Hi everyone! I hope the rest of your holiday season was fantastic. 🙂 My own new year is off to a memorable and positive start on the therapy front, too! Honestly I never really imagined being in any sort of therapy. Much less for one. entire. year. But that is what happened, and it happened in 2017. I was just figuring out how to move around in a wheelchair on my own this time last January, and we devoted hours every day – at home plus during multiple Kaiser trips each week – to help me relearn the most basic skills of daily life. And now we get to the good part: My therapy journey is finally coming to an end! Last Monday I said goodbye to my physical therapist. Although my abilities aren’t 100% perfect, I’m blessed to have made it way farther than many stroke patients (not sure if enough people survive getting hit by a car to have comparisons on that front). I look and walk totally normally to an untrained eye…just with some interesting scars on my legs. Such stellar progress does come with a long-term commitment: I was released with the understanding that I will continue spending around an hour each day doing my exercises at home in order to maintain the strength and flexibility necessary for normal activities. My legs still hurt occasionally and I’m prone to knee tendinitis, but overall I’m thrilled with my therapy end point given what we’ve been through.
On the left hand front, I’ve transitioned to occupational therapy as needed, which will probably look like a “check up” once a month. Here too, I’m still committed to maintaining my abilities through daily practice at home. We now know my inability to feel that hand is permanent due to the location of the strokes in the brain (confirmed by 3 different neurologists). Nevertheless, I’ve had such gifted therapists that I can take care of myself, take care of our apartment, make simple dishes, type, and play basic piano just using my eyes to control my hand. Don’t get me wrong: in spite of all that progress, having the end prognosis confirmed made me deeply sad. My skill as a violinist was integral to my pre-accident identity, and loss always hurts. I had envisioned God would answer my prayers by completely restoring feeling (especially since feeling is the key to playing violin). It didn’t happen. He did answer my prayers though, by giving me a gift I discovered only a short time ago. For the last year, my therapists wisely pushed me to the limits of what I could do without saying what was reasonable to expect from a stroke patient. This led me to believe I was making a “normal” amount of functional progress. However, at my most recent neurology check up a couple of weeks ago, the doctor confessed that in 30 years of practicing he’d never seen someone able to use their hand “normally” if they couldn’t feel it. Wow. God doesn’t always answer prayers exactly the way we want Him to, but He does answer them in the way He knows is best. I’m extremely thankful for the ability to be an atypical patient and succeed at what is usually impossible.
On the brain note (it’s funny how brains always work their way in to these posts), we continue waiting to see if my new medication will kick in and begin working. Seizures are still frequent, which keeps me at home and often reliant on the transport wheelchair since my ability to walk is impaired for a few hours after I’ve had one. We keep hoping and praying…but in the meantime I wanted to share with you all the exciting progress God continues to bring in the other aspects of my recovery 🙂