Monday, March 28, 2011

Small Victories!

I usually get like 3 bills AT LEAST a week from NYU or whoever with kind yet cutting words about payment so I often leave them alone for a week and don't open them until I feel it's necessary.  Impending bankruptcy is not something I like to welcome with open arms.

So this morning, right before work, I figured I would see what I was being taken for and to my great surprise, I didn't get a bill. I got an actual REFUND! It seems that my insurance covered my MRIs and MRAs and I got serious $$$ from the good old health insurance people.  I'm so ridic happy!

Pleasant news for a Monday :)  Hope everyone is having a healthy Monday!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Addicted to Video Games

I have a HUGE problem playing video games...the problem is, I can't stop. Seriously, I once played The Sims for 6 hours straight and everytime I closed my eyes, I saw little itty bitty avatars moving about. It was scary and annoying at the same time. With that said, I love me some games, don't get me started on my Mario or Zelda addiction...

A couple of years ago, I bought Brain Age for my Nintendo DS.  For those of you who don't know, Brain Age is a game designed to sharpen your noodle and improve your...brain's age. I was discussing this with my coworker yesterday and she told me that a doctor actually prescribed one of his stroke patients, Brain Age!  That is AWESOME.  When you look at it, you'd be saving a ton of money on therapy by playing brain teasers that cost you a one time fee of $49.99.

See, your parents were wrong, video games ARE good for you. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Hate Waiting

Patience is a virtue.
I'm not really feeling that right now.
I want my blood protein results NOW.
...Why does that sound kind of dirty?
But I do.
Why does this take so long when we seem to be in the day and age of the quickness with medical stuffies?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

H.O.P.E. For Stroke is such a beautiful, inspiring website filled with stories of survivors and support.


I was brought to tears reading all they went through.  If you are a caregiver, definitely go on this site.  You'll meet people just like you.  I know I am always talking about stroke victims.  I have to shout out the caregivers.  Your job is FAR FROM EASY.  Anyone who can have a smile on their face 24 hours a day while taking on the difficult task of taking care of someone else and not complain, not say a negative word should be immediately streamed towards sainthood.  You are the people responsible for making us feel better.  It takes a special person to do this.  Words can't express how much I respect you.

There are also touching poems and videos on hopeforstroke.  I'll close with a wonderful poem written by Linda Murray who suffered a stroke in 2009. 

Pocket of Rainbows
My pocket is filled with rainbows,
blue purple, and pink
pouring out on the grass
where people walk in their bare feet.
A storm is coming.
It turns the sky black,
reminding me of my stroke
so I reach to a cloud,
pull soft white paper down to cover me,
and push the stroke away.

Vacation Stroke Joke

Don't come to the drinks truck if you don't want an alcoholic drink...

Only being able to have 3 or 4 drinks on Carnival Monday was a challenge! I had to space everything out which caused me to run into some problems on the road!

ELJON: Hi, can I have a pineapple juice and soda?
ELJON: And ice?
ELJON: Uh, a million dollars?

Trucktender shakes head.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Keep Your Brain Sharp!

Wiggle Your Peepers!
*Can't remember where you stashed your glasses? Try looking from side to side. Rapid horizontal eye movements causes the brain's two hemispheres to interact with each other more efficiently, explains memory researcher Andrew Parker, PhD. In moments of temporary amnesia, that action may help you pull up information.

*Taken from

Tattoo Me!

This Saturday was a big day for me. With all the doctors appointments out of the way and my six month mark of the stroke coming up, I wanted to get something to commemorate my experience. I've wanted to get a tattoo of the stroke ribbon for awhile now so a couple of weeks ago, I went to "East Side Ink" for a consultation with this dude, Needles and made an appointment. 

I was strangely calm walking into the tattoo parlor. I had slight bouts of excitement but for the most part was ok and not nervous.  In fact, I feel nervous just talking about it.  Talk about delayed response time, Eljon!
I decided to get "walk by faith" tattoo'd right next to the ribbon.  I had to keep telling myself to have faith that I would get better.  Health would improve.  I would forget this sometimes.  Like anyone, I got down every once in awhile but again, being reminded by friends and family that time heals made it better.  Inktime only took about 45 minutes. I'm still getting used to it being there!  It itches!  I'm really happy :) 

*The red on the paper towel is ink, not blood!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Last Doctor's Appt In Awhile?

