Recovery

Five Loaves and Two Fishes

I faintly recall hearing this talk years ago (Five Loaves and Two Fishes by James E. Faust), & enjoyed hearing it again!   (https://www.lds.org/study/general-conference/1994/04/five-loaves-and-two-fishes?l=)
At the risk of sounding prideful, after listening to this talk, I felt like this talk (in a way) described me currently.  Let me explain: I know I was very troubled after my stroke, feeling like I had previously been blessed with all these talents that were “taken away” by my stroke…& I wondered, “had I not used them properly, so they had to be taken away?”
However, despite these troubling thoughts, I also came to know that this was a trial that I needed in order to fulfill the mission that I was sent here to do, & as time has gone by, I have seen how those talents (that were there pre-stroke), have oddly been helpful in many ways now (by building certain muscles, increased knowledge in ways that would later benefit me, & by building brain pathways that would allow me to regain certain abilities  later).  These previous talents were not “lost”.  They have aided me in becoming who I am today.   I do not feel like any years (or money, dad!) were “wasted” by being a singer, dancer, actress, teacher, mother, reader, horse lover, or even a milk drinker (Ha! Ha!)  I have seen how every one of those things has helped me in my stroke recovery today.  & even though I don’t have much to give now, I continue to have opportunities & people placed in my life so that the Lord has been able to make a lot more out of my life than I could ever do alone.

It’s been 15 years!

15 years ago on the 16th of March, I had a stroke. Over the last few months, I have been thinking about how many people (immediate & extended family, & friends) as well as other things that I have gained back & I have started to take for granted: For ex., I have an incredibly supportive husband who has stayed by my side through physical & mental health issues, & helped to raise 3incredible children…& despite all the hardships, he is still here!  & I can recall how thrilled I was when I got a Kleenex out of its package on my own the 1st time.  Or how excited I was when I put a CD into the CD drive of my computer. Recently my oldest daughter had knee surgery & was thrilled when she was able to finally moved her leg, & I was reminded of all of my 1st movements & how thrilling it was to regain each one!

A while ago, I got this text from my daughter (who is recovering from knee surgery): “Both my friend and I are on crutches and we got front row seats to the game even when we were late”. I am sure that was very frustrating to all the “normal” people. But with all the daily hardships of disabled life, it is nice for us to find a few pleasures in life.  Those few perks can really help on a bad day.

So, in honor of all that has occurred in the last 15 years, I’d like to return the favor. I have been blessed in countless ways since then, & 5 years ago, I found Red Arena, where I do horse therapy.  When I began, I was like a rag doll who couldn’t talk.  Doing equine (horse) therapy at Red Arena has been an incredible blessing in my life by strengthening my core, giving me increased independence, helping me regain a lot of my speech, & even reducing some anxiety. Red Arena is currently trying to gather the funds to build a covered arena (which would be awesome, cuz then I could go on rainy days).  In honor of my 15th stroke-aversary, I’d like to help them out by gathering donations.  If u’d like to help, go to  http://www.redarena.org/  … Once u click any yellow donate button u get a menu and one is of “donate in honor of someone” and u can put my name there.

Just checking in…

It has been a while. If u saw my posts on Facebook or Instagram, u know some of what is going on:

–my son, Zach, came home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ, serving the people in San Diego, CA in ASL (sign language).

–My daughter, Jessie also graduated from high school

–we had a party for my son & daughter to welcome Zach home, & congratulate Jess

–we went on an Alaskan cruise

–both my son & daughter went to BYU a few weeks ago, & on the way, they were rear-ended (they are ok, & were protected)

–my 18 yr. old daughter became the Relief Society president over the other college-age girls in her BYU ward (congregation)

–I got a new wheelchair that can use to either sit or to stand.   (I am like a transformer, & if I have my knee brace & chest strap on, I can “transform” from a sitting car, into a  robot…& when I do turn into a “robot”, I turn into a robot that is much taller than my “human form”!  (My “human form is 5 feet, 3,5 inches, while my “robot form” is like 6 feet tall—it’s pretty awesome!). 🙂

