Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Holidays!

The last month of the year. Is it just me or has it flown by? It may be me getting older but I find that time passes by so much quicker now. It's like that moment when you're little and suddenly aware of yourself. Think about it, what is your earliest memory? When were you aware that you were in existence. Now we can all say well I remember 10 years ago, 20 years ago, but what about beyond that? Weird, right? How far back can you go? I'm going on a tangent, huh.

Anywho, I have a lot to be thankful for-my health, my family, my friends and my health (so nice I had to say it twice). What are you thankful for? What was the one thing this year that took you by surprise?

Hoping you all are warm and safe this holiday season and wishing you all peace, love and continued good health. Here's to 2014!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hello Shoulder Pain

Fall is a beautiful season. I love it for many reasons. The beautiful slight chill in the air lets you know that it is not quite winter, not quite summer but something delicious in between. The leaves drift from tree limbs and delicately fall to the floor in shades of color even Da Vinci himself couldn't mix. The sunsets even look brighter and more vivid.

Fall is great but Fall alerts me that Winter is coming. I have talked about the feeling my right side gets when it's cold. It feels like someone is pushing down on that part of me, forcing my arm and leg down, making it feel heavy, like a bag of cold, wet, sand. It hits me out of nowhere. The slight temperature change can sometimes make my right side feel like it's completely dead without warning and it SUCKS. Oftentimes I thought this would go away, that this was just a lingering feeling from treatment I got ie warfarin but it's not. It's going to be there for the rest of my life. I'm ok with it. Really I am. There are worse things I could be stuck with but I still beat myself up for that one decision that seems to have plagued me with this pain-I should have gotten physical therapy for myself when I had the chance...

Peeps say, well just get it now but the truth of the matter is that the damage is done. I can't go back. I still have time accepting that but what are you going to do? Should I just sit here and stew about it? NO. I accept the consequences of my actions and while that may be a hard pill to swallow, it's still something I have to put to rest. Many times we poison ourselves further thinking of the what ifs instead of focusing on what we do have, what the stroke didn't take from us. Maybe if we strengthen those parts, the other parts that are "under construction" won't seem as devastating to live without. We should embrace our newfound selves. Just because a leg or eye or arm may not work doesn't mean we don't have other things to be thankful for. We still have parts that work including the most important part to survive, the heart.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Warfarin Revisited

My Dad has been having some health problems as of late. As a reminder, he had a stroke and a heart attack at the same time in 2001. Recently he's complained of chest pain and now has to get angioplasty on Tuesday. I've been speaking to him about his condition and he told me he was put back on Warfarin. This made me so sad. Blood thinners are awful as you've heard me blog about time and time again. I know that this is necessary for what he is going through right now but I hate to see him go through this journey again.

I also asked him if his doctors spoke to him about what he can and cannot eat. How if injures himself, he should go to the hospital and I was shocked to hear that they told him NOTHING. It's incredibly frustrating that a hospital would let their patient go without giving them information and risks associated with this drug. WTF!? I am furious. Thank goodness he told me that is what he was being put on. I was able to share what knowledge I had. This is unacceptable. 

How are we expected to live a healthy life if we aren't given information?

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Mayo Clinic and Postpartum Stroke

Hi Fellow Strokies!

I got a piece of information from Narayan Kisson regarding the Mayo Clinic. They are researching postpartum stroke, which is a stroke that occurs within 6 weeks of giving birth. If you have suffered from a postpartum stroke, Mayo Clinic is conducting a study to better understand the condition and your participation would be helpful in determining optimal preventative or treatment strategies.

To participate in Mayo Clinic's postpartum stroke research study, learn about study participation here

Help prevent and treat someone! Knowledge is prevention!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I woke up with a migraine.
I went to work.
I ate a granny smith apple.
I felt sick.
I left the office.
Threw up in the trash can by the elevator.
Went home.
Threw on pajamas.
Curled into bed.
Slept until dinner time.
Had Chicken Milanese.
It tasted like metal.
Went back to sleep.
Hoped I would be well enough for Halloween.
My head hurt.
My head hurt.
My head hurt.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Roller Coasters No More

On Saturday I went to Great Adventure for Fright Fest. As you know, I LOVE Halloween. Ghouls and gremlins and zombies and all that. I pretty much felt like a 10 year old child when I arrived with my eyes wide and grinning from ear to ear with my heart jumping out of my chest at the thought of funnel cake and ice cream and fries and and and!!!