Today I went to my Hematologist to run some more tests.  Now that I have been off the Warfarin aka Coumadin, my doc wants to test me for a particular protein in my blood that would make me prone to clots.  I'm hoping that this is not something that comes up because that could mean that I would have to go back on the drugs...and we all know how much I HATE blood thinners.

It also means that if and when I do decide to have a family, that I would have to take shots of Heparin every day for the entire pregnancy. This just makes me want to say surrogate now.  I like to think of myself as someone who can deal with pain easily but I'm sorry I don't care what you say, giving yourself shots is HARD.  Mad props to the diabetics and people who have to do this everyday.  You are far braver than me!  I won't find out for a couple of days if I have the protein so let's all send the good thoughts my way that I don't have that pesky protein present in my blood.

They took tubes and tubes of blood from me today.  Seeing as how this could possibly be my last visit to the Hematologist, I thought I would take a picture as the final blood draw was taken and was looked upon in disbelief and smiles as I photographed what you see there. There was a young lady next to me getting blood drawn as well. I wanted to ask what she was in for but I figured that would be innapropriate but it's not everyday that you see another young person in a Hematologist's office.  I am usually surrounded by 60-90 year olds asking me if I want a "sucking candy".

After the blood draw, I was taken to the doctor's examination room where I got bored and slightly nervous so I started to grafitti the paper on the examining table.  I don't think this is an offense in any part of the world.  Who draws on examining tables?  I didn't know what to write and didn't want it to go through to the leather so all I could think of was the below.  When all is said and done, stories of young stroke victimes shouldn't go unnoticed and shouldn't be forgotten.  It's history, my history, medical history.  My story.  And I hope it helps others.  So all I could write was that I was here.  I conquered this.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Power To End Stroke

According to
  • African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever strokes compared to Caucasians.
  • African Americans have higher death rates for stroke compared to Caucasians.
  • The prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans in the United States is the highest in the world.
Stay healthy, eat right, know the risks!
Minutes matter when dealing with strokes.  A minute saved are brain cells saved.

New Sign of Stroke! -The Tongue

A good friend of mine forwarded an email to me regarding the new sign of having a stroke, the tongue. 

If a person is experiencing symptoms, ask them to stick their tongue out.  If the tongue is crooked, call the doctor.  With me, things tasted funny and my tongue felt numb. I think that is also a sign.  Hopefully people will pass along this information.  Remember, you never know who you can save.  Knowledge is power.

Be well!

Vacation Stroke Joke

Couldn't have been happier seeing so many feathers.

Sweaty drunk bald man comes to dance with me.  I politely wine on him for a minute.  I am now new to the game since I haven't danced in months and have had to re-teach myself how to pelt waist.

SDBM: You only know one move or what?
ELJON: (turns around) I just learned this move! (tosses drink in his face and skips away)

Dude, you better pray I don't find a pic of you on FB because I'll put it on here haha.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Second Night

The stroke didn't harm your face so I can squish it.

I have to admit, I was tired going to this second party.  After having to rest for a minute, I was a little concerned about having to sit down and rest for longer.  Luckily I didn't have to. I slept A LOT earlier in the day.  Many folks at this party were drinking Red Bull mixed with alcohol.  A friend of mine informed me before I left that Red Bull and liquor causes strokes so be warned. I guess it makes your heart rate speed up.  I forgot this on Carnival Monday and definitely had a little drink with this mixed in.  I was subsequently scolded by someone and made to dump it out in front of him.  But yes, really, no one mix the Bull with the liquor, bad bad bad.

I saw plenty people dutty wining and doing some serious dance moves with their heads at this party.  I cringed each and every time I saw this because as I said before, this is a cause of strokes.  You might think you're looking level sexy for homie who's watching in the corner but trust and believe you don't want to end up in the hospital having to shoot some Lovenox in your stomach.

The First Night

Glowing lights make fingers dance magically in the moonlight.

