February 19, 2015

It Is My 4yr Strokeversary

Strokeversary; how do you like my made up word?  I wasn't really sure what else to call the anniversary of my stroke and since I am Royal making up words seems like something within my realm.

Surprisingly this has been incredibly hard to write.  Not really sure why as I've written about it before but for some reason it feels different this time.  Maybe because I can't see much difference in the last year.  Possibly I just expect more than I should.  Regardless of the reasons finding the words to explain how I feel about where I am has taken me almost a week.
I tend to compare my recovery to others, a bad habit I know, and of course I fall short.  A gentleman who suffered a stroke before me that ended his teaching career now drives all over the state for choral activities. While I get exhausted after chaperoning our school's trip and usually wind up crashing for a day afterwards.  I still am unable to read much more than a long magazine article or a very short story without getting lost and befuddled. While I love my audio books I miss the activity of getting cozy in a chair with a good book.  
Knowing that your family is watching, waiting is a weight often unbearable.  When my headaches are occurring more frequent they ponder if I need to see the neurologist.  If a get a bit too foggy for a moment they're wondering if a visit to the doctor is in order.  Should I have too long a moment of aphasia or brain freeze they're considering heading off the the emergency room.  As much as these concerns come from a place of love I see them as burdens I have placed on their lives.  .  No child in high school should have to be " on watch" for a parent.  My memory difficulties has embarrassed my kids in public, which of course wounds me to my core.  They also shouldn't repeatedly be embarrassed at those moments when their mom can't get through a sentence without stumbling over their words.  Asking if I'm not too tired or sore before wanting to do a simple activity shouldn't be a part of their normal narrative.  Even the dog and how attentive she is has come a warning sign of how good/bad my day is
These burdens become my stones of guilt. These are stones of varying weight I carry because I see them carrying their own.  Each of my family handles it differently yet I see them juggling these aspects of our new "normal" . The kids are great at reassuring me that I'm not embarrassing them but I see it not only in the eyes of their friends but despite their attempts at hiding it theirs as well.  It makes me very angry that despite my best efforts we're not, yes we, all that better than we were 4 years ago.  Granted I am not using a walker, my speech is better and I don't choke on food.  Outwardly the signs point to my being "recovered" yet inwardly it is different.

Guess it is pretty evident that I'm a bit frustrated.  Part of the frustration is the realization that most probably this the best I am going to get.  Frustrated that I still can't do math in my head like I used to.  Frustrated that because this is where I'm at there are limitations that will always be present in my, rather our lives.
Yet I'm also aware how very fortunate I am.  My family is supportive.  My family rarely complains, at least not that I normally hear.  I'm incredibly fortunate that the dog we were never supposed to get is incredibly intuitive to my needs.  

I still consider myself a Stroke Survivor.  And of course royalty
Always remember to where your invisible crown
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