I had the most amazing Halloween costume! I thought I had this clever idea for a chef, but my husband had a much better idea & in a couple of hours, he created the stuff to make me a Hibachi chef–complete with the fire-exploding onion volcano!
My firstborn was recently married in the Sacramento, CA temple. (Yes, I am that old…) I have never seen someone so happy! As he danced with his new wife, my dear friend, Kathy, leaned over & asked me, “Aren’t u glad u are here?” I was grateful for her question, as my eyes filled with tears & my mind was flooded with a memory:
Shortly after my stroke (& while I was severely depressed & wanting to die), I remember Mark taking me out to watch our kids ride their bikes—as the 2 oldest kids had just been taught by Grandpa Lynn how to ride their bikes with no training wheels. As we watched them, Mark leaning forward & saying, “Aren’t u glad u are still alive to see this, & can be there for all of their milestones, like their wedding?”
So, a shout-out to my son, Zach, & his new wife, Maddie! I am happy I got to witness (2 meanings!) the event! Love u both!
At their wedding, a highlight for me was getting to stand & “dance” with my husband! At the end of the dance, we were able to share some advice with the new couple, but I’d like to do mine now…so, here’s a bit of advice for the newlyweds:
If u get upset with each other, serve willingly! I have always joked about how the stroke has saved my marriage, but I really think it has! Serving someone who has ticked u off is such a good way to be filled with Christ’s love, & soften your heart: I have seen my girls be sooo mad at me, & then as they are in the process of helping me, I witness their heart softening towards me, & by the time they finish, they apologize! & 9 times out of 10, I am the one who ticks Mark off (good thing I had the stroke, cuz there’s lots of service he can do for me-HaHa), & while it takes a lot of humility on my part to ask for help, he has never denied helping me… he may be reluctant at times, but he surprises me by always being willing!
& his willingness is the key because the marriage rates for brainstem stroke survivors are not good, despite the fact that they are serving their partner who had a stroke. Being willing shows love, not “servitude.”
Also a shout out to Kathy, who I had never met, but she bravely came to my son’s wedding! After my stroke, my family searched the web for any info they could find on brainstem strokes. There was little info to be found, but they found Kathy, who had had a brainstem stroke, & provided me with hope that I had a possibility to do better in this life, as she was walking, talking, & driving a car!
One last shout-out to my daughter, Jessie (aka “Hermana Lynn”) who was at the wedding in spirit, as she was physically in Iowa representing The Church Of Jesus Christ, & serving the Lord. Hats off to her for putting God 1st in her life!
Back around 2006 or 2007 (before I could talk), I started using a phone. We had caller ID, so I only answered when my husband or kids called, cuz they knew “the system”: 1 beep on any button meant “hi, this is mom.” Then the “fun” began (I’m being sarcastic, if u can’t tell)—whoever called played 20 questions with me (usually, the 1st question was to see if someone was there who could read my ASL, & I would answer them with 1 beep for yes, 2 beeps for no).
Then, I got a cell phone in 2016. This seemed silly, since I couldn’t use a phone yet, really…the phone was more to hold on to my son’s phone #, during his mission (which I “stole” because I’d been texting from it those 2 years, so my son was nice & let me keep my texting #.)
Last year (2018) my son called me & asked me to return his call…& when I went to return his call, I had like a 15 minute panic attack before calling him back—“what if he didn’t understand me & I was all alone, & there was no one to translate me?” It had been 15 years since I held a conversation on a phone….I was kinda’ out of practice…”what do I say/ask to keep a conversation going?” “Was this a good time for him?”
I told my music therapist about this experience, & she encouraged me to start having more phone conversations with more open-ended questions, & to also have people call me. I started small with just immediate family & 1 friend, until I got the nerve to post about it (but to those kind friends who responded & said to call, I STILL haven’t had the nerve to call them!) However, my sister & I set up a weekly time to talk. I still can be hesitant to call her if I don’t think my speech is good that day, but now it’s not my “usual” anxiety as much as it is just knowing how much energy I need to have to speak,& if talking is hard that day, it takes lots of energy to speak!
Monday, my missionary (daughter) called me—& for the 1st time ever, I wasn’t even phased when I heard my phone ring, I just answered it, not even caring that I was alone! She seemed to understand me just fine, & I enjoyed our talk! I felt like Supergirl when we were done because I had conquered a demon! I am sure it has helped to talk to my sister (thanks Missy!), because I’m ok if my family calls now…someday I’ll get to where I feel comfortable answering any call(instead of getting nervous & hanging up on telemarketers! Ha! Ha!)
I haven’t posted in a while, though I meant to last June (found this post):
Today (6/18),I was using my grabber to pick up trash that didn’t quite make the trash can, & when the trash can lid opened, the trash was flung to the other side, & onto the floor. Instead of sighing, or giving up, I laughed about it. My niece (who has been staying with us) saw the whole thing & commented about how “u know it’s a good day when u can laugh at stuff like that!” & ya’ know what? She’s right! There are days I can’t even gather the strength to go get my grabber, let alone take 3 tries to throw away TRASH, & remain in a good mood!
Anyway, been a busy summer: my son got engaged (I get another daughter, Maddie, on Oct. 19th!, & we all love her so much—she just “fits”), we finished building a home in Utah with my in-laws (WE ARE NOT MOVING! My in-laws & my son live there for now, until Maddie joins the family & they will live in a “basement apartment”…but upstairs, there is a room for me in the house, so we can visit longer), & took (what my niece called) a vacation in a vacation: flew to London (I swear it is the most accessible place in the world!), then flew to Spain, where we boarded a cruise ship for a Mediterranean cruise, visiting another port in Spain, France, & Italy. Then we flew to Denmark. After visiting all those awesome places, is it wrong that the highlight of my trip was seeing people (who weren’t disabled, & probably just wanted to be alone to poop!) thrown out of the disability restrooms?!? I love Europe!
