About Me

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I suffered a serious stroke 9 years ago (aged 43 at the time) and it's been a slow, often frustrating, recovery... I lost my speech and was totally paralyzed on my right side, but with patience and regular physiotherapy, I can now speak, walk short distances, operate the computer, but my right side is still paralyzed. I get botox injections 3 times a year in my right bicep and forearm, which relaxes the high-tone muscles and makes it easier to stand and walk. Last year I started weekly sessions of hydrotherapy, where I build up the wasted muscles by exercising while supported by the warm water. It's bliss at the time, but I ache like heck next day - but it's so worth it :)

25 September 2013

Wednesday


Today is a special day - our Gorgeous Boy is 18!!

After 3 miscarriages and a stillbirth (Connie in 1993), we feared we'd never have children...

But the marvellous Prof. James at QMC Nottingham worked out what was wrong - I have Protein S Deficiency, i.e. 'sticky blood'. And when I conceived again, I was scanned every 2 weeks, until Samuel Dickson Sauer was safely delivered on 25 September 1995.

He grew into a beautiful toddler...


 ... then into a fine young man...


... and today he is legally an adult, and I am so proud to be his mama :)







21 September 2013

Saturday



Today is a grey, overcast, autumn day...

And I feel like this leaf, dropped by its tree.

I don't want to be morose, but the reality is that the stroke removed me from the workforce. I was a freelance proofreader and editor with several academic publishers, so not a great shaker and mover, I admit, but I was a tax-paying, useful member of society. I was connected to the great tree of society, albeit at the end of a rather obscure, little branch.

Also, I was connected to friends - we would meet up for coffee or a drink in a pub. I would give folk lifts to book group or a local craft fair...

But the reality is, these friends - many of whom I've known for decades - have just disappeared in the past 6 years, and that is sad. Many did visit me in hospital in those 3 months after the stroke, and some did visit me at home in the first year.

But now, 6 years on, the phone doesn't ring, and yes, I'm sad, and I miss them.

The faithful few do keep in touch, and for them I am grateful. But everyone is busy with jobs, with family, with ageing parents; and meeting up with me is time-consuming - they have to drive, pack up the wheelchair, then push me around...
 
*******

And so, I lie on the ground like this leaf disconnected from my former-life network, but unlike this leaf, I'm not passively waiting to be turned into mulch...

I am actively creating new connections, online connections with real people. Only this week, Eileen came for lunch on the train from Nottingham, whom I'd 'met' in an online class with Janet Conner a few months ago.

Currently, I'm 'meeting' people in Susannah Conway's Journal Your Life course, which is directly responsible for the creation of this blog. This week's prompts have been about connecting with our bodies, and asking direct questions, and this is what I scribbled yesterday
I know I look older than my 49 years with my half-paralyzed, unsteady body, but in my heart, in my soul, I am fully able-bodied and young and interested in life...

Every human being is always more than the sum of their parts, and the internet is at its best when it's giving people a platform, a voice; especially those who otherwise would feel disconnected and voiceless...

... like this leaf.




20 September 2013

Friday

Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness;
I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome
that one cannot walk away from it.
Soren Kierkegaard, letter, 1847
 
 
I was wondering how to start this first post of my new blog, but nothing came...
 
Then this quote appeared in my email. I subscribe to several daily emails including Gretchen Rubin's Moment of Happiness, as I love collecting quotes, and I'm always open to synchronicity :)
 
Now, I cannot physically walk far since the stroke, but I can walk in my mind...

In my mind, as in my dreams, I am able-bodied. I walk, I run, I skip, I dance. My body is strong and flexible - I have a dancer's body, at her physical peak!

The reality couldn't be more different...

Yes, I have regained my speech well enough, maybe, for strangers to not know it was lost for a year after the stroke, and when it did return, it was that of a Scandinavian learning English. (My speech therapist was soooo excited, as she'd read of this phenomenon, but not seen it!)
 
My 'normal, pre-stroke' voice returned a couple of years ago, but when I'm tired or under stress, I struggle to find words, to form sounds, especially r's.

My right side is still paralyzed, and my balance is poor. I drag my right leg, and tire very easily...

But, as the quote says, I can 'walk myself into a state of well-being'. This is a conscious choice, day by day, moment by moment...

On good days, the fact I'm 'Able at Heart' translates into my physical capacity...

I can type.
I can write left-handed.
I can draw left-handed (my profile pic was drawn last year for an art swap).
I can paint left-handed,
I have opened an Etsy shop.
I have sold a painting.
I can contribute.

And today is a good day.