I’ve been reading “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey” by Jill Bolte Taylor and wanted to share this quote with you.
“Recovery, however you define it, is not something you do alone, and my recovery was completely influenced by everyone around me. I desperately needed people to treat me as though I would recover completely.”
So true….I was having a bit of a wobble, and this quote completely nails it for me.
I cannot change circumstance, but learn from it rather than being a passive helpless participant. I cannot change circumstance but I do have control over how I react to it.
Over the weekend an old friend came to visit, co-incidentally he had a stroke 6 years ago. His encouragement resonated, “you will get better…. this is not how you are going to be, trust me…..”. Just a few words of hope, but something that I really needed to hear. The multitude of cautious professionals, who have been treating me since my event, fear to opine so simply and the right words can be such a powerful catalyst.
The Anat Baniel Method and Clinical Pilates are the perfect marriage of treatment for me . With Pilates I am learning that focus on my breathing allows you to be more present in the body, and with both approaches awareness of movement is key.
I continue to gain benefits and enjoyment in my weekly clinical pilates sessions. This past week the focus has been on my neck. The brain computes movement of the whole body. The mouth, tongue and jaw take a huge part of the brain, and the movement of the neck and back are intimately connected to it.
Slow is extremely important, but at times I find it quite counter-intuitive, so often I catch myself rushing. Moving slowly takes much more control. Fast the brain can only do what it has already learned, and only by moving slowly are we able to upgrade the quality of movement. Its hard to change patterns that are already so ingrained, and I need to trust that change will happen with neuroplasticity, and my brain will heal and recover.
For me, it’s been important to have a space devoted to recovery, somewhere free from distractions. When I had my stroke we were busily renovating, a former office space was redundant and was ideal . So it was decided to use this room as a place where I could concentrate on my recovery. Previously I used a community gym for daily exercise, but with the initial problems that I experienced with mobility having a space at home seemed a better solution.
My first acquisition was a treadmill that my son wasn’t using. I already possessed a good selection of weights, resistance bands, yoga mats and blocks. Slowly I am adding . I have several balls of varying diameters, from large, to small and weighted. I recently purchased a yoga bolster , which has proved to be wonderful new prop, especially useful to do my chest opening work- and infinitely more stable than the ball I used prior to getting it.
Be very cautious though when assembling your space, always be cognizant of your safety. For example, a treadmill provides a moving surface that may be inappropriate for some stroke survivors. Even something as simple as a ball can facilitate a loss of balance that can cause a fall. Having a non slip floor is important, as is appropriate footwear, stabilizing bars or a solid chair is helpful for balance.
* I want to caution anyone reading my account, that I am no medical expert, I am writing this as a personal account of how stroke has affected me, and it’s my journey of recovery.