I am ”equine therapy tired!”

Years ago, my daughter returned home from a track practice, just in time for a piano lesson, & informed us that she was “athletically tired”!   Well, after a week with no horse therapy, I am ”equine therapy tired!”  But, I don’t mind it, as this is one of the few things I do, where I can see myself improving, & where I do more to get my heart pumping!  It may be tiring, but it feels good!

I have always hated attending loud, busy paces, because all I hear is background noise (& since my feet are in front of me,  if we are at a table, I sit behind everyone…which only adds to the problem!)  It helped a bit when I got some stomach muscle, & could pull myself forward, but I couldn’t control how far forward I went, so I might hit my head on the table,  before I could awkwardly brace myself with my right arm!  However, we recently went on a cruise, & while at a noisy dinner, I leaned forward 45 degrees, & HELD IT THERE!

There is no doubt in my mind that that kind of abdominal muscle control is from horse (equine) therapy!

I did it!

I am so proud of myself!   When I finished dinner, no one was home.  Mark was just dropping off one of our girls, so normally, I would just push chairs in at the table, so our dog, Cooper, doesn’t get on the table & eat the leftovers,  before Mark can put them away…&, at 1st, I did just that.’’But I felt compelled to try & put it away…& I did it!  I put the food in a container in the fridge, just like a housewife!  So excited!U know, only my right arm & head move…that’s it!  It is amazing what one can still do, w/such limited movement!

It’s been 13 years!

Our family has taken a lot of trips lately.  Trips wear me out, plus I have always been a “homebody”, so, I chose to stay home when they left this week…& I’m so glad I did!

Thursday (today) marks (no pun intended) 13 years since my stroke. This week has been my 1st anxiety -free, & stress-free “vacation” in 13 years!  Until this week, I did not think it was possible for someone like me to have a “vacation”. (After all, I never get a break from myself…but those who care for me get a break from me!)  In “honor” of being home “alone”, thought I’d share my responses to these 2 questions:

How might your life be different if…

you had not married Mark?

Stroke or no stroke, I’d think I’d be divorced, & I doubt I’d be a member of the church, since when my testimony faltered (after my stroke), it was his testimony that bouyed me up, & his words that challenged my negative thinking.  If I somehow stayed as a member of the church (like if I hadn’t had a stroke), I doubt I’d be very active in my church…& since my faith is such a HUGE part of who I am,  so I’d be a VERY different person!

your kids hadn’t been born?

Assuming I still had my stroke at 30 years old, if I had chosen to work 1st, I question if my kids would have been born!  In addition, since I studied childhood development in college, I knew how critical the 1st 5 years are, so –even if the doctors had allowed me to have kids, I doubt I would have!  As it was, they were young: 6, 4, & 2 years old…& that was really tough on me having a 2 year old!

However, not having my kids would have been a great loss!  Each child has brought a unique spirit into our home–one that is missing when they are gone now, so it’d be missing if they were not born.  All the kids bring laughter, love, & music into our lives, each in their own way.  In addition, Zach brings a calm feeling & is a peacemaker.  We also currently are immeasurably blessed through his service as a missionary!  Jessie brings an excitement in the air, a zest for life, & a sense of security.  Sophie is very service-oriented, forgiving, & has a good heart (I have always been able to count on her to help me).

13 Years is a long time for my family to take care of me, & each day, I am grateful for their love, support, & service.

Keep going!

I have been re-reading my old journals, & recently, I read that we moved into our 1st home in Indy on March 16, 1996. To me, our life alone finally started that day.   Ironically, 8 years later, I had my stroke on that same day (March 16, 2004), & our life “began” again!  What is it with March 16? J  Hopefully, that day will no longer mark any kind of “new” beginning! (no pun intended!)

13 years ago, the doctors said that I’d never speak again w/o the aid of a machine, or computer–the doctors would see a hopeless case, so that is what they presented: a hopeless case.  I could have given up right there: I had a “get out of jail free card”, but there was NO WAY I was resorting to that kind of life!  I believe I have mentioned before, how there was NO WAY I’d spend my life talking through a machine, like the doctors said I would, & I was determined to prove them wrong!   I believe that my abilities now, reflect on the attitude I had: I had hope, & eventually I saw potential, so God has blessed me to “tap in” & find that potential that I hoped was there… For 10 years or more, I saw very slow progress, but I’m OCPD (OCD-personality), so if I am faced with a problem, I can’t stop until it’s fixed!  Ha!  Ha!  So, I kept pushing–I wouldn’t give up…& when I finally saw more results, I actually tried harder!  I eventually became confident enough to talk to strangers, & even bring up new topics & ask odd questions, THROUGH MY SPEECH!   I never thought I took for granted the ability to call to someone down the hall…but I get SOOOO excited now when I am in my craft room, & can call down to one of the girls in the kitchen, & they not only hear me, but  understand me, as well!!!  It is SO awesome!  I can appreciate it more, now…but, I could not appreciate it, if I had not ever experienced being w/o it!

However I know that now, while it is tempting to “take a break” & get lazy, I can’t, & must remain vigilant!  When I 1st had my stroke, my left arm seemed to have a little more movement back then , but I got lazy, & when my left arm was showing progress in my shoulder, what did I do?  I strapped it down & reverted to the bare minimum of therapy that I needed for it…

But if I give in & get lazy, I’ve learned that God ALWAYS finds a way to make something negative turn positive. (Though it’s better & easier if I don’t get lazy!)   In this case, the movement my left arm gained in my shoulder is still there, but weaker.  It’s up to me to get it back to where it was.  However, I’d never unstrap my arm!  It is essential to keeping me in my chair when I laugh/sneeze, it helps me to balance, & it offers me so much independence (like when I reach far down to grab something, I stay in my chair).  All the independence I am discovering couldn’t happen unless: a. both hands worked, or b. my hand was strapped down.  I could have tried for a (& with hard work, I like to think it’s still a possibility), but I got lazy, & chose b.  B wasn’t necessarily the best choice.  (When God gives u a break, the better choice is to work hard so u don’t let go!)  But if u “let go,” God will let u repent, & make the most of what is left.  I hope I don’t “get lazy” this time, & I look forward to what the next year brings, as I continue on this journey in my life.

Just bragging…

Just bragging…I increased my breakfast options today from yogurt, toast, & bananas: I made Qia (like oatmeal) all by myself today (using water, not milk!)  I love my new house that enables me to be more independent!  So proud of me!