My 6 year anniversary came and went a couple of weeks ago. Was a bit low for a while as I really thought I would be much further on by now. As it is I still have nothing in my left hand.left leg is weak and often stiff so walking isn’t getting much better.
Ok sorry for piling on the negatives. I just wanted to share some of the daily struggle which anniversaries often bring to mind.
Various achievements have often been marred by setbacks:
I got back to work after about 18 months but was still very damaged. It didn’t work out, and I lost my job under very unpleasant circumstances just 3 years after the stroke.
I don’t miss it or my employer. They didn’t like or want me and I’m glad to be away from them.
I got approved for driving after the second year, and had a few successful trips out, and got to use my car which had been sitting idle on the street for all that time. Unfortunately I had what I thought was a minor scrape with a roadside fence when taking a left turn too tightly, but the insurance company refused to repair it and insisted that it should be written off.
I was devastated but got a decent payment for it. I have no desire now to return to driving. The whole business of acquiring and looking after a car is just too overwhelming to consider. I could get one through motability but I am not going to.
Walking was improving steadily but lock down isolation led to a serious loss of strength. I was not opposed to lock downs, in fact very much in favour as I was quite scared of infection.
While I lost a lot of physical function and am now significantly disabled, I was fortunate to have not been much affected cognitively. I can read to my hearts content and can enjoy a movie. Struggled a bit with both in the first year but I am flying now, and read pretty much a book a week. Can get through a good one in a day if it grabs me.
I have had amazing support from health professionals. My occupational and physical therapists have been outstanding. I no longer have sessions with them, but they left me with plenty to get on with.
The losses were more than just physical. I lost my role as a provider for my family and lots of other little things too numerous to mention. There is also the loss of a future. Sounds odd perhaps, but becoming disabled meant there were things i used to imagine myself doing or being which are not now possible
I read a lot about neuroplasticity and I still have hope that something will change, but I don’t expect a return to anything like pre stroke, it is increasingly hard to remember what that was anyway.
So the big deal now is acceptance, and in this respect I am taking the big step of getting a powered wheelchair. Recovering walking to a sufficient degree to get about properly is too remote, so I need another solution. I have a manual wheelchair which I use a lot, but while my family have been wonderful my grown up children are on the cusp of moving on, as they should and my wife is recovering from a broken shoulder so I have to find other answers.
I still get fatigue, not nearly as much as I used to. The stress of the demise of the job was the biggest trigger for that. Thankfully that’s all gone now.
So that’s a bit of my life. Not a heroic recovery story, but I’m still here though. I am hoping my new mobility appliance when it comes will help to expand the horizons of my world. Looking forward to it.
Year 7 is just beginning
If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading.
Best wishes to you all