This was my first trip to GA since the stroke so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I used to be a roller coaster girl. I would be the first one in line for anything with a drop or a loop ready to scream my head off and smile for the camera right before the ride came to an end. This was my thing aaaand now it wasn't my thing. Whenever you walk up to these rides, there is a sign that tells you whether or not you should even attempt to get on, a list of warnings and whatnots. Aneurysms and high blood pressure was on there right next to pregnancy. I saw this in front of numerous rides and didn't think much of it until I thought it didn't apply to me. A few of us were on line to get on Nitro. I really thought I could do it. I even walked up to the front of the line and then, when I was in my seat, all strapped in, I panicked and ran off. I got the same terrified feeling from the ride as just sitting in the seat. People have had strokes from roller coasters and I knew this, but I still wanted to go on the coaster, I wanted to be the old me. As I watched everyone turn and twist and scream on what was supposed to be my ride, I felt sorry for myself but not for too long. Just because I can't ride Nitro, doesn't mean I'm any less of myself than I was before. It's just something I used to do. I've evolved :) Just go with me here, you guys!

We continued walking around the park and came to Skull Mountain. For those of you who don't know, Skull Mountain is the roller coaster for people who don't like roller coasters. It has a short little drop and NO loops, basically a warm up to the other coasters. This I could certainly do! Not only had I been on it 100 times but I knew the route and there were 9 year olds going on this ride. Never had you seen anyone with a bigger smile their face than me getting strapped into that ride. The wind blew in my face, I laughed when we dropped, I put my hands up, I got my fix.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Is It Weird?

Is it weird that I look at October with such glee? As a child looks at Christmas? This is my month, My rebirth. Take back what it took from you. Take it for what it's worth. Take back your stroke month.

I replay what happened in my mind. What I can remember at least. I try and replay every move I made this month. Everything that happened. Everything that could have changed my path. And then, about mid month, when the feeling of this had to happen sets in, I exhale, I breathe, I give thanks. This had to happen to me. I am happy it did. I am happy today! 3 YEARS A SURVIVOR! 3 years strong. I pledge this month to my Dad who survived a stroke 12 years ago, to little Ava, who hasn't yet reached 3 years old, to Stacy, who just had her first child, to David, who is recovering and finding his footing, to Heidi, who survived open heart surgery, to everyone who shared with me and continues to walk with me through this journey with stroked out hand and foot. I thank you.
You inspire me.
You are amazing.
You are a survivor.
Take back your month!

October, I Hate To Love You

I hate to love you,
Leaves that change,
Beautiful colors,
Stimulating to the senses
I thought I lost,
You are a reminder,
Of what was taken,
Of what I took back!
I love to hate you,
I remember,
What you want me
To forget,
I remember,
I can remember,
I won't forget.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Film Is Going To Be A Web Series!

In October of 2011, the first scene of a full length play I wrote after my stroke was made into a short film. Since then, it has success in over 20 film festivals and even winning awards in 2! It is a constant affirmation that I can achieve my dreams. F you stroke! I'm still winning! The end of October, beginning of November marks my 3 years a survivor anniversary! I can't think of a better way to celebrate good health, continued recovery and awareness than by filming this web series and continuing to live well because after all, everything I do is dedicated to the survivors out there. I am living proof that life doesn't end because you have had a stroke! We may be different post stroke but I like to look at us as being under construction. Nothing wrong with a little transformation after all the caterpillar had to turn into the butterfly so I try and look at my post stroke self as a transformation. I don't have a word for what it is that I've turned into yet but I'm working on it :) What other animals transform? We need to work on a name for us!

When I think about it, I probably wouldn't have been doing this had it not been for the stroke. I wouldn't have signed up for that Playwriting class. I wouldn't have pushed myself to write this post stroke. I wouldn't be in Grad School for Playwriting. I wouldn't be standing there in that picture with that glass trophy. This is another reason I am so thankful for this stroke. You never know what path your life will go on with a bump in the road and I am so happy with the bump. Granted, as you know, recovery was no walk in the park (haha true literally and figuratively) but I am stronger for it. 