I touched down in Trinidad at about 5:00pm and got to my cousin's house with enough time to take a quick nap, settle and say some quick prayers to see if I could really pull off going to a party from 12:00am-6:00am.  I had a quiet moment while getting ready. I kind of felt like a boxer in the locker room getting amped up before a big fight.  You can do this, you got this!

Things were going great until about 3:00am when I started to get slightly weak.  I sat down in the corner by a bar tent and stayed there for half an hour.  I wasn't upset, I mean ok, maybe a little frustrated that I was a bit tired but everything for a reason, right? Because I had to sit down, I was able to take things in, the crowd, the music, everything for a short time without anyone else and that was beautiful. 

The crowd started to jump up and down when a performer came on the stage and caused a frenzy so I stepped to the side literally protecting my neck laughing at how ridiculous I must have looked. But again, small victories, I was able to stay up until the wee wee hours of the morning for my first Carnival party.

Yay, me.

I'm Back!

I'm back, I survived, I'm not hurt, I did it!

Trinidad Carnival was great and as you can see from the pic, I was all smiles :) the entire time. I did have some challenges when I first arrived ie having to say no to some after parties so I could rest but I'm glad I was cautious!

I tried to sleep through J'ouvert. For those of you who don't know what that is, well, to keep it short, it starts at about 4:00am and continues to like 9:00am. You get blasted with paint, oil, chocolate (yeah I know) and come home, shower and then go to the parade route for rehearsal wining.  I passed out at around 10:30pm and was woken up by the entire apartment shaking from the bass coming from the music truck.  It seems that the J'ouvert route passes right by my cousin's house.  I couldn't help but laugh.  Here I was trying to rest and be a good girl and I had to stay up anyway because of the noise.  I dosed off after a little but was again woken up by a drunk man singing quite badly outside the door or window.  I ran up and down the stairs making sure all doors and windows were locked. That is the NY in me. So when my cousins got back from playing J'ouvert and saw me looking quite exhausted, they were pretty confused!

The parties were great.  I did have some slight hesitation with some people and recognizing them. If you're reading, as I told you before, I'm still a little slow with it.  I remember you, my brain was just making local stops!  I couldn't drink like crazy since I'm taking the baby aspirin...don't want to get stomach ulcers, and the great thing was that I now remember everything...EVERYTHING. That's a blessing :) So many people came up to me and asked how I was.  I got lots of hugs and well wishes and for that and for all of you, seriously, thank you :) I felt very loved.

On the last night of my stay, while in the back of a truck riding home, my cousin told me that now that everything was over, he could tell me that he was scared sh*tless that I was coming to Trinidad.  He didn't let it be known until then becasue he knew it would freak me out. I think he was quite relieved that I was leaving the next day so I wouldn't be in danger of whatever. 

I'd be lying if I wasn't the slightest bit scared. I was. Dancing and standing up for 5-8 hours a night can be a strain on anyone and for someone who is recovering...well, it's a bit risky, but I made it.  I feel stronger for it :)

Now, I am sitting here at my cubicle, peeling and falling asleep thinking about my trip and happy that  I took the plunge and went.  My entire body aches but it was worth it, the caution, the anxiety, the fun, the whole thing.  I'm back!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's Here!

I'm finally going on my trip tomorrow and everyone is nervous except me.  I think I'm the only one who is psyched out!  Everyone is nervous that something is going to happen to me and them being nervous is making me a little nervous.

IF something happens in Trinidad, I won't really be near a hospital who will be able to deal with me.  I joked to my cousin "Just bring me back to die". I know I know that sounds horrible but I'm going to be fine.  I want to live...a little. No overdoing it none of that. Besides, I know I will have about 20 pairs of eyes on me making sure no one bumps me or touches me making sure I don't dance or drink too much.

I know they mean well and I love them even more for it...but I gotta have a little fun! :)

Will make sure and post pictures when I get back! Yay able to fly. Small victories :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Beautiful Thing About Forgetting

Paraphrasing the words of Jill Bolte Taylor, you feel like you've "lost 30 years of emotional baggage".
What a small victory :)

Thank you to my good good friend who sent this video to me. How amazing this scientist is....
She discusses her stroke. Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke Of Insight