Today is Rick's birthday. Last year I had *just* moved over to the rehab hospital (before my second 3 strokes) so it has a hospital birthday. I have very mixed feelings about today because it's tainted with hospital memories. (Thank you mom and V. for helping me pull off some surprises from the hospital bed last year. I couldn't have done it without you!)
My first thought is I am so thankful Rick was born, that God put us together and that I am privileged to share this earthly journey with him. I would be blessed to marry him all over if I had the choice to make again.
My next thought is that I wish I had much more "me" to offer him. He deserves so much more. (Yuck, I was determined not to cry today. So much for that!)
Yesterday I managed to wrap a
small box for Rick by rolling it in a big sheet of tissue paper. Trickier than it sounds, with only one hand! It wasn't pretty, but I did it myself! :)
Our 12-year-old is going
to make a cake. My mom is making meatloaf that he loves for dinner. I'm
kind of bummed because his main gift still hasn't come in the mail. I
got up and microwaved bacon this morning (Rick doesn't usually eat
breakfast at all and I usually do not get out of bed that early), so that was a big deal to me.
Rick had dark hair last year, when this all started, and now is over
half grey. I have a friend who I guess is probably my age or a little younger. She was in a car
accident and suffered dramatic brain injury 9 or 10 years ago. I didn't
meet her until after the accident and her husband has been totally gray
as long as I've known them. Made me think
I've really aged Rick this year - poor guy! I actually like the look and think he is very handsome, I just feel sad that if it weren't because of all I've put him through this year, the change probably wouldn't be nearly so profound!
As for the research study, I have finished the first week of study drugs (or placebo) and I had to report a whole page worth of negative side effects yesterday, BUT I saw marked improvement in several scores already. Two weeks ago I could move 14 blocks to a box in one minute, with my left hand. Yesterday I could move 19 in the same time frame! (For reference I could do 60 with my right hand.)
I was determined not to fall victim to any placebo effect, but my side effects have all been neurological (my doctor said she would expect me to report "symptoms" all over the board if the changes were just mental) along with the areas of improvement, we are thinking I likely am or the real drug??? For some reason, I had just expected I would be a the placebo for the first three weeks, so I'm rather taken by surprise by the rapid changes.
When my therapist ran me through one test yesterday and I could hold a paper without allowing him to pull it out of my grasp, he laughed because he said my eyes got huge with surprise. I haven't been able to do that in over a year! There are areas where I am worse (like balance and walking stability). but I'm hopefully attributing these changes to the rewiring of my brain. Overall, there were LOTS of very encouraging signs yesterday!
Here's a Letter to My Body today, based on thought over this past year.
Update: Stroke of Grace has become In Darkness Sing and has moved to JenniferSaake.com.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.
Jenni is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com.
Since Jenni's chiropractor carried no insurance and moved out of the country soon after the accident (thus avoiding any legal or financial consequences), if you would like to help contribute to the Saake (pronounced like the two small words, say and key) family's massive financial needs (medical expenses alone are estimated to cost between $1- and $1.5- Million in Jenni's lifetime), please visit Jennifer Saake's Stroke Survivor GoFundMe Page. (This support information has been added in direct response to several reader requests.) The Saakes sincerely thank you for your prayers and if God prompts and equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.