Stroke Awareness Month and My Journey Back After My Stroke

Stroke Awareness Month and My Journey Back After My Stroke

As most of you know, I suffered a stroke last November early in the morning on Thanksgiving Day.

I wrote an update back in December, but since it’s been 6 months ago and May is National Stroke Awareness Month, I thought I would give you another update.

First let me give you a few facts about strokes:

  • Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. experiences a stroke.
  • Every 4 minutes someone in the U.S. dies from a stroke.
  • Stroke kills two times more women than breast cancer annually.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability.

My walking is almost completely back to normal.  I still stumble occasionally and my son always helps me walk up and down stairs so I don’t fall.

I went to Costa Rica in March and had no trouble getting around (other than my river tubing “incident”). Read about that HERE.

What you may not know is that I also have MS (muscular dystrophy), so the complete numbness is gone from the stroke and is back to the typical numbness I had prior to the stroke from MS.  I continue to use the text-to-speech tool in Google Documents to write my blog posts.  It’s a bit of a hassle, but better than pecking out every letter on the keyboard one at a time.

The one thing that did not improve nearly as much as I hoped with therapy is my speech.  I am understandable, but the clarity is gone from my speech and I’m more difficult to understand on the phone particularly.  I just can’t enunciate properly.  The letters “S” and “R” give me real grief!

Since the stroke, I have made a lot of positive changes in my life for my health.

As I have mentioned in the past, prior to my stroke I referred to myself as being an anti-vegetarian.  I just really hated vegetables and didn’t really crave fruits.

Now I drink a homemade smoothie every single day, and sometimes two of them.  I load them up with fruits and vegetables and have fallen in love with them.  That’s the reason I started sharing Smoothie Recipes on this blog.

In the past, I never ever looked at a food label.  Now I check them all looking for low-salt versions of the groceries I buy.

I also switched from regular soda to caffeine-free.  I allow myself one regular soda per day to fend off the caffeine withdrawal headache.

I still don’t drink enough water but drink more of it than before my stroke.

I also started faithfully doing Walk Away the Pounds, an at-home walking program, which is easier for me than walking on my gravel road.  Rain or shine, I walk at least one mile each day and occasionally do two miles.

My husband also bought me a Fitbit for Christmas so I can track my steps.  My goal is 8-10,000 steps each day.

I had never been told I have high blood pressure before my stroke, but I do, so I continue to monitor it and take medication and vitamin supplements.

I find it easy to add healthy things like drinking smoothies and exercise to my life, but it’s much tougher taking something away that you formerly did.

Now for the tough confession …

I have been a smoker since high school.  I quit twice in the past, but each time returned to it.

In the hospital, they applied nicotine patches to help me deal with the cravings and I continued using them for several months.  So I quit smoking, but my husband still smokes.

Once I finished the different levels of nicotine patches, when I would see him smoke, the urge started returning.  I bought an e-cigarette to help me overcome those urges, but after a while I found I was relying on it too much and have gone back to using the patch.  Wish me luck and pray for me that I might finally overcome this addiction once and for all.

Learn how to get involved at www.stroke.org/NSAM.  There you’ll find tools, resources, and free downloads to get started.  Stroke Awareness Month is a great opportunity to learn more.  You never know when you might need the information.

Stroke Awareness Month and My Journey Back #StokeMonth

Vaya con Dios,

 

 

Comments

  1. Roberta says:

    Dear Angie,
    So sorry this happened to you! But you do seem to be managing well.
    You are wise to be focusing on your health through your diet. It definitely makes a difference in our lives.
    I love to see all the wonderful things you create. Always so inspiring!
    Thanks for the update, and please keep them coming.

