Archive | July, 2011

Update – Week 14

17 Jul

Saturday, July 17th, 2011

Hi all!  It has been 14 weeks since April 7th, 2011.  I will never forget that date.  My recovery is going well and I received some really fantastic news this week.  I have been officially released from my first session of PT, OT and SP!  This is an amazing milestone for me.  I went into my outpatient therapy testing at 54% functional and was just released because I am now testing at 94% functional compared to “normal” standards.  This does not at all mean that I am fully recovered but just that I am doing well with regard to physical recovery and that I can physically take care of myself. This means that I can walk without falling (which is really good because I could not do that before this all happened), dress myself and take a shower without assistance, go up and down the stairs, shop and drive.  I could NOT do these things when I first started my outpatient therapy.

As I passed these tests easily this week, I realized just how far I have come.  I had tears in my eyes all day.  I so wanted to toast my milestone right then and there!  When you are going through it day by day, you tend to forget where you started and how far you have come because you are still not where you used to be.

I have to mention my phenomenal PT’s Mary and Paul.  Mary worked with me on my big motor skills and really getting me where I am today.  She is amazing and so, so nice.  I always looked forward to my therapy with her and telling her what had happened since the previous visit.  Here’s a huge thanks to you Mary, when you read this. Paul worked on my chronic neck and shoulder pain and will be my PT after my shoulder surgery.

Over the past 2 weeks I have been able to increase my cardio and core work.  I am now doing an alternating jog/skip about 2 miles in my neighborhood and I have been able to go to Zumba a little more.  I still can’t make it through a class without resting intermittently but it is still so fun and it feels so good to be moving and dancing with my friends again.  My PT and brain therapist recommended that I take dance classes to help with my memory recovery by connecting the muscle memory with the cognitive memory.  It seems to be working.  I think I am starting to remember some the routines without help which is very exciting for me too!

What left, what’s next

Although I have been released from therapy for now, unfortunately I still have to take care of my torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder.  I have had chronic shoulder pain from the day I woke up from my coma.  I have gotten an MRI and I am scheduled for surgery next week.  My shoulder was injured when I fell unconscious holding the barbell in my hands.  It’s hard to explain exactly what happened but it HURT!  I will be in a sling and it will be about 4 weeks of recovery from this surgery and then back to PT again.  I also have to continue to manage my energy and take naps everyday.  There is still fluid in my brain that is being absorbed and that process is still happening too probably for another 3 months.  I have to be careful that I don’t over stimulate my brain and I have to continue to rebuild my endurance level and muscle atrophy as well.

My friends have asked me about what good and bad days are like or what it’s been like going through those early days so that is the topic of the day.  I am going to share a couple of things I wrote about my bad days.

 Bad Days (written about 3 weeks ago)

In the beginning, there were definitively more bad days than good days.  The earlier bad days were filled with migraine headaches, nausea and too many drugs. Now my bad days are primarily mental vs. physical. Physically, although better I am still limited and have chronic neck and shoulder pain.  Sometimes, I look in the mirror at this person who does not even look like me.  My hair is short and half shaven ( a certain reminder of what happened), my pants don’t fit (from carb overload and lack of exercise), I am weak and flabby, I can’t do the things I used to do and I can’t remember things. Uggg…sometimes I just get depressed about all that.  I so miss Zumba and dancing, I soooo miss teaching and seeing my friends, my students.  Many times I begin to feel so bad about what I put my kids, husband, family and friends through during those first iffy 10 days.  Particularly with my son who was so affected by my long hospitalization and how awful I looked. He would not come to see me until my breathing tube was out and he wrote me heartbreaking cards.  I also have the typical stresses of life that seem to be particularly downhill right now.  The good news is that my thoughts about these “bad” things are short-lived.  I remember that I am alive and here.  That is a good thing regardless of what kind of day it is.

Written – Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Day and Rough Day

Today, I was officially, unofficially released from PT.  I went from a 54% functionality to 94% today. This is a pretty amazing milestone!  It was a great day.  I still have a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder that has caused pain from the day I woke up from my coma and I have to continue to build up my endurance and strength but I am still on the road to 100% recovery from the hemorrhage of my brain aneurysm,  It is truly a miracle that I am alive today and I will never take today for granted again.  When the possibility of having no tomorrow almost comes true, it changes who you are and how you see life.  Well at least it has for me.  Ok, so I still get frustrated because I am not as strong as I used to be or I can’t do the things that I used to right now.  I can’t remember things like I used to but it will all come back in time and if it doesn’t I will just have to adjust to the new me in all it’s glory.  I am truly grateful for my second chance at life and I am humbled by the opportunity to do something that matters however small or big that is.  I am not sure what that is but it will come in time.  I want to be back to myself now but I realize that today this is me and I will live this day who I am now and not with the frustration of what I am not yet or what I used to be.  It’s difficult and I cry a lot about it but overall I think my attitude about how I will get through this is good.  Today I had a lot of memory loss experiences.  It was a bad brain day.  Maybe not enough sleep or something but I could not remember names, things, choreography…oh it was so, so frustrating.  I cried way too much today.

Bad or good, live today and make the best of it because you just don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  More coming soon:)

Love you all,

Dianne