[present] the state of things: 5/25/2011

*i'm going to be jumping between past experiences and real-time updates, hence the bracketed [present] and [past] notations you will be seeing in the titles of my posts. make sense? k, good. let's begin... :]*

it has been quite a while since i shared my last update on how my recovery is going. the radio silence is mostly due to the fact that this stage of my recovery is pretty unexciting. when my mom was first updating facebook, things were changing every day and much was unknown. later, she recorded the progress i was making on a daily basis. since coming home from the hospital at the end of March, the steep slope of improvement has leveled off a bit. that's not to say i haven't made huge steps, but it has just been a bit more gradual.

if you've been following my progress, you know that my right side was completely flacid at first, and when i started getting movement back, my leg responded better than my arm. now, mr. arm has made a comeback, tortoise and the hare style! i just recently completed my 7th and final week of occupational therapy. my awesome therapist, Cherie, discharged me and said that time and practice will return my arm and hand back to normal. all my arm/hand/shoulder muscles work and i can control them rather well. now i just have to continue to strengthen them, refine my fine motor abilities (i.e. writing!) and work on breaking up the spasticity in my pec and shoulder by stretching and getting massages.
as for señor leg, he is being stubborn. while my hip on down to my knee is working fine, everything below is taking more time. what i can do is flex my ankle up. yay! because of the crazy spasticity in my tibial muscle and foot, my foot turns in still and inhibits any other range of motion. i am getting better at walking, even though i can't yet use my ankle properly. i ditched my cane a week ago (his name is Melvin...i'll introduce him later) and now walk with my AFO (ankle-foot orthotic brace) only. i nearly fall over sometimes, but it's getting better and feels more and more normal.

on the tumor side of things, i had an MRI today and will follow up with my surgeon next week to see if there has been any regrowth...which there
won't be, right? i had some bad experiences with MRIs in the hospital, but the one today went surprisingly well (minus the Nickleback song that came on around minute 15. gag.).

with my 24th birthday tomorrow, i am just so thankful to not only be alive, but to be improving at a solid pace. it has been only 3 months and four days since my stroke and less than 3 months since my surgery, and i have already regained so much of my movement. the rest will come, i know it. in the next year, i plan to:

- be able to move all the muscles in my body

- move back to the Phoenix area
- be back to (or at least close to being back to) playing softball
- walk and run on the beach
- take my dad up on his offer to take troy and me to any baseball game of our choice (!!!!!)
- keep tumors out of my brain
- not waste my time in finding and doing what brings me and others joy
- extend myself to serve others more and share my testimony of the healing power of Jesus Christ

i've got a lot to accomplish. but i'm excited. and i'm excited to be here and to improve myself through this refining process. bring on year 25.


brain drain

after a lot of resistance (and i mean A LOT), i finally decided to use a blog to document my life over the past few months and to record my stroke recovery. 

why resistance? well, i've never wanted to have a personal blog. maybe it's because i write all day at work and that's the last thing i want to do in my free time. maybe i'm not good at finishing projects or keeping journals. or maybe it's because i don't consider my thoughts and the goings-on in my life to be noteworthy enough to have their own space on the interwebs (aside from facebook, of course). when i got over all the reasons why i shouldn't make a blog, i came to the conclusion that, after all that has happened this year, there are actually a ton of good reasons why i should: 

 - writing out what has happened to me will be good for my recovery -- and maybe even for somebody facing a similar circumstance 
- i know i'm going to want to remember specifics about this experience. if i don't write them down, i'll probably forget
- speaking of writing: i can't use a pen very well yet, so typing a blog just makes sense
- instead of giving updates about my progress on Facebook like i have been doing (rather crappily!), this blog will help me keep my wonderful friends involved -- without the 420-character limit

admittedly, i'm writing this blog mostly for selfish reasons. hopefully, though, my readers will enjoy the experience as much as i will and maybe even gain a bit of wisdom or smile from time to time. thanks in advance for reading! :]