    Sincerely,
    Roberta
    P.S. As a smoker myself, I know the great courage it took to confess this habit to your followers.
    I promise to pray for your ability to stay away from it for good:)

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your stroke. I hope you continue to heal. And I think it’s great that you’re sharing your story to raise awareness. I had a scare a few weeks ago where I was at the dentist and my blood pressure was so high they were concerned I was in danger of having a stroke. I knew so little about strokes that I didn’t even realize how bad my numbers were at first (180 over 100.) So I think always great when people do things to raise awareness and help educate others. My blood pressure problem turned out to be temporary – my doctor thinks it was the result of an adverse reaction to the pain medication I was given for a tooth infection I had. I am trying to get better educated on this subject now so I can prevent future problems from occurring. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Ilene G. says:

    I wish you the best. This is just an idea.I really enjoyed recalling my favorite projects for the contest and it made me think. You have a huge archive of projects and ideas.
    Maybe you can take people’s favorite ones and feature them and then to take it further ask readers to show you their versions of them. It would be interesting to see or even funny to see the ones that did not work out. For instance I saw your little heater painted white with a light in it in the corner of the room and thought it was a great idea. So I purchased one at a local online auction. I went to pick it up put it in my car but it
    Was filled with stinky kerosene and of course leaked in my car trunk. It takes quite awhile for that stink to dissipate. I ended up just selling it as is at my yard sale.
    You make it seem so easy.

  4. So sorry to hear this news..I will keep you in prayer….I just discovered the benefits of sparkling mineral water…..Try replacing that for soda …Thank you for the helpful information…Today I will push myself to get out and start walking and ditch the amount of salt I consume ….Praying for a complete recovery for you…Love your blog….

  5. Alice Smith says:

    Wishing U only the best.

  6. Terri Austill says:

    Angie, thanks for sharing your story! Very inspiring! I quit smoking over 10 years ago (after smoking almost 35 years). I used Chantix and I still have no cravings after all these years. Even around other smokers. I also had no adverse side effects. If your doctor thinks it’s safe for you to try, one month is usually all it takes. Good luck! This is a fight worth winning!

  7. Dear Angie,
    Glad to hear you are making improvements. You are probably sick of hearing advice about quitting smoking but as a former smoker I can tell you take it one day at a time. Each day not smoking is a success and if you fall off the ashtray (instead of the wagon…lol) it’s just a bump in the road and just get back on track. I’m going on 21 years as a non-smoker. I used the patch. I quit because my husband had a heart attack and needed surgery, his dr told both of us if we were going to continue smoking he wasn’t going to waste his time doing surgery. We both quit as of that day. I almost started again when dealing with the stress of my husbands illness but someone said to me “you know having a cigarette might make you feel better for a minute or two but it’s not going to make the problems go away and then you have to quit all over again” . For your health I do hope your husband is not smoking around you. Hope you don’t mind if I sound like I’m preaching but I know for my husband and I, quitting smoking was the best gift we ever gave ourselves. I wish you success with not smoking and continued healing from the stroke.
    One day at a time, it does get easier❤️

  8. Angie, you have made so many positive changes in your life and have come a long way! Thank you for sharing your story and the information with us! I will keep you in my prayers for continued healing and strength!

  9. Teddee Grace says:

    Thanks for being so candid. Hopefully it will wake up a lot of your readers who need a nudge now rather than waiting for the worst to happen. I really admire you for continuing your blog and travel under these circumstances. It makes me feel like a slacker!

  10. I read your post with great interest, I think you are remarkable to over come so many obsticles, as for the smoking, well, I smoked for forty two years, even after my mum died of lung cancer I carried in, but then I was diagnosed with COPD along with lots of health issues, I stopped, simple, did the patches, tried those inhaler things, but that just gave me heartburn, but I haven’t had a cigarette in five years, better late than never I hope…just believe in yourself, you have over come so much, quitting smoking, you can do it…stay well dear lady..xx

  11. SusanIrene says:

    Thank you Angie for sharing your journey. Hopefully you will have the strength to continue to fight the smoking battle and prayers that your husband will decide to accompany you on this mission.