I wanted to share the Crowd funding campaign I am taking part of to get this series off the ground. It is for the people, funded by the people! Please consider contributing if you can by donation and we love tweets. We have a Facebook fan page where you can keep up with all the happenings and our Twitter @docket32357 is pretty active. I am also on Twitter @misseljon

Check out our Seed and Spark campaign here We will be updating every couple of days with fun little sneak peeks to what we are working on. October can't come soon enough! 

This is for you dear strokies! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bigger and Better Stroke Detector

Hey, that rhymes!

The Reader's Digest recently posted in their current issue new and exciting medical breakthroughs, one of them being a better stroke detector. According to them, there is now a new test that may determine whether dizziness is being caused by a stroke or another condition preventing misdiagnosis's of as many as "100,000 strokes a year." Boy, I wish this was around when I had my stroke. Then time wouldn't have been wasted and it couldn't have been mistaken as a migraine.

How it works is that a patient wears goggles connected to a webcam and a laptop records video of eye movement as the patient looks at a target. If one is experiencing just dizziness, eyes wander off. If it's a stroke, well they stay focused. Imagine, a test that is better than an MRI or CT scan!

This is currently available at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Hopefully more hospitals will have this available soon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Brain Games

So this just goes to show you how long I have been blogging. In the almost 3 years (whoa) I've been posting, I've written about brain games for the Nintendo DS and iPod games such as Bejeweled and now I have to say it.......the new game I am endorsing for being good for your noggin is none other than friggin Candy Crush. I know!!!! Addictive, addictive addictive and I'm not just saying this because I need lives right now but this game is good for your brain! It requires thought to solve puzzles and come on, that music? Totally relaxing.

I sound crazy right now, don't I?

Yes, yes I do but even still, you can't deny it's good for your brain. Maybe not so much for your eyes (screen gleam) but that's another post for another blog :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Swim Ava Swim Fundraising!

Everyone remembers little Ava, the youngest little stroke survivor I posted about in May.

Her family is raising money for an Aquatic Therapy pool. Please help this beautiful little girl get the therapy she needs to move forward with her recovery. No donation is too small!  Swim Ava Swim!

If you would like to know more about Ava and her story, click on this FB page and like! Ava's Facebook Page

Has It Really Been So Long?

Has it really been so long since I've blogged? No excuse!!  How is everyone doing? I hope you have all been staying cool this summer. With record temperatures sweeping the U.S., it's so important that we all stay hydrated and healthy.  Have any strokies noticed changes in their speech with the weather change? Granted everyone is a little slower in the summer months, we walk slower, take time to smell the flowers and are just generally more relaxed but I don't know, I feel like my brain operates on dial up during this time of year.

I've also been thinking about brains after 40. (This is a very random post, I know.) Brains start to deteriorate after 40 or so. While this is normal, what does it mean for strokies who already have some brain damage. Who will I be once I turn 40? And after 40? This has weighed heavily on my mind (stroke joke) these past couple of days. Short term memory loss is normal at this age, so what about those of us who struggle with this already. Does that mean that we won't have it because we got smacked with it already or will it get worse? So far I've been reading that we can do brain boosting exercises which we should be doing anyway! In my research, I found this article from 2010 that still holds true today. Check it out The Talents Of A Middle-Aged Brain

and be well!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Annual Neuro Visit

Ok, so I've been bad. Like bad in the sense that I haven't been going to see my Neurologist every year for my annual checkup...I know I know don't shoot me! First of all, I wasn't aware that I had to roll up there every year. I asked my Primary Care and she said I didn't although I did have a lingering feeling that hey, maybe I should go and say hi, get checked out because you can never be too safe, right? But then again, this is my fault, I should know better especially since I've been saying to you guys to get checked out no matter what....bad Eljon.

But I did finally go. I love going to my Neurologist's office. She's amazing. I didn't expect to hear anything out of the ordinary during my visit but did ask about the lingering little side effects in my right arm and she did tell me that if my strength didn't return by now that it wouldn't return so...kind of sad small bummer. This means I'm not going to be able to have lucrative careers in such fields as...sports. I always wanted to be a baseball player and since I throw and bat righty, I can kiss that goodbye. Professional cheerleader will also be tossed out the window with this. No one wants a cheerleader who lifts one pom pom up faster than the other. DAMNIT!! I guess surgeon is out and so is anything else revolving speed and precision with my right hand.

