I was doing MOTOmed 🚴🏻♀️ a few days ago (I try and do it every second day at home when I’m not in physiotherapy) and I reminded myself of my blog. I was wondering and thinking what should my next post be about… I couldn’t come up with anything 💥😔 the next day doing the same, something was telling me that I should look back on the past year since this year is coming to an end and ideas just kept flowing so I’m here writing this ✍🏼☺️…
People that know me know well that I’m all about listening to my body and my intuition, one of many things I’ve learnt on this journey, so I decided that I’d make this post an analysis of 2022 in regards to the improvements I’ve made. I firmly believe that you should work in silence and let your success be the noise, so I try to be as much private as I can be in life, BUT blogging about my journey to recovery ❤️🩹 requires me to be transparent and on top of that I promised at the very beginning that I’d be honest and give you as much detail as I can- so even though I don’t like talking about myself publicly, blogging about my journey has to be an exception 🤷🏻♀️✌🏼. To be completely honest I see that as a good thing because I’m kind of bad at acknowledging the improvements I make, the importance of them no matter how little they are and basically patting myself on the bak sometimes… it’s so true when they say that you’re your biggest critic 🤦🏻♀️🙄. As I’m writing this now I’m thinking to myself: “I can’t believe that I’m the author of these words” seriously 😳 when I write I feel like words are flowing into my head and I’m just transferring them onto “paper”. Sometimes I randomly think of a blog post and boom! 💥 I spontaneously start creating it in my head. My brain gets flooded 🤯, I even form sentences while I sleep 😂 in my dreams 🙉. So anyway to come back to this blog post I decided to make a list of things that changed in the past 12 months, a year of therapy in Poland 🇵🇱. I’m going to focus only on things that play a role in my recovery process, because that’s what this blog is about. What I’m trying to say is that probably more has changed in my life, but it’s irrelevant for the purposes of this blog 😉. So let’s begin!
🌟 I passed 2nd year of college and I’m closer to becoming a naturopathic nutritionist 👩🏻⚕️👩🏻🎓. Why is this significant? Ohh where do I even start?! 🙉🤯 In a nutshell, because I’m passionate about the subject, because I’m doing it even though it’s very tough with one functional arm and being wheelchair bound, because it keeps me sane and gives me a purpose on this very LONG journey to recovery, because I’m learning a lot of useful information about lifestyle and diet that I can apply to make differences to my body and mind- for example that fasting increases stem cell production and that’s so important in recovery. That’s just one of SOO many things and I’m so glad I’m gaining this knowledge. What we eat has such an influence on how we feel, what our body looks like, our muscles and so on. And because, wait I’ll say it… I’m proud of myself 🤭 for studying online with my circumstances. There I said it… I’m proud of myself!
I recently watched a stand up comedy show that I highly recommend- Jack Whitehall “I’m only joking” (it’s available on Netflix and online too). It turns out I belong to a fasting “cult” 😂😂😂 Go me! 🧘🏻♀️🤞🏼💁🏻♀️
🌟 I improved my sitting balance, therefore my core muscles. My lower back is less sore because my core muscles are getting stronger and I’m getting stronger. This translates to improved turning when laying down, better standing, better posture and improvement in sitting balance when sitting unsupported (even sharing this photo is a huge progress, I didn’t want to allow my physiotherapist to take a photo of me in session, never mind sharing it publicly 🙀🤭). 👇🏼
🌟 My right (most affected) hand is looser and has more movement, even though it isn’t functional yet (not yet, but it will be), I’m able to do more with it, I’m able to move my fingers more, closing wasn’t really an issue from the start (that’s what stroke does to your hands- usually affects finger extension more), opening and extending from a closed fist always was a challenge. That has definitely improved and I can actively open my hand more 👍🏼✋🏼🏼🤌🏼. Videos attached below 👇🏼. I’m learning to open and close wheelchair break with my right arm 💪🏼 and I’m better at engaging it in exercises and everyday life, I’ve become good at ignoring my right arm over the years, I’m changing that! I have to remember I have two hands 🤲🏼
I know that when you’re looking at these videos you might think that it’s nothing, but believe me when I say it’s a huge improvement! I was recently talking to my friends back in Ireland saying that I’m constantly making improvements, they’re things that aren’t really noticeable with a naked eye BUT I feel it. I’m in this body for 7 years now, well 30 years overall but the “disabled” body I’m talking about here. I absolutely hate the word “disabled” 🙄😠… I’m just using it so you know exactly what I’m trying to say and so you can understand how it feels. A body that isn’t working properly, not as before, basically not physically able to carry out certain tasks, doesn’t listen to the brain in a way. So yeah, being in this body is new, but not totally new to me since I’m dealing with it for several years 🥺. Because I’m in this situation for a long time now and because I’m so spiritual and in touch with my body I notice every little change. To be completely honest my body feels different every day, there’s always something new. Be it that a certain muscle is more active, or I haven’t felt it working before, a part of my body feeling looser or seeing more movement, even if it’s half a centimeter, let’s say with my finger or thumb. I’m frustrated that the progress is slow but then I’m so thankful that there is progress, that it hasn’t stopped and that I’m not going backwards, which could easily happen.
