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Monday, February 8, 2016

Day in the life

My life is a continuum. Ups, downs, absolutely sideways.  It seems to always be trying to reach balance.  Sometimes I am aware of the ways it does that, a lot of times not.  
I had a couple dramatic medical adventures. 
I have two kids, got a divorce. 
I have one great kid still at home.  He is 16, and rife with the joys and decimating blows that they can feel. He is also taller than me. It so hard when your baby boy grows taller than you!  Sigh. 
My 20 year old is making her way into an adventurous, successful adulthood. She chose the bumpy, bruising path to get there, which is not the way a parent wants their child to travel on, but it has certainly made her a wise 20 year old. 
I got remarried. 
Throw on top of that shock, recovery, getting a job, teenagers, new love. My life has not really quieted down. I am still working on that - The quieting down part.

A major thing for me is that 4.5 years out from the stroke I am still gaining skills, retraining my brain. My job has a lot to do with that.  It daily pushes me to make quick decisions in many arenas: financial, juggling, managing, clear interpersonal communication. 

I was thinking this morning (and getting cranky) about a couple who saw me after the stroke. They treated me like I was now operating with minuscule intellectual capabilities.  This was a new thing for me. There is a huge psychological hurdle we must jump through - we have had a challenge thrown down in front of us by having a stroke in the first place, but there is a form of discrimination that kicks in from former colleagues, nurses and friends. (My docs do not fall into this area, they are fully versed in the randomness of brain capabilities - with or without a stroke - and have not shown this propensity.) I am a confident, kind and stubborn person, but now my stubbornness is not viewed as my temperament, if it is difficult for people, it is viewed as brain damage.  When I am having a brain fart and cannot recall something, the blame gets assigned to the stroke. NOT what it most likely is --- that I am a menopausal woman with changing hormones and body. 
If they are aware of my medical history -- they attribute every negative interaction with me as stroke related. 
If they don't know my stroke history? They have no problems other than they get to deal with a stubborn, confident and kind person - and we all roll with that sort of stuff everyday in the real world.  
This is why I don't tell people my medical history. When I do, I get watched over and mothered. Am I working too hard, too long, quality of life discussions, etc etc. including the insidious "I am now a weaker being" than my previous self. I am aware of my health risks. That I carry a risk in my body that others do not have, an increase in a second stroke.  Or for clarification, I carry a known increase of risk,  as opposed to the general populace which may have a greater risk but they are not yet a statistic. I may live to a ripe old age and get taken out by cancer. Or dementia. Or twist my ankle wearing some gorgeous but unstable fancy shoes, get blood poisoning from a cut and keel over.  There are so many things in this world that are a risk, and that tightly controlling a known risk - stroke - won't really keep me safe.  So drugging me up the yin yang with side effects and all because "there is a decrease in risk" for white, 70 year old men to have multiple strokes does not really speak to me as a white female 50 year old of Peruvian-German origins. I understand my docs want to really err on the side of caution. I understand I am lucky, in so many ways.  I get that work is stressful for me, and I would decrease my risk if I did not do it. But I do love working. It is all a dance. And we all have the same outcome the end. 

Me and daughter



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