Thursday 28 April 2016

Can I tell you something

was what my 7 year daughter asked me this morning. To which I replied of course, bracing myself for what she could be about to tell me. "you are so beautiful" was her response. We sat for a while and she told me how well I am looking at the minute and yes the truth is I am feeling very well and I have had the odd occasion as of late when I have felt beautiful something that at quite a few points in my life since my stroke I didn't think would ever be achieveable. Now I'm not saying I'm "model beautiful" at all but to feel beautiful inside is a wonderful feeling.

On June 5th 2016 it will be two years since I had a massive hemorrhagic stroke that left me with a paralysed left side. I have learnt how to walk again, move my arm and hand again, tell the time amongst other things. Things I thought I would only have to learn once in my lifetime.

It is very strange to be at a point now where people are not constantly asking or checking if I am okay. This of course was what I wanted more than anything at one point but it has been strange to let it go. I can't speak for anybody else but my stroke recovery has felt like- one step at a time, grief for what you have lost, fight all you can, celebrate every achievement but grieve your one time stroke issues that you have conquered. Set yourself a new goal.... It really is a complicated business.

I still have left hand and foot parathesis but I don't let it stop me much. There are things I can't do but I prefer to try to concentrate on what I can do. My brain still has its funny moments but if I sleep well, eat well and all that good stuff I find I can manage to stay in control.

My biggest goals have always been and still are -

To complete a run to raise money for the stroke ward that looked after me so well.-  I'm not able to run as yet but I'm getting stronger. I am following a gym plan and throughout the month of May I am making it another goal to get into the gym twice a week every week.

Be fitter than I have ever been - eating well and exercising. Keeping my 80/20 lifestyle up.


to help others who have have suffered a stroke themselves. - When I started writing this blog it was with the intention of someday getting to the point of it helping somebody else as when I came out of hospital I like many others wanted to find success stories as as much as I wanted to believe I would get better I did not know if I ever would. I have enjoyed this little blog but it has become more of a personal diary as I have not had the strength in me to help others as was my original goal when I have still had such a major fight on my hands myself.

  I don't want to stop writing but I have decided by June 5th to start a new blog. With the purpose being to hopefully help others, give me a purpose and to give my brain regular work outs.

Thank you to my sisters for always reading my posts and to anybody else who happens to come across this.  Lots of love to you xxxx

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Quick Update

I feel like I have not been on here for a while. In fact it was only the end of January but in case future me notices this time gap and wonders if I was okay and how I was doing..... I am doing okay but had made a promise to myself that the next time I wrote I would plan it properly and give my brain a bit of a work out. You could say I have failed on this but with my little energy that I have each day I have chosen instead to dedicate it to

1) practise reading aloud with my daughter, doing her hair and improving our maths.
2) Exercise-I am back at the gym but I will write all about that again
3)Getting some jobs around the house completed.

Once I have accepted these as routine, it will leave more room in my brain to start on my next goals.

So I am on track just taking a slightly different direction ....yet again. :)

Thursday 28 January 2016

Enjoy life

I am loving January. Yes, this is not something that you hear everyday. I'm not enjoying this dreary weather but it is refreshing as a Stroke Survivor person who is constantly setting myself new goals to be surrounded by many others who have also set themselves new goals/ resolutions.  I actually have something in common with most people. Yay.

I seem to be at a stage now where I can separate my goals into Direct stroke goals, Indirect Stroke Goals and just general Life Goals.

My Direct Stroke Goals are of course to both Mentally and Physically recover/improve from my stroke.

My indirect stroke goals which I'm currently working towards are improving my health, being better at managing money, being organised with my time and "stuff".

One of my Life goals is to lose weight and then maintain this weight because

1. I want and need to be as healthy as possible


2. If I achieve another life goal (which is to have a good career) and I'm good at managing my money I can buy nice clothes (and shoes- if I achieve my direct stroke goal of recovering enough not to have a strapped up foot that can only manage flats) that I will wear again and again without having to have a "fat" and "thin" wardrobe which will also help me to be organised with "stuff"

Another life goal is to save money but I also really want to go on holiday with all my family.

 Okay, yes I am aware this sounds like I want it all. I have loved or sometimes not loved all of the "advice offered" on how to achieve goals or stick to your New Years Resolutions. I have heard and read over and over again that you really have to want to achieve said goal and yes I agree wholeheartedly. If I had not wanted to recover from my stroke with all my heart I would not have come so far as I have.

I thought my life was over (well at least life as I knew it was over) after my stroke, so I'm going to be healthy, lose weight but life is too short and precious not to eat cake if I want it.

I'm going to try my best to save up for a holiday with my family this year. Yes I could save money for a rainy day first but  life is too short not to enjoy it while you can.