I know I'm joking right now but it was a bit sad hearing that from her. I always thought that by some little miracle, my right side would come back 100% but hearing the words from her kind of stung. Again, it's ok, I know there are worse things that I could have been left with and I am so blessed and grateful to only have a slight lingering weakness in my right side...still, hibachi chef still would have been on the top of my list of things to aspire to be.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

National Stroke Month!

MAY is National Stroke Month!

Celebrate someone you love who has had a stroke. They are survivors!
Spread knowledge so you can know what to do if you are in a situation where someone is having a stroke.

MAY you feel wonderful this month and every month. You're a survivor!
MAY you be comfortable with your new self.
MAY you be well :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Help Ava Get A Therapy Pool!

A few weeks ago I posted a story about a beautiful 10 month old baby named Ava Pearl who suffered a stroke when she was 7 months old. 

According to Shana, Ava's Mom-During bath time, she relaxes and we're able to bend her limbs and work through her severe muscle tone. In the last week she's now been diagnosed with severe dystonia (basically full body spasms) as well as having epileptic activity on her last EEG.With our newest set back we can't stress her out so therapies must been done at home where she is most comfortable. In efforts to try and keep home and therapy separate we want to build Ava a therapy room at our house that contains a therapy pool for her. It doesn't qualify for insurance or any other financial support which is why we ask for your support whether it be financial, prayers, good wishes, anything to try and help Ava would be greatly appreciated. We still have a long road ahead and we are not sure how much she'll recover but this room and pool is something she can use for a lifetime. 

Please help in any way you can. Even $5 can make a difference! Do it for the upcoming stroke month (May)! Do it because this little girl deserves to feel better!  

Here is the link to Swim Ava Swim!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Guest Stroke Blogger: Meet Ava

This weekend I had the pleasure of getting an email from Ava's Mom, Shana. Little Ava has an amazing story. This brave, little fighter is just 10 months old. She suffered her stroke when she was just 7 months old. I wish her and her family the best on their road to recovery. Please read to learn about this beautiful little girl.
Little Ava before her stroke.
1 in 4000 infants have strokes. 

Ava Pearl was born June 1st 2012 at 1:45 am. She weighed in at 7 pounds and 22 inches long. She was a perfect baby! We went home after the standard 24 hour stay. For the next 7 months she was the happiest, healthiest baby. She got her first two bottom teeth at 4 months, and said her first word "hi" at 4 1/2 months. She loved playing the piano with her Dad, snuggling with Mom, and hiking in our gorgeous Alaskan outdoors. You could say we led a charmed life...
On January 14th, 2013 we woke up and Ava was acting a little off. After calling our Pediatrician (who said not to worry), we decided to bring her in to an Urgent Care anyway. Once at the urgent care, Ava started to crash. Her blood sugar was a shockingly low 28. They immediately called 911. We were whisked away in an ambulance to our local emergency room. 
Ava in PICU at Providence Children's Hospital
At the ER she went through a battery of tests including, a spinal tap, CAT scan, X-rays, and numerous blood tests. Although we were at the ER they still couldn't get her stable. They placed a breathing tube and called the helicopter. Life flight transported her to Providence Children's Hospital. Once we were there, we were checked into the PICU. The first two days were touch and go. More lab work, IVs in every limb as well as a central line were placed.
Her lab work showed very low blood sugar, acidosis of the blood, and extremely high ketones. She also had an MRI done, which is when they told us she had a bilateral stroke in her basal ganglia. Her right side was slightly more affected but she sustained severe brain damage as a result. Five days into her ICU stay and she finally opened her eyes for the first time! They were able to take her breathing tube out. One week after arriving and we were moved to the pediatric wing.

For the next two weeks, she had daily blood draws which led to a blood transfusion, chest x-rays, eye and hearing exams, two EEG's, multiple medications added, and daily therapy. On January 31st, she went in for surgery to place a G tube. The stroke caused her to lose all oral motor skills. She won't even suck on a pacifier. One week after her G tube surgery and we were able to come home! It was a long and emotionally exhausting 3 weeks.
Then, the real work started. Appointments with gene specialists, neurologist, pediatrician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, and multiple trips for lab draws. She has therapy twice a day, five days a week.

Although we have had multiple blood and DNA tests done, we still have no diagnosis as to what caused her stroke. The specialist thinks it's a metabolic disorder. We've already tested for all the metabolic disorders that her symptoms line up with, yet all have come back negative. Taking her to therapy and doctor appointments has it's own draw backs.. Even a small common cold would put her back in the hospital. 

