Monday, February 17, 2014

My Ataxia

There's a stunning lack of data about recovery for someone who's in my situation--healthy (pre-stroke); in their forties; and more than a year out from the stroke.  Often I just make up my own theories about the process of recovery.

For instance, I have ataxia (Amy's blog talks about cerebellar ataxia, but from what I understand, my stroke didn't touch my cerebellum). My physiatrist has noted my ataxia seems more noticeable now than a few years ago, but we haven't talked about why that might happen.

This is my theory about it: the ataxia is a good sign of pushing to the limits of my range of movement. Very slowly, I'm gaining more range of movement. But each millimeter (or so) of increased range takes a huge amount of effort and exercise. It takes a while for my muscles and joints get used to the new way of moving. The ataxia gets better with exercise--until I gain a tiny bit more of range of movement, and the cycle will start again.

That's my theory.

I made a video to show how tiny changes of position can set off my ataxia. The video is probably confusing, because I blabber on about "good" and "bad" positions. When I say a position is "bad," I mean that I'm compensating a lot for weak muscles (even though most viewers can't see much a difference); a "good" position challenges my stability--leading to more strength in the long run. I think.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Four Years Ago

The last time the Winter Olympics happened, I watched them from my bed at Spaulding Rehab.

Someone from my family would come almost every evening--usually mother. She would help me eat, and keep me company. When it was time to watch the Olympics, she would turn on the TV and put it on the right channel. Changing the channel was still mystifying for me.