Advice from someone who is not at all qualified to give advice but has set and achieved many a goal since June 2014 is yes, set goals but do not let them  ever stop you from enjoying your life and if you fancy a piece of cake- have it :)

Thursday 14 January 2016

How a moisturiser changed my life

Today I am sat at my Mum's waiting in for a exciting delivery. A new phone, I am so excited. I have been a iPhone kind of a girl previously but I am moving to a Microsoft phone. My laptop is Windows 10 so the two combined should be good/easy for my brain to get to grips with.

This week I have completed a Sudoku puzzle. It does not sound like such a big deal but it is the first one I have sat down and completed (and not given up due to my brain hurting or losing concentration) since my stroke.

Of course, I like everything to be balanced so it can't be all good news- nothing too bad but I had a minor melt down in Tesco - all because I could not think or find where deodorant or salt would be. I was in a different/bigger Tesco so the unfamiliarity was a bit too much.

Which leads me nicely on to how a face cream changed my life. No, it has not vastly improved my skin although I must say for a £1.99 cream from Lidl it is very good.  I had completely run out of moisturiser. I am lucky with my skin as long as I cleanse/moisturise everyday it stays pretty good but I notice and feel the difference if I miss out the moisturising stage.  With only a couple of pounds in my purse and limited shops available to me. that cream from Lidl was my only real choice. As I took it to the till to pay I was thinking about how fed up I was of being dictated to on what I choose to buy because of A) being disorganised with what items I have/don't have, B) being equally disorganised with my money. I promised myself I wouldn't let it happen again if I could help it.

I spent last year living day to day, week to week money wise but I am now more of a month to month person. Money is still on my mind a little more than it should but this is still very much a ongoing process as like my stroke recovery there is no overnight solution.

Good news for people around me - The reason I was looking for deodorant was that I am running low so I still smell beautiful at the moment. ;) I was just trying to be organised me which ironically explains why I need to be as organised as I can and get things done while I can.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

No New years resolutions

I recently came across this photo above and immediately thought that it perfectly summed up my 2015.  I would not go as far as to say I have been "Spiritually awakened" but I can certainly identify with the above.

Goodbye and Thank you 2015

You have been kind. Of course, life is always full of ups and downs and is never plain sailing but overall I have had a fabulous year.

Life after stroke

So, it is one and a half years since my stroke (yes that half a year is of extreme importance), I still have my daily struggles but I am still getting stronger and improving albeit not so obviously as times goes on. I am so so thankful when people stop me and tell me how well I am doing, its not that I need a confidence boost etc but is necessary as I sometimes just can not tell if I am doing well or not. So it really does mean so much for people to take the time out to recognise that I am still on the right path.
I have wrote and said many a time that my dream one day is that the stroke will seem quite insignificant in my life. I struggle with this dream now. I sometimes have days where I barely think about it but it is still always with me and I really don't know whether I will be able to or want to forget all about it.  I still suffer with Neuro fatigue or stroke tired as me and my daughter call it. It is nothing like normal tiredness. I have learnt and am still learning to manage this but its frustrating and can be really annoying to say the least. Its very hard to explain to people too. 
Physically- I am definitely improved. I am constantly trying to improve on this. When I walk, I try to beat my previous time etc. The worst I have felt recently was Christmas shopping. My core muscles ached so much and I just wanted to flop down -(that is the best way that I can describe it).   I can feel myself getting off track here but basically as much as in one day much further down the line I want the stroke to seem like a minor thing, there are days or moments when I feel like I could do with a big sign around me saying "this person has had a stroke,  please treat with care" so that people don't bump me, get cross if I can't get out of their way quick enough or get upset at me for taking the last seat if I need to rest.
My hand and foot are still improving but the progress feels so much slower than it once did.  I feel like I am still "just getting by". Yesterday I picked up a plate with my left hand. My brain was getting messages but I just could not figure out what the problem was. The plate was a bit too hot for my hand to handle but it wasn't until I felt it with my right hand that I understood what was happening. 

Ah, I will get there. I'm not too sure where "there" is but I'm trying to my best to enjoy this journey that I find myself on.

Stroke Related Goals

I am not making New Year Resolutions. I am however constantly giving myself life goals but unfortunately stroke recovery doesn't seem to work in measurements of time so neither can I. I can  jump on the spot and do star jumps so my next aim is to run. I have to laugh when you see or hear people saying "Anybody can run" I have learnt how to walk again but I can not physically run as my left side is still too heavy. I will run one day though I am sure.
I want to be able to feel my hand and foot. I'm using them all I can and am sure one day this will happen.
I want to be able to wear nice shoes and sandals - and not to have to wear my ankle brace to feel safe.

2015 Achievements

I have bought a actual pair of jeans and can do up the buttons and zip myself. They are two dress sizes smaller than pre stroke me and could probably be another size down again if I didn't need them baggier for ease of dressing.  This is amazing, thinking back to that day sat down with my physios telling me I would now have to wear T shirt, jogging bottoms and trainers, Look at how far I have come :)

I go for walks independently.