For now we're just pushing forward with an aggressive therapy schedule. Ava doesn't smile or laugh yet but the one thing she does seem to enjoy is water. During bath time, she relaxes and we're able to bend her limbs and work through her severe muscle tone. In the last week she's now been diagnosed with severe dystonia (basically full body spasms) as well as having epileptic activity on her last EEG.

With our newest set back we can't stress her out so therapies must been done at home where she is most comfortable.  In efforts to try and keep home and therapy separate we want to build Ava a therapy room at our house that contains a therapy pool for her. So we're actually getting a 5k run set up to raise money for her. 

Through all of this we have met some amazing people trying to help our little girl and we will continue to pay the kindness forward any chance we get.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read Ava's story and we wish you all the best.

Shana, thank you so much for sharing your story with me and with the world. You followed your instincts and took Ava to Urgent Care even when the Pediatrician said not to worry. You saved Ava's life. Your family is in my thoughts.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Eljon On Chit Chat!

When I was in Grenada a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of being interviewed by the wonderful and talented Lexan Fletcher, host of the show, Chit Chat. We spoke about strokes and she even showed the film I wrote, Docket 32357! I had such a great time speaking with her especially because this was the first time we met in person! We had been in communication for some time over email and FB. Once I saw her in person, it was like catching up with an old friend.

I am so grateful for opportunity to continue to tell my story. Thank you to Lexan and the crew of Chit Chat. I'm looking forward to returning to Grenada and stopping by again for a visit!

Click on the link to check out the interview and the little film that could now in 18 FESTIVALS!
Docket 32357 and Eljon Interview

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gertrude Stein and Strokies

Yesterday during Theater History class we were talking about Gertrude Stein's writing style and something my teacher said really stuck with me.

There is no such thing as repetition. People repeat until the emotion underneath is drained.

And then, a light went on. That's it! We strokies tend to repeat ourselves and this is a beautiful way to think of why we do it. Of course there's that whole can't remember we said it thang but I prefer to look at it as Gertrude did.

I don't really want to say too much of it because I think it speaks for itself. Just soak it in. Really. I love that.

My Right Hand

My right hand
That held a glockenspiel mallet,
That used to play the drums,
Has slowed down
And can't keep up
With the tempo,
So now everything
Sounds like a waltz,
Instead of the samba.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sea Water Therapy

courtesy David Roberts Photo
Many of us have read about the positive results that come from water therapy, how it soothes sore joints and increases flexibility especially for those of us who have lingering issues post stroke. When I was in Grenada two weeks ago (ugh can't believe it's been that long ago. I want to go back!!) I was very much looking forward to getting to the sea, immersing myself in that beautiful blue water and letting the salt lift me up on my back. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had separate plans for me!

There was a tremor in Trinidad the morning I landed which caused fairly big tidal waves in Grenada. We were technically on tsunami watch for the whole week so my plan of being in the water was hampered by my bad timing. That wave you see in the pic was one of the ittty bitties compared to what I saw earlier that day. I tried going in, thinking I could take it. What are a few waves? Well, after almost getting my bikini torn clean off my body, I figured it best that I stay on shore. Rocks even shot out of the water and into my foot causing a bleeder! Geez Grand Anse, all I wanted to do was love you!! Haha

On the day I left, and we all know that this is what usually happens on vacation, the water calmed down. Waves were down to a whisper and I was able to finally bathe in the sea properly. My Dad decided to come in with me, an extra special treat, and we both floated on our backs looking up at the cobalt blue sky ignoring the pain we have in our arms feeling weightless and relaxed.  It was the perfect end to my trip. Next time you're near a beach, go into the water and allow yourself to let go. See what it does for your joints and muscles.

Spring better come soon NYC!

Annual Neurologist Visit

That's actually a lie, because an annual visit would imply that I went last year....and I didn't and it's not because I didn't want to go! No one told me to go. Wait, that doesn't sound right either. Ok, ok, in my defense, I asked my Primary Care Doc if I should go see my Neuro and she said not necessary but when I went to see her last week for my annual, she said maybe I should pay her a visit.

