Managing the Physical Impact
"Your body can withstand almost anything, it is your mind you must overcome.” Unknown
The first step to recovering from the physical impact of a stroke, is for us to accept the fact that we are different, whether we like it or not. Our challenge is to learn how to manage it!
The Flagstaff Medical Hospital neurologist told me over and over again that I’d had a massive ischemic stroke and my future looked pretty bleak!
JUST what I wanted and needed to hear!
Now for understanding how to manage this disappointing and devastating result...
Ego issues and fear were my initial obstacles to realize, accept and overcome.
I looked so different - deformed!!
My body functioned so differently! How was I to manage this?!
What happened to my balance, agility and core strength?!
Why did my voice change?!
My left side doesn’t work at all! What am I supposed to do?!
Will I be wheelchair-bound forever???!!!
Will people pity me? I certainly don’t want that!
Will I ever be whole again?
Geez, this sucks!
The questions continued to torture me until I reached the one-year mark when my fuzzy brain began to become less-fuzzy. This was because I attended regular psychotherapy treatments for my PTSD and other emotional effects from my stroke.
I also received:
natural (versus chemical) treatments for my extremely low serotonin and dopamine levels by my naturopath
regular laser and other neurological treatments from my chiropractic neurologist
socialized more with my friends
meditated, visualized for balance and improved health
attended PT/OT therapy sessions 5 times a week/4 hours per day
got lots of sleep!
Identifying the right neuro-specialized therapy clinic can be a challenge, especially if you have no idea what you’re looking for or what questions to ask.
You need to ask:
WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR TO GET THE BEST TREATMENT AND RESULTS?
You’re looking for...
Highly trained and dedicated neuro-specialized physical therapists (PT’s) and occupational therapists (OT’s). Therapists who are not neurologically trained are not what you want, because it is a very specialized field, and you need that!
One-on-one therapy sessions with consistent therapists that last at least 45 minutes. The ability to work with the same therapist day after day, week after week, and month after month is critical to your recovery. Consistency and rapport are extremely important to your recovery and peace of mind.
A professional, experienced therapist and neuro-organization with an abundance of success in treating neuro-survivors.
Referrals from other patients. Healthgrades is a wonderful site to read reviews from patients about their doctors. Click here to check it out.
Below are the devices I use during my therapy sessions and for home therapy.
Bioness H200: This electronic hand device is magnificent! I use mine in therapy with Mark Ritter and at home, where I perform home exercises designed by Mark.
Due to work with this device, I’ve been able to pick up foam pieces and drop them with my thumb and index finger, both with the device and without! That means that work with this device is creating new neural pathways!
*Bioness has now created a new wireless version of the H200. Click here to check it out.
Bioness L300 GO: This is the latest version of their leg device, (the first version and now the GO version) I’ve used since the second month post stroke.
They also offer a device for the thigh called the L300 Plus for better control over bending and straightening your knee, to help you walk more naturally. Your therapist will be the one to determine whether this would benefit your unique circumstance or not.
You can click here to find a short video with me using both the L300Go and H200.
*Please note: You will need your doctor’s approval and a script for purchase of any of these items. Click here to find out more.
The Mirror Technique: This technique (see picture below) is scientifically proven to regain the use of your affected hand. The way the process works is: you place your affected hand inside the section without the mirror, and then place your non-affected hand on the side with the mirror. You then perform movements with your non-affected hand that you want your affected hand to regain. The result? The brain begins to believe your affected hand can perform exactly like your non-affected hand! As always, massive repetition and consistency are the keys to success! Click here to order.
My therapy regime now involves more time at home performing OT and PT exercises with less time in the clinic. I also spend time increasing my tricep muscle strength, and improving other stroke-affected areas at Ability 360 with my wonderful personal trainer Brielle Carter! She has a fabulous article, click here to read more about this wonderful clinic.
Am I 100% where I want to be?
No, but I know stroke recovery is a lifelong process - a marathon, not a sprint! I will continue to pursue this worthwhile goal for a lifetime, if necessary, or until I reach my desired goals!
Tune in next week to hear from an amazing Occupational Therapist, Mark Ritter and what he has to say about The Art of Hand Recovery.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful rest of your day.