  12. Marlene Stephenson says:

    Thank you so much for this information and you will be in my prayers. Guess you could say it was a wake-up call for me when my mom had open heart surgery and was in my 30’s i saw what she went through, i never took an elevator and started taking arobics or walking and eating my vegtables cause i never wanted to go through all of that. When i retired i found a free exercise class at Sr.Citizens and go 4 times a week.It is hard to break old habits but know you will do it, i’m cheering you on!!!

  13. Wendy Johnson says:

    I was a smoker too despite being an oncology nurse(retired now for health reasons) and like you I quit many times, sometimes for years. The final time my sister gave me Chicken Soup for the Soul and I admit I thought the stories were silly until I came to one where the writer said …if they would just pray God would help them stop. ..I am sure I prayed before but that time it worked. I will pray for you .

  14. I’m so glad that you are returning to almost normal. I enjoy your blog so much. I’m very overweight so I need to get on health wagon too. Hope you continue to improve.

  15. Vicki Bucy says:

    I wish so much that your husband would quite smoking, not only to help you but to prolong his life and be more healthy. One thing that made me quit smoking was something that my husband told me when we were dating … “I love you and care about you. Smoking is going to shorten your life and I couldn’t stand to see you do that to yourself. You matter to me.” When he said that, I immediately put the cigarettes down and never picked them up again. The thought that someone cared enough to tell me that was all it took.

    Your story has helped me to embark on a more healthy lifestyle. Over the years I had let my weight creep up and I am on pills for high blood pressure.I have been on weight watchers for one month and have lost 8 pounds. I also bought a fit bit and am challenged each day to break my goal of 8-10 thousand steps as well as get that 30 minutes of exercise. Best of luck to you and much happiness.

  16. WOW Angie! I didn’t know about the stroke. I’ve been so busy in the last few months that I often don’t read much of the blogs I follow. It seems we are getting to that age where ‘things happen’. I’m lucky in that I was given a heads up by my doctor that if I didn’t change my ways I WOULD get Type 2 diabetes. So I’m working on it, no more sweets, less carbs, healthier choices. What you’ve had to go through is incredibly hard. Keep going with it girl, you can do it! You are amazing and such a strong person.

  17. Angie so sorry about your health sounds like your on a roll to better days good job it’s tough you have a good spirit about both your illnesses. I am a 60 something wife and mom. Had a stroke when I was 10 years old learned to speak walk over the years never regained the use of my left hand. But I managetypethis with 1finger ha! Have a good life regardless as long as we have strong wills we can overcome!! God’s reasons aren,t known. Love sewing and painting and your blog! Keep the spirit in my prayers mg

  18. I’m sorry that your speech hasn’t improved as much as you hoped, Angie. Hopefully it will get better. I have never smoked but I imagine it being very difficult to stop. You’re on a great way and you can do it! Wishing you all the best!

  19. Terri Hughes says:

    Continued prayers for your healing from the stroke and the MS.

  20. Long time follower of yours, had to write and offer encouragement. My father smoked but was able to give it up and I know it added years to his life. He taught me that it was impossible to nag anyone to give it up since smoking is so, so addictive. My brother tried for years and I never thought he would be able to shake the habit, but he did. I never took up the nasty habit, but my late husband did, dispite a family history of heart attacks. My son vapes which doesn’t seem like the best solution, but again, smoking is a terrible, addictive habit. Good luch to you and your husband. Thanks for the healt tips which I need to take to heart since I am beginning to notice that my age is catching up with me. None of us are bullet proof, which is how we all feel when we are young.
    Good luck, friend!

  21. Prayers for complete recovery from stroke especially speech and a cure for MS! Blessings! I’ve learned through some health events/trials to live life one day at a time!

  22. Keep going Angie! You are doing great. Seems a lot of us are trying to become healthier. I’m impressed with the 8-10,000 steps. I know that is the suggested, but I have a hard time getting over 3,200. Argh! Of course I’m not tracking all my steps, I refuse to wear a thing on my wrist that connects me to a little computer. Sometimes I carry my little computer (phone) in my pocket, but not always so I guess I’m not always sure how many steps I take.

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