Of course this makes me nervous. Why do you want me to go if I didn't have to go last year?! WHAT CRAZINESS IS AWAITING ME ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT ROUTINE MRI?? Well, it's probably nothing and I'm freaking out for nothing but still...why would you say to go back if you told me not to go back before? I'm lucky that I love my Neurologist, Dr. Cardiel. She's the best. She puts you at ease and doesn't lose patience with you, especially if you are a repeat offender of phrases. I am not sure what it's like in other Neurologist offices but with hers, you don't feel like you're in a Doctor's office, you feel like you're in a lawyer's office. Once you enter her space, it's leather seats, a dark wooden desk, frames of degrees, and no examination table. It's like being on an interview...for your brain. If she deems it necessary to examine you, you're taken to a separate clinical looking room. I can't recall where that one is...did it open up via secret wall, or a door off to the side. I want to say secret wall but that's just because I think secret walls are awesome!

The soonest appt. I could get is for May. The woman is popular! I'm telling you, she's good! If you guys need someone and live in the NY area, look her up! It's so important to have a doctor who puts you mind at ease and treats you like a person, not a cash cow.

Be well!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Daddy's Girl

I am a Daddy's girl in every sense of the word. I'm his only daughter. I am the apple of his eye and he is mine. We have lots in common. We look alike, have some of the same tendencies, and we've both had strokes.

My mind is still in vacation mode because I just got back from a trip to Grenada. He lives there and I LOVE going to visit him because it's Daddy daughter time. This was the first trip I took to Grenada by myself post stroke where we really had one on one time together. Before I left, I tried to plan everything out in my mind of what we would do if he took enough time off work from trips to the country down to what I wanted him to cook for dinners at home (the man could be on Iron Chef). Throughout the trip, I was very tickled by everything he did because I saw myself in him, especially with things pertaining to memory. He would always say things like "Remind me of this..." when I'm not likely to remember and I would say the same to him. This might make someone sad but it did just the opposite for me. This was an AWESOME bonding experience. Here is someone who I didn't have to tell to not turn the knobs tight because I wouldn't be able to open them or that I couldn't speak much at times because I was too tired to sound proper. It was unspoken and understood and just wonderful. Thanks stroke for bringing me closer to my father.

I continuously find small little things to thank the stroke for and this is one of them. Is that kind of messed up? Shouldn't that not be the case?! It has to make me laugh, you know? Right now, I wish I could sound more coherent about this experience but the only way I can express how much of a profound effect this trip had on me is to just tell you to look at the picture above. My face says it all.

I love my Dad. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mediterranean Diet-A New Way To Prevent Strokes?

The news world was all abuzz with reports that a traditional Mediterranean diet of high intakes of olive oil, fruit, vegetables and grains would lower your risk of stroke. Oh yes and low intakes of red meat, dairy and sweets are also recommended. Let's all look, really look at what I just wrote...go ahead, take a minute.
Did I not just describe a healthy eating diet PERIOD. Of course your risk of stroke and heart attack will go down if you do all of the above, but isn't that common knowledge? Eating less than a pint of ice cream a day will help lower your risk of diabetes. I mean, yes, right. Not drinking a cup of bleach will keep you alive. Oh, I didn't know that.

I get frustrated when medical knowledge is released as though it is some sort of big news. You're not telling me anything I didn't know 5 minutes ago. Does this annoy you too?

Come on guys, we can do better!

Follow This Blog!

So I've been following this stroke blog called Up Stroke by Marcelle Greene and would encourage you to do the same if you know someone who is going through recovery.  She's a writer and details her recovery process pretty well. I won't say much more because you should definitely click the link above and read her story.

Be well. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My New Play: Opening Night

My new one act play Opening Night, will be playing on April 29, 30 and May 1st at Fordham University as part of our curriculum.  I can't wait! I'm so excited. It's about a man who thinks he's experiencing a hallucination but finds out he's preparing for the end of his life. It's pretty much my take on what I think happens before you die. When I was hospitalized and stroking out, I daydreamed a lot. This has little nidbits of what was going through my mind. It's also what I'd like to think my Granny went through before she died. I started writing this after she died in November.

I swear, I'm not always morbid. In fact, this is a comedy! It's being double billed with Horse Girls by Jenny Rachel Weiner. She is my partner in crime aka the other MFA in Playwriting student at Fordham.

Info on the performances can be found here
I'll be posting pics from rehearsals once they start.
Did I mention that I'm so excited?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Post

Chocolate Covered Strawberry
From My Dog

Not quite a stroke post but considering the day, I thought I would share a few of my Valentine's Day memories of years past.

