Archive | June, 2011

Update: Week 12!

27 Jun

Wow, I can’t believe the last time I posted was almost 2 ½ weeks ago.  It was 12 weeks ago that I was laying in that hospital bed fighting for my life.  I have had so many progressions it’s hard to keep up.  With the kids out of school, it is so much harder to find time to write.  I will be posting a few thoughts I have been tracking over the next week.

I continue to heal quickly and I am still overwhelmed by my miraculous recovery.  Everyday I feel blessed to be alive and I am truly happy.   To keep it real, my energy level is increasing but I am still managing my days carefully so that I don’t overextend myself.  I am still taking daily naps that are part of my schedule and I am very tired by the end of the day. Although I am physically doing better, my brain is still healing from major trama so I get tired.  Keep reading to learn why.

Since my last post, I began to start driving again but I am limited to short distances (see below for why I can’t drive).  I was officially signed off from both my OT and SP (cognitive thinking) therapy.  I am now scheduled to go to PT until the end of July.  My Speech therapist, Kristine, has been wonderful.  She is the one who does all the brain work with me and she has also been a counselor for me.  I have had many bad days when I see her, and she just always knows how help me feel better.  Thank you, Kristine, for all your amazing help during such a traumatic time for me.

Last week was my first day back at the gym!  I completed a spin class 2 times last week and my first Zumba class.  It was exhilarating and I was so happy to be back at gym and on the road to feeling more like myself again.  I am pretty sure I smiled the ENTIRE hour of my spin class. The first day back to Zumba I was getting ready to leave the class because I couldn’t make it through a whole class yet and spontaneously Kami and I went up on stage to dance one of my favorite songs with Stacy.  My legs were shaking but it didn’t matter because I was on top of the world and it was so wonderful being alive dancing on that stage!  Wow!!  Happy, happy times!

There are lots of questions that my friends ask me about so I thought I would take some time to answer some of them over the next few posts.  Today’s topic is about my brain, driving and memory loss.

My brain injury

Without going into deep detail, technically what I had was a sub-arachnoid brain hemorrhage.  Yes, I had a brain aneurysm which is an area of my vein that was weakened and had bulged out.  Many people have aneurysms without ever even knowing it unless they start causing symptoms like migraines, etc.  This did not happen to me.  I did not have any significant symptoms prior to my hospitalization.  The hemorrhage is a bursting of the aneurysm which then bled out into my brain.  I had a level five hemorrhage which is the worst possible condition.  I was not supposed to make it.  The doctors fixed this with a coil system but I still have fluid in my brain even now.   Initially, I had a lot of fluid in my brain that needed to be absorbed. As my body has now begun to absorb the fluid, I have begun to feel better and the headaches and dizziness are subsiding.  My brain is still on the mend and I can’t over stimulate it.  If I do, I get a headache and sometimes nausea.

Early on, I was not able to drive because I was dizzy and lightheaded from the surgery.  The migraines were too debilitating as well.  Now that my body has started absorbing the excess fluid, I am no longer dizzy and I can drive again. Driving is actually quite taxing on your brain.  There is a lot of stimulation thus the limitation to 10 – 15 minute distances right now.  Just last week I was too tired to drive home after my PT appt. so my brother drove me home.  I was worried I would not remember how to drive but I do so I am happy about that.   I still need to have some else drive with me for longer distances just in case I am too tired to return.

My memory loss

As a result of my hemorrhage, I had memory loss and early on I had to relearn some basic things. I could describe what an item looked like or what it did but I could not remember what it was called Eg. Shirt, chair, coffee table.  I also could not remember a single dance routine that I had learned.  It was so frustrating! I have most of that back but on occasion I still can’t remember what something is.  Not too long ago I was at lunch with my friends and they asked me if I wanted a scallop roll.  I could not remember what a scallop was and they had to describe it to me.  I then remembered and said “Oh yeah, I love scallops!” Kristine explained that when I had my hemorrhage, the brain trauma affected my memory.  She used the analogy of a filing system.  My brain is like a file system and some of the files fell on the ground and got all mixed up.  We were working on finding where the lost items were and filing them in the correct places. Now I have to continue doing my brain exercises at home but it’s fun and I will have a healthier brain going forward.  I am doing some online games using Luminosity and I learned how to use the Wii Fit Plus for therapy as well.  Very cool stuff!

