Sunday, June 24, 2012

This is a Team Effort

I thought I would try to give a sneak peak into my world right now.  Yes, I am home from the hospital. No, I am not back into my old routines.  I have a team that helps me each and every day.  

My mom and dad, two brothers, and father-in-law came earlier this month and tremendously helped out with the kids.  My two sister-in-laws and my mother-in-law have been here recently helping with the kids, coordinating meal times, changing all diapers, as well as bringing the kids swimming, to the park and to movies.  My mother-in-law is really helping with doing school with the kids right now.  I am so thankful for everyone's help with the kids.  I could not have done it on my own.     

The first few days at home, Ben had to help me make my way to the restroom and upstairs, walking with me slowly - slowly. Getting showered, getting dressed,  and drying my hair in the morning is my least favorite time of day.  Ben helps me get dressed every morning.  It used to take me twenty minutes to get a stinkin' shirt on; now I can manage it in about seven minutes.  Each night Ben gives me a Lovenox blood thinner shot in my stomach to help prevent another stroke during the pregnancy.  Ben has been awesome through this whole process.    

We have had countless people bless us with meals.  I cannot say thank you enough!  There is no way my energy is at 'pre-stroke' levels.  I have gone from taking multiple naps a day to just one, and am able to stay up longer at night.  My weeks are full of doctors appointments.  After my two-hour per day therapy I am wiped out.  I take a 45-minute to 1-hour nap after each therapy appointment.  

I try to wear ear plugs at night during dinner to cut down on the noise level.  My brain still gets over-stimulated very quickly.  I tend to get easily distracted.  They believe it will take 2-3 months for my brain to stop being so tired.  I can't wait.  Each day I deal with as it comes.    

Each day is full of a new set of challenges.  I have no license right now. My goal today is to get through the whole day with no cane.  

Yes, things are improving, but we are not back to 'normal.'  Unfortunately I am not able to run after the kids yet.  I still need a lot of assistance.  I am so appreciative of all the extra help we have received.  There is no way I could do this alone.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Humorous Stroke Quotes

Humor has been very important to all of us in these last few weeks.  The first day I (Krista, Amanda's sister-in-law) visited her in the hospital, I was laughing so hard I was crying within the first five minutes of entering the hospital room.  These moments, laughs, and comments have been so important throughout this journey.  We've been trying to keep track of a few of these interactions in order to be able to look back and remember.  Here's a quick glimpse:

Ben to Amanda: “You’re sitting on your arm.”
Amanda: “Oh…I thought that was the remote control.”
Shortly after Amanda threw up one morning, Kathy (Ben's mom) was adding cheese to a bowl of chili for lunch.
Austen: “Is that mama’s throwup?  Why are you putting cheese on it?”

Jayden: “Mama, are we getting a meal tonight?”
Amanda (high-fiving Jay): “Yes, we are.”
Jayden to Ben (sitting right next to Amanda): “Daddy, are we getting a meal tonight?”
Ben: “Yes, we are.”
Jayden: “Okay.  I just wanted to make sure Mama really knew what was going on.”

Amanda: "When the ambulance came, I remember Ben saying over and over, 'I'm Phoenix PD, I'm Phoenix PD.'"
Ben: "I said it once!"
Amanda: "Well I just imagined you fighting through a ton of people and shouting over and over, 'I'm Phoenix PD, I'm Phoenix PD!'"
Ben: "Well first of all, there were not tons of people to fight through, and second, I was not shouting, I told the EMTs when they got here.  Once."

Katie, Ben's sister, brought Bagel Beanery bagels from Michigan.  As Ben and Amanda were looking through them:
Ben: “Those ones are mine!  You got the fruity ones!”
Amanda: “Did you have the stroke?!”

Amanda: "Ben has been frustrated when he helps me get dressed because he can't find any of my clothes - they're all rolled up into a ball in my drawers.  But how was I supposed to know I was going to have a stroke?!  I'm sorry, if I had known I was going to have a stroke, I would have organized all my drawers!”

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The stroke has nothing to do with me, but to bring glory to God

I cannot type worth a "hoot" anymore.  So much has happened these past 3 weeks.  On May 20, Ben and I were simply laughing about the lunar eclipse, standing outside with our paper plates and laughing about what I was supposed to be looking at with a pin hole in the paper plate.

Little did we know within 2 hours our lives would change within 10 seconds.  Ben and I were hanging out and out of the blue my speech immediately became slurred and an intense pain soared from the nape of my neck upward and Ben was on the phone with 911 immediately: "Hi, yes I think my wife is having a stroke."  I remember thinking, "this is silly, who has a stroke at 29?" The next thing I remember is Ben saying, "the ambulance is here."  I have no memory of being put in a bag.  Just them asking me over and over for my birthday and my due date.  And them saying, "squeeze my hand."  I had no idea I was paralyzed.

I felt an overwhelming sense of peace that I knew was the Holy Spirit.  I do not remember much of the ambulance ride, just being immediately put into a CT machine and feeling God's presence.

The hardest part was not being able to reassure Ben.  That part killed me.  At one point thinking in my head, "I'm ready to go home now," and Ben leaning over me very upset, "Amanda! You can't walk!"  "What do you mean I can't walk?!" This is news to me.  I had no idea I was paralyzed.  I am so thankful for the prayers.  You all rock!

Every day I would wake up - "Okay, God, what are you giving me back today?"

I didn't know I lost my ability to swallow.  That my whole left side was paralyzed.  One day I had 3 MRIs, and just praying the whole time for God to protect our baby.

Each step of the way, He was the most faithful friend.  The rally of love and support from all our friends and ministered to us so much.  Thank you thank you!

In Proverbs it says, "The steps of a man are established by the Lord and when he falls he will not be hurled headlong for the Lord is the one who holds his hand."

This verse means so much to me now, just trying to learn how to walk again.  Huge challenge!  Ben has to stay on my weak side (left side) because if I'm going to fall that is the side I will fall on.  That is what God does for us, he stays on our weak side.  His desire for us is success.  I am so thankful for his faithfulness in this most challenging trial of my life.

My voice is still weak, but my arm is slowly coming back.  God is so good!  I look forward to being able to push my kids in the swing again soon!

This whole process has reminded me of a fighter.  When I started rehab I had zero trunk support.  I would flop over on the mat.  It took 4 people to get me into a wheelchair.

Ephesians 6:13-18  "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."

When I was so floppy, these are the verses that came to my mind.  When I was struggling to maintain balance, I refused to believe the lie "you may never walk again."  This has ultimately been the biggest test of my life, but God, I trust you!

Never will I leave you nor forsake you.  He is faithful.  I believe that to my core of who I am.

Each and every day God gives me back something that was taken from me in 10 seconds.  And everyday He gives me something new back, even if it is just a movement in my fingers.

Mentally exhausting, every day is mentally exhausting.  My stamina will come in the months ahead.

Please keep Ben in your prayers, he is juggling a lot right now.

To God be all the glory!  Amen!