Growing up, my Father was my first Valentine. Every year, no matter what, he would always make me feel like the most awesome person in the world. Flowers and chocolate every year and sometimes a stuffed bear. As I got older, he could have chosen to take a backseat but still remained ever vigilant at making sure I knew that I was his girl. Today he called me bright and early this morning to wish me a Happy VD. Even though he doesn't live in this country anymore, he still manages to make me feel just as special.

I went to an all girls High School so Valentine's Day was interesting to say the least. I would look out the window from the 5th floor at around 12 and see at least 50 guys waiting patiently dressed in red and holding flowers, candy, stuffed animals, for their sweeties to come down at 2:30pm. They would all stand behind the police barricade heavily guarded by nuns and make small talk with each other. First off, why weren't these boys also in school?? Anyway, I digress.

I never was one of the girls who had a sweetie waiting outside the school doors on V day but it was just interesting to watch the reaction of these girls. They squealed and jumped on their boyfriends but...again, why aren't you in school??? I even recall some girls getting flowers delivered to classes. That definitely got shut down by the Mother Superior and we received a stern warning over the loudspeaker one year.

It's times like these when I wish digital cameras existed. I would have loved to have a record of all that went on those days. 

Anywho, Happy Valentine's Day! I'm glad I still have those memories locked away in the old hippocampus to share. :)

Even Celebrities Get Stroke Scares

I was searching for stroke news when I came across this article from Australia about Jessica Alba's stroke scare. She said:

"The 31-year-old beauty told 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!': 'My whole arm was numb, and then I got a cold sensation from the back of my neck up to the front. And then I was like, 'I think I can't move my face.''

She was checked out and apparently, the doctor said:

" had all the signs of a stroke if you were much older."

This is pretty infuriating to me. Again, we all know that stroke can hit you at ANY AGE. The doctor shouldn't have told her that she had the signs if you were much older.  She had the signs then and was absolutely right to rush on over to the hospital to get checked out. Thankfully, she had the signs of carpal tunnels syndrome but the point is that she had enough sense to get checked out. 

Come on news media, you're better than this. Don't make the generalization that strokes are for older people. They are lucky I can't comment on this article otherwise I would have given them a piece of what remains of my mind :)

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Thought For Today

I found this picture when I was going through my stuff today. It stopped me because this is the last picture of me before having my stroke and going to the hospital. Even in this pic, I wasn't feeling right. I keep scanning my face and trying to remember details of the day kicking myself for not going to the doctor sooner.

But what can you do? I can't hold onto the past. I can just learn from it. Thank you again for reading and being a part of my journey.

I'm almost at 20,000 hits. Thank you for helping to spread the word about preventing strokes!

I'm Still Looking For You!

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I'm looking for you!
Tell your story here. 
Let's expand out stroke awareness community together!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Embracing The Senses

So tonight, two of my classmates came over from Collaboration class to make dinner. Our assignment was to make a 3 course meal, together. I am not even posting a picture of how awesome it came out because I don't want you to drool on your keyboard but let me just say...totes yum!

Anywho, we were all sitting around the table getting ready to sample what our hard work produced when Johanne and Jenny suggested we say what color or feeling what we tasted reminds us of. I thought this was brilliant on so many levels. I figured that it could also apply to a strokie's recovery. If you can't speak or move very well, you're always looking for an escape no matter how big or small. Taking power of your mind and what you just went through is so important during recovery. Often times, we can lose sight of that and allow ourselves to slip into a sad state. I myself have been guilty of such a thing and know just as well as anyone that you do not want to stay in that kind of a space for very long. So next time you're having a meal, try this:

As you're eating a particular food, it would be a great exercise to just close your eyes and really taste what's in your mouth.

What does it remind you of?
Does it have a color?
Does it remind you of a place?

Sometimes this brings us back to a fond memory we may have forgotten and when that happens, oh the possibilities of your imagination are innumerable. You could sit for hours and just rest on that memory. Re-live it. Taste it. Be it. Escape what ails you just for those fleeting moments. How would that work with your recovery? I bet it would put you in a delightful mood afterwards ready to tackle anything. Try it! You'll be presently surprised at what comes up.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why Fruit Ninja Makes Me Happy.

