Thursday, 29 December 2016

Further tough times

It has been a very long time since I have posted anything in my blog. The reason I haven't posted is that I discovered that my parents found my blog and it made me feel uncomfortable that they were reading things that I didn't want them to read. I don't want them to worry too much.  I know I can't stop them reading this but I hope that they accept that this is something that helps me and is not meant to cause worry. So to pick up where I left off......

This is another quite tough post to make although I actually feel positive about its consequences.  It does describe how depression can have a cumulative impact on a person.

I had to have an echocardiogram to see if there were any obvious reasons for my stroke.  It was very interesting watching the images on the screen.  They meant nothing at all to me.  At the end of the test I was told that there were obvious signs of a stroke but that I have a heart defect.  I have a bicuspid valve. this happens when two of the three leaves of a valve fuse together.  It is quite a common defect and doesn't normally require any specific attention although it can cause problems in later life.  As a result of this I will have to have regular echocardiograms.  I will also require a small heart monitor to be inserted into my chest to check for other irregularities.  

It seems to me that what else could get thrown at me: first a stroke, then kidney stones and now a heart defect.  Whilst the most serious issue was the stroke it did seem that there was a never ending stream of issues were arising.  As the heart defect was hereditary I told my dad and asked him to let the rest of my sisters and brother know.  They could also have the defect and I wanted to make sure that they were aware so they could get themselves tested if they wished.

It was shortly after this that I had a run of four consecutive days where a series of events affected me and were difficult to deal with. 

First: someone i knew of had a stroke at about the same time as me.  Initially he was in a much worse condition than me and was in intensive care for some time.  The thing that affected me that within a few months since his stroke he was almost fully recovered whereas I felt I had made little progress.  I had permanent sight loss and there was no news of any rehab for the problems with executive function. I was pleased that he had made so much progress it was hard to accept that I had had made no significant improvement.

Second: the MP Jo Cox was murdered.  This was a terrible event that shocked the world.  I could not stop thinking about her children and that they would grow up without their mother.  The coverage was wall-to-wall and in hindsight I should have turned it off.  I didn't and the distress that this event caused was preying on my mind.

Third: the 3 month anniversary of my stroke.  I have started to consider my stroke as a different person inside of me. This new person was doing their best to bring me down and it was my job to fight it and eventually beat it. When you start dating someone there is an initial period where you remember little anniversaries, first week, first month etc.  It is like that with my stroke and I had reached another little anniversary 3 months or one quarter of a year.  Again this made me think about what had happened, how it had affected me and how little progress I had made.  

Fourth: it was my 28th wedding anniversary.  You can't help but reminisce about the person you were when you got married. 28 years ago I had a full head of hair, a happy personal life, a job that I worked hard at and enjoyed, I also had a brain that functioned properly.  Comparing that day with now, I still have a very happy personal life but I have a lot less hair, a job that I love but cannot do and a damaged brain that is struggling to recover.

So these four things on consecutive days added together made me feel very down. It really seemed that my stroke was winning.  It is difficult not to start to wallow in self pity and really get you into a bad position.  The one thing that I have always had on the positive side is Stephanie and Benjamin and Bethany.  I know that they have also struggled with my stroke both the shock and worry of the initial event but also of how how it has changed my life.  They are always with me no matter what I am doing if not physically then they are in my mind.

So I say to my stroke you will not beat me. I am a strong person and I have a lot of support that means that if I stumble they will stop me falling!!

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