In our church, the members take turns speaking, & last Sunday I gave a talk in church: https://app.box.com/s/tu1mw6ktoulqwbnhhnk3v4nf9e0k01oy
I intended to introduce myself & my daughter vocally—I could do it at home, & I got up to the pulpit & raised my chair to standing, but I was too anxious, & ended up signing the intro & my testimony—though I did end it vocally…(thanks to the fact that I pray with my family vocally, & talks are ended the same way as prayers, so apparently repetition helps me, too, not just when u teach kids!)
I started horse therapy again this week! I am so happy! Horse therapy heals me emotionally & physically, which is awesome! Attending horse therapy is 1 of the bright spots in my week (the others are seeing/hearing from my missionary, Jessie, on Mondays, & attending church Sundays) One of the things I miss the most is that pain u feel that tells u that u are getting stronger. But that is why I love horse therapy so much—cuz sometimes I can feel it working! (& Growing can hurt, so u might as well enjoy it!) This (I think) is my 6th year. I used to be wiped out all day after a session…but my endurance is getting better, so while I could feel my muscles “waking up” (so awesome!), I wasn’t wiped out this year. Yea, me!
Since my husband wrote the 1st year on my blog, u mostly hear about the physical changes…occasionally he addresses the emotional, but u don’t really see even a portion of what it was like emotionally!
The 1st year devastated me! I had many talents, with a bright, promising future & many hopes & dreams–& all were crushed in a few hours! I could no longer do anything I used to do, & I was baffled at why this happened to me…I was a good girl, who had never smoked, drank, or done drugs. Why me?
The year that followed was the HARDEST year, & I don’t know if I would’ve done as well as I did it w/o my husband reminding me of my faith! When I started to doubt what I believed, my husband pulled me through & helped me rebuild my Faith in God. That is what makes me strong. Christ will make our weaknesses strong. So, my 1st bit of advice: check out http://www.comeuntochrist.org. I am serious. The Book of Mormon helped me enormously! It might give u hope, strength, & new dreams too. Can’t hurt to see if it does!
At times I felt very alone, but I soon learned that God has never left me, & actually is either “carrying me” (like the poem “Footprints in the Sand”), or is making me stronger so I can face things. I know God loves me & I believe that I was prepared to deal with the things that I would face, so I could become the person INSIDE that God wants me to be…& I believe u were prepared for things too! He loved us enough to give this life to us…It’s hard, but u can do it…or God wouldn’t have given u those things to deal with!
2. I’m a big journal writer, & as so happy when I could type entries again in my journal. One of my 1st entries was a list of all the reasons I wanted to die. My husband is a therapist, & I thought he’d show me some sympathy…so it came as no shock when he challenged me to list my blessings instead! “Yeah, right,” I thought sarcastically…”What blessings???”
Several years went by. It took a case of head lice to get me started: I was the only member of my family to not get lice, since I didn’t share chairs with my family! When I started listing the blessings from my stroke, I listed things that seemed silly or things I had heard my husband say over the years. Then came the “hard stuff”: take, for instance, my medical condition called PBA–how was it a blessing to not have control over my emotions? But somehow I found a reason, & whenever I get frustrated w/my PBA, I think of that reason, & I am able to deal with things better.
So, my 2nd bit of advice: Write down your list of blessings! Here’s how: Think of something you hate. Then find a reason it’s good. Not what you think a parent or God wants to hear, but what YOU really think. You don’t have to give anyone your list–it’s private, & for you. If u choose to share it, you can, but it’s up to you when you do share it, & with whom you share it. But do make the list, & actually write the list.
Don’t just think about it…Actually WRITE it down! Thinking is a start, but writing it down firms it up in your mind. Just thinking it won’t do a thing! Trust me-I know! For years, I just thought about them, but a change occurred when I WROTE THEM DOWN! One of the greatest ways I have, & continue, to deal with things is by writing down my list of blessings. I’ve found writing helps me ponder, soften my heart, & open my mind & heart so I can hear the spirit. It took me years to write my list, & I wish I’d done it sooner because it changed my perspective on what I faced. Don’t put it off like I did.
3. My 3rd bit of advice: never ever think “I wish…” or “I can’t …” or ask, “Why me?” Don’t dwell on what u have lost, or what was taken away! Instead, see what u CAN do, & what u are learning to do. Move forward. It sucks that it happened…Now go make the best of it!
All your memories are all there, & it may hurt u to think about them. It hurts if u think, “I used to…” So, find a new way to do what u loved…For example, I was a big dancer. At 1st, I thought that part of my life was over, as I can’t walk or use my left arm…but I have found ways I can “dance”, & I often attend a Father/Daughter Dance at my church, where I twirl, use my right arm, & lean my chair back in order to limbo! Yes, if I think of how I “used to” dance, I would get very depressed, but instead I think of the present & future.
Another example: I also was an All State singer. It was VERY hard on me for years to hear how I now sound as I “sing”. I am still shy, but have adjusted: I started out signing songs in “jenny-ese” (my own sign language) as I got used to my new sound, & practiced matching pitches. My singing has improved over the years, but I definitely am not the singer I was before! Still, I give myself a pat on the back! & everytime u complete a small goal, & u should give yourself one, too!