🌟 My pathological muscle tone (spasticity) decreased, which means that I have more control in my legs, more flexibility and movement.
🌟 Speaking is dependent on breath and mine has been very shallow since my stroke. My breathing has improved therefore my speech has improved. I’m doing Wim Hoff method to increase my lung capacity (and I’m getting better and better slowly), I sing (not in public 🤭) and I started recording voice messages to my family and friends ☺️. When I’m listening back to them I can hear that my speech quality has gotten better. I’m loud enough, I’m not running out of breath as much- I’m able to say more before I take another breath in (increased breath control) and I speak more clearly 👌🏼. A quick note here, because I’m learning to appreciate what I have and to see how far I’ve come. Statistics say that Locked-in syndrome (LIS) affects around 1% of people who have a stroke (only 1% 🙉). It is a condition for which there is no treatment or cure, and it is extremely rare for patients to recover any significant motor functions. About 90% die within four months of its onset. I survived, I came out of LIS 🔒 after 4-5 months, communicating by blinking only, using alphabet board 👀 and I’m constantly improving. It’s safe to say that I’m a miracle! ☺️ Not only did I suffer a one in a million stroke at the age of 23 but on top of that I developed a condition that only 1% of stroke patients ever get, and 90% of people with this condition die just a few months after. That’s crazy! It’s unbelievable when I bring it to my attention yet again. I’m amazed every single time! 😲
🌟 I became more spiritual and more in touch with my body 🧘🏻♀️🏽.
I’m going to focus mainly on my mind in the coming year, as I am sure that’s where my main problem is. Of course I suffered a brain injury that damaged my neuronal pathways and so on, that’s why physiotherapy is so important here. Repetition to make new pathways in the brain 🧠 (neuroplasticity), exercises to move my body constantly, to build muscle, increase strength, relearn movements and so much more. Doing physiotherapy regularly allows me to work on self discipline, to work on my body but also on the mind by being challenged, facing fear, to toughen up, to temper my nervous system but also to change surroundings, socialise (my social life doesn’t really exist… and I always was this person from Pink’s song: “Get The Party Started” 😜💃🏻🍻🥂 “I’m coming up so you better get this party started… get this party started on a Saturday night, everybody is waiting for me to arrive…” la la la 😂 well, not that everyone was literally waiting for me to arrive 🙉 but I was always life and soul of the party 🤞🏼, the social butterfly 💁🏻♀️🦋). So that’s one of the areas of my life that has changed 360 degrees 🥺 BUT “a butterfly is a proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness and still become something beautiful” so I’m full of hope and believe that it’s only temporary.
🦋 Your mind, emotions and body are instruments and the way you align and tune them determines how well you play life 🦋
So, coming back to 2023, I decided to focus and work on my MIND mainly, along physical therapy. Why am I sharing this on my blog you may ask? 🤔 because I’m sure that many stroke survivors, everyone really needs to become aware that body and mind are ONE, that when you do it in your mind your body will follow and because if I write down what I intend to do I have you holding me accountable. There’s more motivation and some kind of responsibility to stick to the plan. I know that this concept of mind & body connection is now well known to everyone, and I’m also so good at the theory and knowing all the facts, HOWEVER applying it is a totally different thing 🙄. I’m aware of the concept, I know what I need to do, I’m aware that there’s a blockage in my mind SO I’m half way there 🤞🏼, but seriously awareness is key, it’s half of success as they say! There are 3 main aspects I need to work on:
- Overcoming fear
- Believing in myself
- Loving and accepting myself
🎄 Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all of you that follow my journey to recovery 🦋 ~Klaudia 🦋