I find conversations a little easier. I still get a bit too tired to talk sometimes but its better.

Life Goals

Money- Again what I want to achieve won't be attained in a year but I am closer than I was this time last year and intend to be even closer next year.

Diet/Fitness/Health- All improved and still being improved. My actual goal was not to lose weight but I have. I can not tell you how much advice I have been given from people who have lost less weight then myself. I have not taken any of it on board. I don't want to completely give up carbs or survive on juices. I like food- eating and cooking. I am wanting to be healthy for life so for me it is all about moderation. I am stepping this up a bit this year as I would like my weight loss to be a bit more noticeable and I really do want to stay healthy. I also want a flatter tummy. The tummy has been very difficult to exercise this past two years and has left me feeling rather flabby.

2016- I know you won't be easy but lets try and have a good one!

Happy New year!!! xxx

Monday 7 December 2015

You can't always get what you want

I would like to be a bit richer, a lot thinner, have an amazing career and own my own house and car but this time of year especially, is when I realise how lucky I really am. 

In 2014 I had a stroke, Didn't want it and I didn't need it and it is certainly not something I will ever look back on with fond memories as it has made my life so difficult but I am lucky, I survived, I am alive and am making a excellent recovery. So therefore, I can accept what has happened to me but there are so many bad things happening all around us to good people which I can not make any sense off.  I feel so lucky that I am giving the chance to live again and I am so determined to live the best life I can.

I have not felt like writing much lately. Life has felt a bit harder as of late. The weather has on occasion made me more or less house bound and I have been so tired.
This time last year I was a lot more reliant on my Mum yet this year I am in my own home, cooking every meal, cleaning etc which I am so proud of but I must remember how important rest is.
Up until my phone broke I was keeping an eye on the weather to plan to get outside on nicer days but this got forgotten about with my lack of technology. Starting today, this is happening again. I can't control my energy levels completely so I can't completely rely on getting out and about if the weather is okay but all this planning certainly helps.

I started waking up naturally at 6am so  I decided to make myself a bit of a schedule to give my day some structure. I didn't make it too strict just gave myself half hour slots with what I should/could be doing during that time. I have found though that even if I wake up at 6am I can not start any jobs until after 9am as I get too tired so I will need to re do this schedule.

Something which is working better is my budget. I am pretty proud of how well I am doing with money. The big day is this Friday when I get to withdraw my Christmas money. I'm sure there are many people who think that is rather late but I needed to make sure I was on target for December and January bills too. Its amazes me how people can have their presents sorted by the summer. I love Christmas shopping in the winter plus my daughter has just wrote her letter to Father Christmas but has not included anything on there that she previously said she would ask for. :)

I wouldn't have recovered so well without my familys support who always amaze me by making my life easier. That is my biggest bit of advice for anyone recovering from a stroke- Make your life as easy as possible.

I am trying to sort something out at the minute which I need to do to help my recovery but despite ringing and leaving messages for this person to call me back I just can not sort it. I just don't have the energy to sort it all out. This is not helping the situation at all but makes me more grateful for those people around me who are always there for me.

I can't wait for the day when I am stronger enough to chase a bit harder for things I really want but my current fight is still taking up far too much energy.

Thursday 3 December 2015

Deliciously warm and sweet

That is how Sophie Kinsella describes the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan, a book that I have recently read and fell utterly in love with. I love to read and luckily having a stroke does not mean that I lost the ability to read but it does mean I now have a brain that does not work as well as it once did and a book that can hold my interest has now become something that I am ever so grateful for.  I tried to read a book not long after having a stroke, I can't help but smile at the thought of me reading the same page over and over again. Partly because I could not take it all in but also it felt like it was the correct thing to do.

I love the description of this book -

"The book is really about being brave; about striking out on your own when everything's against you"

I have spent the last two years not being able to feel like I can connect to anyone else but I felt immediately drawn to this character called Polly.

I read this book by accident because I had mislaid the book I was attempting to read somewhere between Manchester and York. My sister Ceri had lend it to me to make my train journey home go faster and be more enjoyable. It even made sitting right outside the toilet for almost three hours bearable.

There is a lot of talk of bread and other bakery goods which as someone who likes to bake and likes to eat I really enjoyed. 

I loved the part where she realises that she has a wardrobe full of clothes that she no longer wears as she is too busy living her new different life.  I have clothes, shoes and bags that I can no longer wear or enjoy at the moment. I must admit although I can't always dress as I wish (I'm still having to keep things simple) it is refreshing to have fewer choices. I have been researching into the "Capsule Wardrobe" I'm enjoying life being more simple and am really embracing being surrounded by fewer items yet things I really love.