Monday, October 19, 2015

That First Taste Of Cold Air...

My Dad is in town (Yay). He picked me up at my house this morning and we walked to my job which is on the way to the VA where he has a doctor's appointment all day. Today is the first day where I felt the cold air literally down to my bones. Ok, I'm being dramatic. It's only 35+ degrees BUT it still feels like -0 to me and I'm pretty sure he felt it too. At numerous points in our walk, he stretched his hand. I did the same. We didn't talk about it. We just went through the motions and continued on our way both conscious that each other knew exactly what was being felt.

Holding a warm cup of coffee in my dominant hand helped, a nice reminder that there can be comfort in small things. Small victories on this chilly Monday morning. What are your Monday victories?
Be well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Switching Doctors

My Primary Care doctor relocated to another state. I knew this was coming. I received a letter maybe 2 months ago and it felt like a bad breakup. "How could this person do this to me?" I thought. Doesn't she realize that without her, I don't think anyone else will understand me? But sucks and now I have to go through the process of finding someone else who will take my post strokey problems and not treat me like a lab rat. Not that I don't love being looked upon as someone special, I do, we all could use some of those glances every once in awhile, but if something is ailing me, I don't want to have to hear "very interesting" coming out of your mouth every two seconds. Just help me. My Mom is getting on my case about getting a new PC. I haven't been able to get past that letter of abandonment. I know it's not personal (duh) but I would have liked a good personal recommendation for someone else to go to instead of receiving the generic I'm out piece of paper.
So the hunt begins! I'm sure I will have some good stories :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Power of Smell

Whenever the seasons change, I am overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia. Fall brings about memories of Halloweens past, warm cider and being wrapped up in a blanket on my couch while a good movie is playing on TV. Today, I am reminded of a Halloween when I was around 11. A trick or treater knocked on the door and I peeped in the eyehole and saw that he was dressed as a vampire. I don't know why this sticks out to me with today's smell in the air but it does. I can see his smiling face very clearly along with the white made up face and dark circled eyes he must have done himself. I can't remember what candy my Mom and I gave him but I am determined to try and find that piece of memory in my mind today.
I find this particularly useful when trying to retrain our brains and remember things we have problems recalling. What do you associate crisp air with? A memory of when you were a child? A memory of last year? How does this play into our recovery? The power of smell is one of the ways we can heal ourselves. We don't need pills or therapy for this. All we need to do is retreat within ourselves and try to use the power of smell and recall to beam ourselves back. Like anything, this can be frustrating but at least if we can't remember, we can be comforted by a warm smell and remember next year this time that this is what we were doing.
Does today's smell unlock something for you?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Fruit For Your Health!

One of my favorite things about summer is all the yummy fresh fruit that's in season. Yesterday I went to the supermarket determined to get strawberries, a craving I have all year round but one that has become particularly strong this summer (popping them in seltzer has become a favorite treat!). I saw a sign that said peaches were in season so I opted for those instead. When I got home, I started reading up on the health benefits of said fruit and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's high in iron which helps make neurotransmitters, something all us strokies need more of so enjoy the summer, there are tons of delicious peaches out there to help us heal and prosper!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Birthday Post

Happy to be here on this day and grateful for good health, good friends and the wonderful people I've met throughout this experience.
Looking forward to eating a piece of cake and savoring the icing that is life.

Friday, April 17, 2015

What Was I Like?

I don't know why this popped into my mind the other day but I was trying to remember the days after I got out of the hospital and what I was like at home. What did I do? Did I sleep a lot? Did I eat? How did I walk, or try to walk? Sometimes my memories get cloudy and I can't recall certain details. I like to play a game where I see how far back I can remember. Sometimes things are crystal clear, other times, not so much.
I asked my boyfriend about what he remembers from the days after I got home. It's crazy to think that certain things are gone but again, you all know I am a firm believer of well if it's not there anymore, embrace that. Some days I wish I could have taped myself and some of the conversations I had with myself, other times, not so much. I think they would scare me today in the way that some old pictures the first 6 months post stroke do. Even though I want to remember, I don't want to remember all that. It still scares me.
Today, the weather in NY reflects my brain today, cloudy and grey. Hoping for brighter skies tomorrow.

Be well!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

When People Think It's Your Fault

Last night, a friend and I were talking about strokes. I mentioned someone who reached out to me who had one a few years back and the immediate reaction was: What was she doing wrong? This made me really upset. Lately, I've found that the immediate reaction to a young person having a stroke is well what did this person do wrong? Why would that be the first thing that enters your mind? Is it because the person is young? Is it because you don't see the face of stroke as the face of a young person?

