Wow! It's difficult for me to say what's harder to believe: that we've passed the nine month mark since the stroke, or that it has been so long since we've posted! I am so sorry for the delay. We have just been extremely busy with work, therapy and the kids activities. I think it is a good sign that life has returned to normal enough that we can get back to that kind of schedule. But I also feel very badly about the length of time I've gone without an update. Since I've had two people ask me about updating in the last five days, I thought I'd better get back here and fill you in. (This is Jon by the way, Brenda has taken Jacob to scouts tonight.)
First of all, thank you all for your patience and for sticking with the blog. Thank you also for the continued prayers. We feel it more than you can ever know and that means so much to us.
Therapy continues, twice a week for occupational therapy and once every two weeks for physical therapy. We will keep to that schedule at least through the end of March and likely for a couple of more months until we reach the one-year mark on May 20th. At that point, I guess we will re-evaluate and see if we are continuing to progress before we decide on a continued plan of treatment. I feel like I keep making strides and my family and the therapists keep seeing progress, so that is very encouraging. In occupational therapy, we are really focusing on arm extension, movement in the wrist and fine motor function of my hand and fingers. There is increased strength in my shoulder, so we are pushing to get the rest of my arm to catch up to that. I can do more and more things now. In fact, I did all of the dishes by myself tonight after Brenda and Jacob went to scouts. For the first time, though, my therapist did reference the fact that I may never regain full use of my left arm. It wasn't meant as a negative thing, just more of a realistic point of view. I have to admit, at first that was VERY difficult to hear, but now I see it as more of a challenge. I know that I'll have to put those dreams of becoming a rock star or a professional softball player on the back burner for a while longer. But I'm not giving away my guitars or glove just yet!!!
In physical therapy, we continue to work on quality of walk, strength and stamina. I am up to 30 minutes and a little over two miles on the elliptical machine about three times a week and I wear a pedometer to track my number of steps. The goal is 7,000 a day. (I'm only at 5,000 right now, so I may take some breaks and go walk around the house a little, but you've already waited two months for this update. :))
Since the last update, we've hosted the first home night games in the history of UMHB baseball and softball, hosted the American Southwest Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, and played host to the first two rounds of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament. I am still technically only cleared to work up to six hours a day by the doctor, but I managed to squeeze in several 14 to 16-hour days and made it through. It is good to know that my stamina has improved enough to be able to physically handle that, but don't tell anyone. I don't want you to get me in trouble.
I also continue to be amazed by my family. My mom and dad still come up every couple of weeks to go to therapy with me. They are so encouraged by the progress and probably see it more than we do since they get a break from me for a while. Brenda continues to be my rock and has been so strong and so supportive. I thank God every day for the gift of having her in my life. Jacob and Brooke are also moving along full speed ahead. Jacob made All-Region choir and ran in his first track meets since our last update. Brooke won Best Overall at her last piano recital, playing an original composition and scored her first soccer goal of the season two weeks ago. She also just finished her basketball season. I have been able to share in many of those moments with them and consider it to be such a blessing that they have turned out so well and that I am still here to enjoy their successes.
I've also had several other firsts since the last updates: raking leaves for the first time (although it will NOT be the last time, unfortunately), bar-b-q'uing the other day, opening things with my left hand and carrying things that I wouldn't have dreamed of trying to carry, and things like that. Each one of these is a victory to me and we celebrate every one of them.
I also recently heard from a friend I was in rehab with in Waco and she has returned to teaching as her recovery continues. An opposing coach and the father of one of our student-athletes also shared their stroke experiences with me and provided great sources of encouragement. And we also keep drawing strength from the prayers and support of our friends, families and co-workers. As well as the prayers of many people we don't even know. So, hopefully that catches you up some and thank you again for all that you do for us. I WILL update again, but I know better than to try and promise you a time. I will try to get back to you in less than two months, or maybe I can talk Brenda into updating a little sooner. :) Take care and God Bless!