Life After Stroke: Two Years On
26 July 2016
I've been planning what to write in this post since some time in April. I would type something then delete it, type then edit, type then delete, and for about a month the line 'I've been planning what to write in this post since April' had been the content of this post. I decided to read back through my one year post stroke update, and I started that by saying I don't know what I'm going to write but I'm just going to write from the heart, and I guess that's just what I'm going to do now.
So the biggest change to my life in the past year is my independence. I started uni in September and since then I've noticed I massive change in my confidence and my independence. Obviously I'm living on my own now and without my parents, so coping with life has stepped up a gear. After my stroke, just coping, was a massive thing, just getting through the day without getting flustered was a big deal, and my mammoth to do lists keep me sane now I'm at uni. The day my mum and dad dropped me off we had a good cry and they just said, if it's too hard, if you're not ready, that's ok we'll just come and pick you up and you can try again next year. Well, so far, 10 months in, things are ok. I'm studying midwifery which, I know I might be biased, but it is the most rewarding, yet exhausting degree out there I think. I'm constantly on the go, which to be honest doesn't mean I ever get chance to recharge my batteries. It's really difficult and sometimes I'll come in from my thirteen hour shift walk straight up there stairs and into bed. But I'm loving my course, and I feel so thankful about the fact I get the opportunity to do it. Before I started, in fact around a year ago, I went to my occupational health appointment and the Doctor there essentially said to me 'you probably won't manage this, you'll struggle, I don't think you're ready, just give it another year and see how you feel then' - well to that Doctor I tell you, one year later, I'm glad I decided to start when I did and I might just clinch a first in my first year (fingers crossed)! Still stand by waiting a year?
Onto anxiety. So things with this are still a bit of an issue, but the problem wasn't going to fix overnight and I knew that. There are loads of things that get to me that I just have no idea why. Sometimes I'll just find myself crying in bed at night for no apparent reason, or stressing about something really tiny, but I just won't be able to get it out my head. I can't pinpoint things that get to me, they vary so much, sometimes it'll be being around people, and feeling like I need my own space, then other times it'll be feeling alone. Since I came to uni, I've not really had any contact with my psychologist and I do kind of miss having those meetings. I felt like she always gave me techniques to help, but she was also just an ear to hear really. I still practice what she preached and I've started trying to find ways to try to manage it myself. I've started to listen to youtube clips of meditation when I'm struggling to sleep at night if I've got things on my mind. They do help me relax, and I can feel myself de-stressing so I'm feeling more at ease - would definitely recommend them if anyone out there struggles at night.
Two years after a stroke they say life is as good as it's going to get. They say the brain can't do anymore healing, and any problems that are still there are likely to stay. I've seen this from the stroke group I used to attend before I came to uni...those before two years were steadily progressing, those past two years seemed to have hit some kind of brick wall. So right now, if this is as good as it's going to get, then I'm pretty happy with that. I would say right now I'm pretty happy with life (aside from the two giant essays I've got due in a week that aren't finished yet!).
My next challenge is catching a flight for the first time since my stroke - in just a couple of weeks time. I would be lying if I was to say I wasn't nervous but I just need to do it - and I know once I have there'll be no stopping me jetting around the world! Long term challenges may or may not include some sort of half marathon (but lets not tell me my Mum because that would give her sleepless nights!). After practically a year off from running in my first year of uni I've recently started getting back into it and I've kind of found a love for it again. It clears my head, get me out in the fresh air and feeling all healthy. I'm thinking about going the running club at uni next year to try get out and about a bit more and meet some new people.
So to my blog - my gap year was the year for my blog and unfortunately things have been a bit hit and miss with it this year. Adjusting to uni life and working shifts and coping with my workload and all that, I've kind of just let time run away with me a bit. But this year I'm really going to try upload at least one post a week. I miss writing these little bits of rubbish! I promise I will try better! I have two weeks off soon, and although I'm away for a week, I'm going to use as much of my spare time as possible to get some new posts put together!
This time last year I ended my blog post with 'So all you can do it give life your best shot, live every moment, and follow your heart - have no regrets'. Pretty much the mantra I'm living by right now. The past year has been an ultimate rollercoaster - cliché I know but true. My emotions have been all over the place as I've dealt with the hurdles life has thrown at me over the past year, but it's been a pretty good first year at uni, and a brilliant chapter in my life book.
Thanks a bunch for sticking around readers, you're pretty lovely! See you soon x