More to come tomorrow…

Love you all,

Dianne

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Dianne’s Update – Week 4+ at home

7 Jun

Dear Family and Friends,

I have had an extraordinary couple of weeks. Now that my headaches have started to subside, I am feeling better and I am able to do a little more now. I am working hard on my all my therapy exercises and it’s paying off. Although my energy continues to be limited, I am getting stronger everyday. I am forced to get used to not being able to do what I did before until I am better. I still have to take naps to re-energize and make it to the evening. Laundry, vacuuming, keeping up with the housekeeping and cooking dinner are the most difficult tasks for me. Family and friends are helping when they can but for now I just have to let some things be. It’s frustrating and sometimes difficult but I just remember lying in that hospital bed and seeing my kids so worried about their mama and I stop and rest or nap.

My extraordinary week started just before Memorial Day when my friend and instructor extrodinare, Stacy, kindly allowed me to visit my favorite Zumba class at AVAC and thank everyone for their support and love. We tried keeping it a surprise, so with Kami’s help, I walked in from the side door near the stage so no one would see me. My stomach had butterflies as soon as I walked in the door, perhaps from the excitement of seeing my Zumba family and these truly amazing people for the first time since my hospitalization 8 weeks ago. As I walked in, everyone began to clap and I was overwhelmed with emotion. The tears flowed down my face as I put my hands on my mouth and began to shake as I walked toward the stage. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced. These friends and some people who didn’t really know me had prayed for me and now they were standing there and clapping for me. I should have been clapping for them! I was truly humbled in their presence and honored to be there. As I thanked them and told them I was going to be OK, I had the most incredible feeling of true gratitude and I was feeling truly blessed for my life.

The positivity trend continued through the weekend and when I did my first hike. I was able to complete about an hour hike. I was amazed that I was able to do it but more amazed at my friend’s brother who had been in an almost fatal motorcycle accident about a year ago and survived. He also had to learn to walk again and I was inspired as I watched him limping his way up. Now we were both walking what we were told was a “kids” hike and made it to the top!

That next week I was again reminded about how precious life really is and how lucky I am to have survived my battle. It was the last week of school for my kids and a very busy week. Emerson had lost her second tooth on Wed, graduated from kindergarten on Thursday, we a fun girl’s day pedicure on Friday and then her first dance recital on Saturday.  Travis was also promoted to the 4th grade and I was one proud mom. The day of my daughter’s graduation from Kindergarten came quickly. As I sat in the front row watching my beautiful baby girl singing and smiling with that missing tooth, my eyes filled with tears and all I could think about was what would have happened if I not to have been there to share that moment with her. What if her mom was not there?? My heart was breaking but with mixed feelings of the joy of being alive and the sadness of the close call of my death. At that moment, I stopped thinking about what had happened to me and just absorbed the feeling of being there with her, I listened and I was truly present with her then and throughout the remaining special times we spent together the rest of the weekend.

I leave you with this thought. Don’t waste time regretting yesterday or stressing about tomorrow, just be present today and take it all in. The first item in my gratefulness journal is “Be happy I am alive today.”. It’s interesting how just that one thing can change how you see the rest of what happens that day. I found a great piece of prose that I wanted to share with you all. Enjoy!

Much love and many hugs to all of you,

Dianne

For Today Only

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days, which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow with its possible adversaries, it burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow’s sun will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day…TODAY. Any person can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities—yesterday and tomorrow—that we break down.

It is not the experience of today that drives men mad, it is remorse or bitterness for something, which happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.

Author Unknown