Monday, February 18, 2013

A New Direction

You haven't heard from me in a while.  That's because there has not been much to report.  Stroke recovery, as you know, is S-L-O-W!  I could report every few months and tell you basically the same thing - a little more leg movement, not much arm movement, a little more of this, not much of that.

January 5, 2013 marked an unbelievable 2 years since Al's stroke.  I'm relieved to have come this far, but I'm also concerned about the outlook for the future.  Two years is the time frame in which stroke victims typically see the most improvement.  Does that mean that Al won't continue to improve?  I hope not.  But in addition to being a common experience, it can also be a mental block.  Do we stop trying after 2 years because there is no more progress to be made?  Again, I hope not, but it's definitely an obstacle.

This is the situation today, February 18, 2013.  Al still walks with a cane and an AFO (ankle-foot-orthososis).  It is made of 2 pieces of heavy-duty plastic to stabilize his ankle and calf.  His leg is so muscular that he often breaks the AFO and has to have it repaired or re-made.  Strong muscles are good, but lack of control over those muscles is not so good - he has so much tone (rigidity) in his leg that I can't even physically stretch it out for him.  He has to put his weight on it to stretch his calf muscles.  He has use of his upper arm, but still no voluntary movement below the elbow.  It's frustrating for him, to say the least, to have a 20 lb. appendage just hanging around.  

I have been of the mindset for a long time now that he should begin to accept his challenges are and try to move forward with his life.  But I can't fully understand what it's like for him.  I am not a man who can no longer provide for his family the way he wants to.  I can't force him to act.  I often get frustrated and just want to make him do what I want him to do.  But I can't live his life for him.

With that being said, I am going to change the direction of this blog a bit.  I can't keep blogging about the progress (or lack thereof) that my husband is making in post-stroke therapy, even though he is still attending PT and OT. 

I am going to make this a more general therapy blog.  If I'm not going to write about physical or occupational therapy, then what am I going to write about, you may ask?  I guess I will just call it Spiritual Therapy.

I am not currently attending any therapy sessions for my own depression, and our family has put family therapy on hiatus as well.  I am personally doing ok with depression.  It's been a better year than most, which is quite odd, given the circumstances, but I believe that has a LOT to do with God's grace, and also something to do with the extra sunlight and warmth we've experienced in Michigan this winter.

So, here is the launch of my "new" Postcards with Therapy blog, where we will discuss all sorts of good things:  depression,
anxiety, self-pity, fear, marital trials, financial crises, and even addiction.  

I am not afraid to share the most intimate of my suffering because I know that serve a God who is Almighty!  I haven't shared much about my faith, but as I progressed in writing this blog, I realized that if I didn't include this very part of myself, the blog wouldn't be complete.  The process of therapy wouldn't be complete without Jesus Christ at the center.  

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NIV.

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