 

The week after I got my new chair was crazy trying to NOT sit!  (After 14 years of sitting, standing is a bit more appealing!)  However, in the last 14 years, I have created a world for myself where I sit, so I was very limited to what I could do standing...BUT if I’ve learned anything in 14 years, chances are high that I will need to make a sacrifice in order to gain something greater. So, despite limited things to do, I spent more time doing other things:  when I stand, I lose my belly (that I support my iPad on), & I lose my lap (which means I can’t use my iPad pillow, or carry/transport stuff, but talking I can do sitting or standing, so I  did a lot of standing & having conversations.—Oddly, it has actually become a challenge to sit & talk: Maybe a coincidence, but I think my diaphragm is less squished, so I get more air when I stand…However, I don’t think our dog, Cooper, likes my chair too much, also, since his lap is gone, & he’s always staring at me like he’s saying, “When’s it my turn?”  I now have a tray (I am standing as I type this!), but our dog HATES how he can rarely sit on me now!

 

More Than Meets The Eye!

I feel so smart!  I had dropped my keyboard, but I wasn’t strong enough to pick it up with my grabber, so, after several attempts, I leaned my keyboard the long way against my tire.  If u saw my posts on Facebook or Instagram, u know that on April 16) I got a new wheelchair that can stand.  But in order to stand, I wear a chest strap that prevents me from leaning forward.  But my backrest moves, so I leaned that forward, & I was able to pick up my own keyboard!  🙂

About my new wheelchair: Like 7 years ago, I looked into a standing wheelchair, but my old home used an elevator, & it was a bit too big.  However, it was a blessing in disguise.  Not only has the technology advanced & made it safer & capable of doing more, but additionally, I was not ready for it!  My core was way too weak, & it would have made the chair uncomfortable—so a big thanks to horse therapy, again!

Now, I am like a transformer, & if I have my knee brace & chest strap on, I can “transform” from a “sitting car”, into a “robot”!  & when I do, I turn into a “robot” that is much taller than my “human form”!  I will try to post a video!)

The last few weeks have been crazy trying to NOT sit!  (After 14 years of sitting, standing is a bit more appealing!)  In the last 14 years, I have created a world for myself where I sit, so at 1st, I was very limited to what I could do standing…But if I’ve learned anything in 14 years, chances are high that I will need to make a sacrifice in order to gain something greater. So I have spent more time doing other things.  Talking I can do sitting or standing, so I’ve done a lot of standing & having conversations—& it has actually become a challenge to sit & talk: (Maybe it is a coincidence, but I think my diaphragm is less “squished”, so I get more air…)

This means that when I stand, I lose my belly (that I support my iPad on), & I lose my lap (which means I can’t use my iPad pillow, or carry/transport stuff, & I don’t think our dog, Cooper, likes my chair too much, also, since his lap is gone: he’s always staring at me, like he’s saying, “When’s it my turn?”) , so at first, I made a make-shift “tray” for my iPad, but it was hard to type, so I spent more time deleting. I now have a tray (which is AWESOME because now I can do anything I want to do while standing—like typing this post!), though it is requiring a few adjustments from my OCD-world.  The biggest adjustment is by my dear husband, who has a myriad of straps & equipment to remove from me every time I need to potty!  🙂

My kids are adjusting, too…At 1st, it freaked them out to come home & find me standing in the room, or to walk down a hallway only to find me rolling down the hallway as I stood!  But my favorite was that one morning, while I was standing, I went to see if my daughter was up & knocked on her bedroom door.  She opened it & gasped: she was NOT expecting to see her mom STANDING outside her door!  J
I am so grateful to God who has provided me with the means to be blessed this way.  This chair has provided physical & emotional benefits (hugs are SO much better now!), & increased independence (in my personal activities, & it has also allowed me to do more therapy on my own.