July 13, 2012

On November 29, 2007, I suffered a devastating stroke.  I was life-lighted from Davis hospital to the University of Utah where they said there was nothing they could do for me.  Miraculously, 3 Doctors  got together and came up with an experimental procedure that saved my life.  That day changed my life.  
My sister took my baby girl, who was only days old, and cared for and loved her for the next year. My in laws moved from their home 5 hours away, into my home to love my boys through it all.
 I lost my ability to swallow so I had a tube placed into my stomach to feed me.  I couldn’t breathe on my own so I had a trach.  My face was permanently paralyzed so speaking is next to impossible and I need a gold weight in my eyelid just to blink.  In the hospital, I was unable to talk or write so I had to use sign language.  I am unable to use my right hand and have limited use of my left.  I had a muscle contracture in my leg that made my toe point downward, like a Barbie.  I was unable to move, let alone walk. I remember the first time I rolled on my side, two nurses were there and cheered and were nearly in tears. For a long time, I was in a wheel chair, with a feeding tube, totally helpless and relied heavily on others for everything. Yes, everything. Due to where the stroke damaged my brain, medically that was as far as I was expected to progress. 
I had very intense therapy while in the hospital and my stay there lasted 3 ½ months and included numerous stays in ICU, IMCU, Neuro Accute, and Rehab. After leaving the hospital, I still needed 24 hour care and my wonderful mom (a nurse) stepped up and took me to live with her for the next 14 months.   She helped me bathe, gave me my numerous medications, put up grab bars, and mothered her sick little girl.
I have many permanent effects from the stroke, though I have made significant progress. I still walk very slowly and shakily, still have very limited use of my hands, swallow with great difficulty, and look, as my son puts it, like Harvey 2 Face from Batman. I have had continuous therapy and around 17 surgeries (I lost count).  Even now I have very specific exercises I need to do daily.
I am home now with my 3 children and my unreal husband. They are what make me happy. My husband cooks, cleans, carries glass for me, and does so many other big and little things that I would need forever to name them all. Every day he puts his arms around me and tells me that he loves me. My kids open doors, hold my hand, and generally take care of me. But my favorite thing ever is when we all hang out and do absolutely nothing but laugh, and chat.
I owe everything to the Lord. I could have the best help, and work with all my might but if it wasn’t His will, I would never progress.  From the first day, and even before, the Lord has been with me.  So many miracles have happened in my life.   
I know that my prayers, even unspoken, are heard.   Heavenly Father knows us.  Not just kind of knows us but really knows us, takes care of us, and loves us with all his heart. He is always with us and times of trial are no exception.  Rather than feeling forgotten or alone, I have felt peace, love, and hope.
This blog is a journal kept by my family that records my struggle through the first bit after my stroke. To see how my life is today, visit Strokes For Dummies

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