We were blessed to attend the 8th annual I Hope You Dance gala on Friday night. I think this was the fifth time we were able to attend. Last time we made it, 2 years ago, was just weeks before my strokes! Here's a picture from this weekend (I'm the one with the pink flower in my hair):
Some of my ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) friends who hadn't seen updates wanted to know how I'm doing. I replied, "I am doing well! ME/CFS wise I've been at least at about 70% improvement (up to 90% and holding for over a year!) since before the strokes. Stroke wise I am doing very well for someone who should have died or should still be hooked up to life support and in a nursing home."
This morning, I posted to another page that my beautiful rose garden has been terribly neglected these past two summers since my strokes. (My amazing husband did get out there and love on my plants on my behalf last summer, but I could not get out there to baby them at all myself.) I worked on the garden one week early this summer, but I don't usually get up early enough to get out there when it is still shady (I literally am allergic to the sun since the strokes and break out in bleeding blisters if it touches me), so it has gone to weeds this summer. I got out there for an hour this morning while it was still in the shade and managed to reclaim about four plans without falling! Only about 16 more and dozens of volunteer little trees to shop down left to go! Hopefully I get it re-claimed this fall and next summer will stay on top of it again.
And concerning a truck contest I entered, I had to answer why I wanted to win it. I wrote, "I would like to win for my husband, Rick, who believed in me and fought for me when the doctors gave him no hope and told him to give up! He clung to our marriage vows even when I tried to throw them away. He has been driving a beat up old car without air conditioning to keep paying my medical bills that are estimated to run a million dollars or more over the course of my lifetime (all without financial aid that we seem unable to qualify for on every level). I want to do something to say a little thank you for all he is sacrificing!"
As I said, we went out Friday night. We came home just after the formal program, but long before the party was over. I was asleep within half an hour of getting home. Rick wheeled me around an airshow for two hours on Saturday morning. I came home and crashed for nearly a three hour nap. We went to church on Sunday morning, and as is typical for me, I slept most of Sunday afternoon. I LOVE people. I'm rather extroverted and thrive on human contact and communication. But people simply exhaust me now! The mental requirements of following conversation, being in crowds with all the movement and sounds for my brain to process, is just physically taxing and we know the cost of socialization is high. I don't want to hide from life, but I just need to plan hours of sleep into my schedule for any such energy expenditure. (This still differs from my CFS day because while I still need tons of sleep, that sleep is actually usually quite rejuvenating now!)
One more story from Friday night. I had gotten to spend some time talking with the guest singer at this event two years ago, about a month before I stroked. She ended up being seated at our table Friday night. I had transferred from my wheel chair to a regular banquet chair (something that would have been unthinkable a year ago because I wouldn't have been able to stay upright without chair arms to hold me in!), so she surely saw my wheel chair folded up behind me, but in the context of a fundraiser dinner for chronic illness, this wouldn't be a surprising sight in the least. I weigh about 30 pounds more than I did last time we met and my hair comes to my shoulders rather than to my waist, but though there were changes she surely noticed, she made no indication that she even guessed what has happened in our world since we last met in 2011. It didn't even beg to become conversationally addressed! I honestly don't think she had any idea I had had any strokes. I was so terribly and visibly disabled even a year ago. This is pretty mind-blowing and exciting to me that I doubt she could tell anything she wouldn't have just discounted as part expected manifestations of a chronic illness. Wow, I felt pretty "normal" meeting her for this second time!
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. - Psalm 9:1