every day. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does need to be daily. Now on a weekly, monthly or even yearly basis you need to do bigger things.

Suggestions:

  • hot bath
  • mani/pedi
  • girl’s/boy’s night out
  • walk in the woods
  • exercise
  • art gallery/museum
  • sit by a lake
  • play with puppies
  • snuggle a baby
  • meditate
  • journal
  • yoga
  • art
  • writing poetry

At this point I’ve let my own self-care go far too long. Have you?