As a survivor, I know this can be upsetting but the key to this train of thought is to learn from it. How can we change the minds of those who were raised with this mentality? Education is one way. Remove the stereotype or at least try to make a dent.

Last year, I saw so many advertisements on stroke and young people having stroke. I feel like they came and went and were maybe just put up for a second to quell the needs of folks like myself who have voiced an opinion. I can only hope that educating young people in Health class in High Schools will pave the way. Stroke should be part of the conversation there, not only as a health risk for their parents, but as one for themselves. With strokes on the rise for women, especially those on the pill, education has to start in the classroom for girls on the cusp of becoming sexually active. Jumping the gun? No, just preparing the youth so they can have the resources and education they need if they are ever faced with that situation. Well, there's a good idea. Who can I talk to about instituting that?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Friends Finally Meet: Meet Carrington

Since I've started blogging almost 5 years ago (Wow!), I've had the opportunity to converse via email and sometimes phone, with brave strokies from around the world. It is a privilege and a blessing to be able to connect with these wonderful inspiring individuals and I can't tell you how much they have taught me. Despite going through 1 stroke or FOUR (yes, four), they've carried themselves with an incredible grace and good nature that folks who haven't gone through a medical condition don't seem to possess. I am continuously floored by their bravery and hopeful spirit especially on days when I am not feeling my best.
I had my first email exchange with the beautiful Carrington in 2013. She had 4 strokes on the left side of her brain. I have officially nicknamed her badass. Her doctors didn't recognize this at first and sent her home instead of admitting her. Her story echoes so many of ours. Being young strokies, doctors fail to recognize signs in us. It's one of the things I still get mad at and so does Carrington. We texted, we emailed but never met since Carrington doesn't live in NY but then last week, I got an email from her saying she was going to be in the city with her husband and wanted to meet.
You guys, I don't get thrilled by just anything but the prospect of getting to meet another young strokie, especially one who I had been in touch with for a year, made me grin from ear to ear. I can't explain it but there is an indescribable bond I felt when I met her. We both had tears in our eyes and couldn't stop talking. Apologies go out to her dear husband who sat by very patiently while we talked a mile a minute about blood thinners, shots, numbness and our love of liquor. From the picture on the right, you would think we both won the lottery haha. She is hugging me with her dominant arm and I am hugging her with my dominant arm. These small little jokes are just a few things that made us laugh in our short time together. Words can't express how much this meeting meant to me. I am so grateful I got to meet her in person. She's just as beautiful outside as she is inside.
Carrington is almost two years into her recovery and is still on the hunt for what caused her strokes. If anyone has a stellar neurologist they would recommend in the DC area, please let me know!
Be well!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Health Insurance Surprise!

Today feels like Christmas. I just found out that my health insurance carrier (that I pay $658.53 a month for!!) just added my old PCP to my plan. YES!! I can go back to her! You would think I just won the lottery. No more going to an old dirty office where I feel like I might catch something. No more getting to know another doctor. It's like dating isn't it? I can go to someone who is familiar with my history and will know how to treat me instead of staring at me awkwardly asking a barrage of questions that have nothing to do with why I came in.


Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield IS THE WORST HEALTH CARE PROVIDER Ever.
I have been trying to get in touch with a supervisor or get a straight answer from this insurance company for weeks now and I am getting conflicting reports. Yes your doctor is in network. No she's not in network. Which is it?
I'm on twitter now trying to get in touch with someone to help. This shouldn't be this hard.
I even sent a screenshot showing that they are saying my doc is in network and they're still telling me she's not. So why do you have this as an option?
Get it together, seriously.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

R.I.P. Stuart Scott

"When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live."
-Stuart Scott

Words that should echo with us every day.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!

By now, your hangover is gone, you're starting to get reacquainted with your liver and trying to stay good with those resolutions you made a few days ago. For me, my resolutions remain the same and they will until they come to fruition. Every year, I set large goals. I might complete some of them, to complete all of them would be impossible BUT I do get closer to them becoming a reality.

This year, let's not put unnecessary stress on ourselves. We all know what stress leads to, right? Can we all make a pact to be good to ourselves? I am guilty of not doing this. I suck. Truly. I overbook myself. I try to SQUEEEEEZE every last drop out of every single day and write and work like it's my last day on this earth and I can't do that this year. Towards the end of 2014, I found myself slipping into old habits like I did pre-stroke and if there's one thing that experience taught me it's to listen to your body, so I'm listening. I'm taking me time.

I hope you have an amazing year filled with good health and the know to listen to your body when it speaks to you. We all have that gift of hearing our body speak to us but the voice can sometimes be low and get lost in our lives. Shhh, listen this year.