School is going OK over all. We have a couple lost books right now that are really hampering progress in those two areas, but otherwise we are doing well, here at home. Our oldest seems to be doing great at the charter school too (though we would still appreciate your prayers). A tutor is coming for our daughter twice a week now (for her dyslexia) and we are all still adjusting to our oldest being away. We just got our class list for this semester of homeschool co-op. It's hard to believe this will be our last semester ever!
On Friday, my water coach said it was the first time she had ever (in the 5 months she has been working with me) heard the word "can't" come out of my mouth. She was asking me to swim on my left (weaker) side, and after trying to drown myself several times because she would tell me "now kick that left leg" when I thought I already WAS kicking it, I was indeed discouraged. Thank you, M., for the reminder that I don't need to rely on my own strength, but to let Christ shine through lack! Yesterday I made it across the width (not length yet) of the pool, on my left, with only the support of a pool noodle holding me up. It wasn't smooth or pretty, but I did pretty much stay above the water, and even without the flotation belt I had been wearing when I was so disheartened last week!
I am meeting more and more people who obviously know something is "off" with me (the cane and limp are a bit of a give-away!) but say they never would have guessed I had had a stroke if I hadn't told them. I wonder if they are just being nice, or this is their real perception? I tend to think maybe it isn't so visibly obvious any more, as this reaction is a fairly new fenomina.
The checker at Wal-Mart said she didn't even notice that I held one arm drawn up to my chest and did everything with only one hand, until I told her about the strokes. The ladies at the gym are always quite shocked to hear my story. I know my memory is not what it should be and certain areas (geography, higher math, sometimes using one word when I really mean quite another, etc.) are pretty compromised now, but my counselor says that my ability to verbally express myself seems pretty normal, that she would have no idea from chatting with me in every day conversation that I was really even struggling to conduct conversation now.
I know I still talk a little funny, but I heard a recording of myself recently and it mostly just sounded like a soft lisp now. I was pleasantly surprised. I don't sound like I used to before, I can't sing at all (very little range, no sense of timing, little control over note movement), but I'm not just monotone or robotic sounding like I was for many months.
I produce a lot of extra saliva and have a hard time controlling that, but other than kind of sounding like I'm talking with a bit of food in my mouth, I don't have to repeat myself nearly as often as I used to. The left side numbness in my mouth has gradually improved (still not gone with some totally numb spots still and the rest with far-from-normal sensation) so I'm sure that is part of not being able to control all the drool.
The left side of my jaw/face still hurts a LOT. Maybe it always will? I still can't chew on that side of my mouth because of lack of feeling in some teeth and super pain sensitivity in others (and my jaw). The neurologist says he not really surprised that I interpret most touch on the left as pain, but that we would have to "keep an eye on" that, whatever that means. My neck and shoulder (especially since my harder swimming efforts) are grumpy too.
I have surprisingly little facial paralysis. I see it plainly, but others don't notice much at all. I notice it MORE as we get farther out, as the right side strengthens and the lack on the left becomes comparatively more profound. Mostly it looks like someone has injected me with Botox around my left eye and my left lips don't really lift much when I smile, so I grin pretty lopsidedly. I used to have deep dimples. I don't think I have them on the left any more at all, on the right not very deeply any more.
I am still fighting through daily exercises and lots of therapy and medical appointments. Many relationships remain altered, some far from what they used to be, but I think maybe I am starting to find that illusive "new normal," this side of so much change? Will life ever be the same? Will I ever be the same? Will our marriage ever be the same? Will my interaction as the Mommy of my children ever be the same? Will I ever walk gracefully again? Dance? Drive a car? Play my flute? Be responsible for the education of my children? No, probably not.
But I am learning new lessons, new skills. Today I was remembering how it wasn't so many months ago that I seriously thought I would probably never walk the length of our hall, unaided, again. Now I do that every day. Then, the hall seemed so terribly long, even with my walker. Now, it still seems long, but not nearly so much so, and within our home I am walker-free, often even cane-free, since I can easily grab onto walls when needed and don't have to mentally compensate for other movements around me, like I do in public.
Restore us again, O God our Savior...