As many strokies can attest, when you are in recovery, chances are one side of your body is a litte slow. Now, I have posted about the benefits of video gaming post stroke but I cannot recall if I did the same for apps.

I recently installed Fruit Ninja on my phone. It's free and great for passing the time while you're waiting for the train. It's also great for re-training your reflexes. You basically just have to slice delicious fruit and avoid bombs using one finger on one hand. I highly recommend it.

Have you guys downloaded any apps that make recovery easier? I'd love to know.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Wow, I am really angry and upset after writing that last post...but I'm going to try and make it into something constructive.

What do you do when you are stressed and angry, so angry that you can practically hear your own heart beat? This is NOT good behavior for us strokies and we all have different ways of coping with stress and anger. Usually, I will take a walk...or do some deep breaths, but today that's not working. Right now I have a very nervous angry twitch happening with my right leg annnnnnd that's not good.

So, today I'm going to try something different. I'm going to call it Dance Therapy. I'm going to take all that anger and upset, throw a song on that I know fairly well and try and shake this off, dance around and sing some lyrics.

I challenge you to do the same when you can't shake off being frustrated. Let's teach each other. Do you have any techniques you want to share?

Brb, off to dance and sing badly.

Stroke Advertisements

Just a warning that this is not a very happy post. Yesterday, when I was walking towards the train station, I was struck by a poster by a bus stop pictured on your left. This reminded me of those stop smoking ads, you know the ones on TV that are kind of obnoxious and meant to scare you into quitting smoking? Most recently, the one with the woman who had umpteenth amputations has been leaving a bad taste in my mouth. While I understand the shock value and necessity of these ads, it's not something that I need to see 50 times a day...actually 10 times a day, yes, once I counted how many times a Network ran the spot in the span of 3 hours.

The ad to the left makes me pretty depressed. While we can learn the warning signs and prevent stroke in different ways, this ad makes me feel guilty and ashamed of what I went through. I'm already very insecure at times over my lack of brain or intelligence due to whatever black spots I have gained through this experience. I don't really want to be reminded of that when I'm having an ok day minding my business walking down the street. I didn't ask for this stroke, I shouldn't feel guilty over having one. I was a relatively healthy young woman. While I can take some responsibility because I was experiencing symptoms for a couple of days prior to going to the doctor, I get angry that ads like this weren't around in 2010. I applaud the Stroke Association for trying to scare straight folks who are experiencing symptoms and just don't recognize them but gosh, I...and I don't think I'm alone here, I feel like it's a jab. Of course I could just be having a down day because who wants to think of their stroke brain as being sub par? I know myself. I know who I was before the stroke. I have adjusted and continue to adjust...but I know that there are black spots on my brain. Cells that aren't coming back...that I am not as smart as I once was and that is something that is EXTREMELY hard for me to admit...and it makes me sad and angry...but I can't get those cells back. I just have to adapt, right? And I am adapting but man do those feelings creep up on you sometimes!

What do you do when you go through periods like this where you just can't shake the anger? Your family and your friends will tell you that you are smart and that you haven't changed but I feel it. It's one of the worst feelings to feel that you aren't as smart as you used to be and that you can't grasp onto things like you did. Being aware of that is kind of indescribable.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Little Small Fun Nidbits On A Monday

Monday Happiness
When you have a hankering for something sweet and you are pretty sure you have nothing in the house but then open up your freezer to see this wonderful face staring back at you. Yerm. Super happy I forgot I had this.

Shortage of Stroke News

I follow some stroke tweeters in the hopes that they most new and encouraging news for strokies but lately I've found that the same news is being recycled. This could be for 2 reasons...

1. There really isn't any news to report.
2. They are repeating themselves for those of us who's memory's aren't up to par because of being a strokie.

I'm tending to lean on 1. We strokies need encouragement, like a kind motivational word of the day. Something to let us know that it can and will get better and if it doesn't, well it's all about learning how to live with our newfound superpowers (scars). Honestly, if I read one more tweet on how I should exercise and how recovery takes years, I'm going to---

So today, I'm offering words of encouragement and motivation for everyone out there who is having a tough time with your recovery or just having a rough day in general.

Listen to your body. We may not like what it is doing for us right now. It rebels, it has a mind of its own but through this entire process, we'll get to know ourselves better. Just think, you're going to have a better relationship with your bod than most people because you know how to listen to your body! Celebrate that. Talk to your body and remember, tomorrow will be better than today.