Thursday, September 13, 2012

Those Uncomfortable Feelings

A friend's mother had a stroke about nine months ago, and I've been getting updates about her for a while. I saw my friend a few weeks ago, and she mentioned that her mother has recently having gastrointestinal problems. My friend didn't go into details.

It brought back uncomfortable memories. After the stroke it could have been so much worse, but still: I have felt sick to my stomach so many days since.

I had one real GI crisis about four or five months after the stroke, when I was directed to take iron supplements, and Neal and I both misunderstood the directions. It took me about a week to figure out why I felt so awful: I was taking about 3 or 4 times the correct dosage. I had alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, and constant nausea for about 6 weeks. I lost more weight, which wasn't a good thing.

The whole stroke recovery has reminded me sometimes of being pregnant: a few periods of crisis, then this off-and-on stuff.  The threat of nausea is always there, even though I almost never get truly sick. My appetite has been very unpredictable. I've often felt like I have a low-grade stomach bug for more than two years.

In general, I'm feeling so much better these days. On bad days, though, I remind myself: I can deal with this feeling--the feeling that my body is a bit of a stranger to me. I'm getting to know this new version of myself. It's like a very, very long gestation. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Three Blogs

I've never been a prolific writer, but in the summer and early fall--when my kids' routines are changing constantly-- my output slows to a crawl.

But I have been reading other people's blogs (and tweets).  Here are three blogs/websites that I've been enjoying for a slightly different angle on stroke recovery:

Finding Strength To Stand Again : Prosopagnosia (face blindness)

Blogger Tara Fall started to have seizures in her teens. At age 27, she had brain surgery to try to stop the seizures, but suffered a stroke in surgery. When she woke up, she couldn’t recognize any faces at all, including her own. Tara’s blog is an insightful look at an invisible disorder, prosopagnosia. She also talks about her life as a stroke survivor and a person with epilepsy.

Girl With The Cane : Disability Advocacy

Sometimes I’m so involved with my own recovery that I forget how many people are affected by other disabilities. Sarah Levis is a stroke survivor, but she addresses a broad range of disabilities in her writing. Her lively and informative blog is a great way to keep up with the disability community in general.

 Stroke XYZ : Young(-ish) Stroke Survivors

This new website/blog/e-community is geared towards younger (loosely defined) stroke survivors and their caregivers, families, and friends. Isolation--physical and emotional--is a huge problem for stroke survivors and caregivers of any age, so I'm always grateful for any new voices/communities. I'm also grateful for new voices talking about aphasia: Kelsae, the blog author and caregiver to her husband Mike, has blogged about aphasia and the ways that aphasia affects relationships.

 Happy reading!