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Countdown To Christmas!


Staff - Stroke Support
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About HostSue

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  • Birthday 06/04/1947

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  1. Christmas with all it's problems and it's joys is just fourteen days away. So how do you feel about Christmas this year? Maybe think about that and use that as your subject for your next blog.Your theme could be family events, loneliness as my Christmas as a widow certainly has elements of that or that overbusy feeling you have difficulties dealing with now. That also means it is only three weeks till the end of the year. So how about using that as a reason to blog? Tell us about where you are in your recovery, any changes you have seen happen this year and where you would like to be next year. There is always a reason to write a blog. If you have any difficulties with that just let me know and I will see if I can help you with it.
  2. I have just written a blog on my feelings as Christmas approaches and posted it on the widowed site I belong to as I didn't think it was appropriate here.. As a widow I probably feel differently to what others who are still dealing with strokes do but as there are many people who live alone here maybe they share some of my problems. I do wonder how relevant my blogs are now but as I really write them as personal monograms I guess it doesn't really matter. Thanks for this thread Steve, it is a reminder that blogging is therapeutic whatever stage of the journey you are living through.
  3. Dementia is so cruel, and very hard to be exposed to if you do not have it yourself. Do you have head phones with quiet music playing that you can use to block out the noise? I had a roomie at Women's Weekends for a couple of years who could only sleep with the light on and music playing. The first time I shared with her was difficult but the next was okay. I did understand the problem but still found it hard. It must be hell for you
  4. I don't know how many people here have "liked" the posts of The Stoke network on Facebook? I find it very relevant and often "share" the posts onto my own page, both the information and the "wise word" postings. So thank you to whoever organises it and I encourage all of you to also like the page and share the wisdom.
  5. Happy Birthday. My husband put his age up a year when he was 16 to get a drivers licence and one day had to tell the truth about that. We women are usually the ones who put our ages back, for various reasons. So glad you are a year younger than you thought you were. Enjoy your "extra" year.
  6. Dancing with Robyn and Robin

    It was the WAGS Christmas party today, my second favorite party. I missed a couple of parties last weekend as I was out at Broken Hill with my younger son Trevor. I wanted to be there that weekend as it was his birthday on Monday 27th. As he is a long way away from friends and family he loves it when I can be there and it was his access time to his five year old Alice too so we had a ball. We took Alice to Playtime at the local Salvation Army, to please her we went to see the movie "My Little Pony", he got tickets for us all to go to a small circus, we went swimming in the local pool and did a lot of reading books, playing games etc all at five year old level. I really enjoyed my time out there away from the humidity of the coast. One of the highlights was a freak rain event, high winds and flooding rain for about ten minutes, then gentle rain for another twenty minutes and it was all over. The rain water drains quickly into the red desert soil so the effect is very short lasting. The highlight of the WAGS Christmas party for me is the dancing. I sat with one of my long term friends an ex-nurse called Robyn who had a slight stroke eight years ago. She deals with life bravely and I do admire her, she is a widow like me and occasionally we do things together. She has a small farm and has cows and calves, she came today from trying to help a neighbour with a young cow who was calving and unfortunately the cow died as did the calf so she was quite sad when she arrived at the party. One of the things we do every year is dance with Robin, who is in his mid-fifties has had a stroke leaving him with a useless hand and a leg in a brace. Robin loves to dance so we get him on the dance floor and dance around him. The smile on his face goes from ear to ear and the other men say: "Good on you mate, two lovely ladies to dance with." and the grin widens. It has become part of the ritual so I will hate it when he can no longer get up on the dance floor. Each year we lose people from the group as we do from this site, some because the stroke damage is magnified by the ageing process and they no longer have the stamina, some because they take up new interests and have clashing demands on their time and some just stop contacting and we don't know what has happened to them. It is sad to make friends and then lose them as the years pass. But it is always fun and we find a lot to laugh at, in fact we were making so much noise today that a couple of others came over to see what the hilarity was about. One of the younger women at our table wore a dress that was too low so she cut out a V piece from a gold Christmas card and tucked it into the top of her dress. We all got so much fun out of the ensuing adjustments with all the women contributing their advice that we were almost hysterical with laughter. She is both a stroke survivor and a cancer survivor with a lovely and loving personality so took it all as a compliment which of course it was as well as an accolade to the person she is. I am blessed with my friends. Some I have had for a long time, since I was in primary school, some are more recent. I appreciate them for the gifts they bring into my life, for the love and laughter, support and care they show towards me. A couple of women who had battled cancer came over to talk to me about the tests I have this month to see the specialist next month to find out if the melanoma has spread to other organs. They outlined some of their own battle with cancer and gave me encouragement in what I have to do. Both are caregivers so still have a stroke surviving partner to care for so I am blessed to not have to do that as well. I do look back on my life sometimes and see where I have come from and the strengths I have gained from those experiences so no doubt this is the same, I will meet people and learn new things because of what I am now and who I am now. The Christmas party season is upon us, the Spring rains are finally here even though we declare it summer from the 1st of December it is still acting like September. We had to run for our cars through the rain this afternoon. I spent half an hour watering my neighbor's pot plants and garden this morning so now I feel as if that was time wasted. He will be away till after Christmas, he and his girlfriend/partner are spending Christmas with friends in Germany and having a week in England before they comes home so it is an ongoing process, looking after his house. He no longer has a cat so that is one problem I no longer have. I am selling raffle tickets in my local shopping centre once a week as my contribution to Lions fundraising, I don't mind as I often encounter people who are acquaintances or old neighbours that I have not seen for a long time and have time to catch up. And there is the other Lion I am on with to talk to. Many of our members are showing signs of ageing now and often have to ask customers to repeat details because of their hearing problems. It isn't embarrassing, it is just life. My oldest grandson Christopher turns 18 next Friday so there is to be a family dinner with a few of his friends to celebrate the occasion. It is another milestone. My daughter told her Dad when he had his strokes in Bendigo in 1999 : "You have to get better Dad, you are going to be a grandfather." And happily he lived to see all of his six grandchildren, although only the first three months of Alice's life so she doesn't remember him. Life is always that mixture of happy and sad isn't it?
  7. My heart breaks for you sometimes when I read your blogs. I know how hard it is to put someone into care but not how hard it is to be in care except by my observation of others. I feel for you as you go through all of these testing time, I have some tests coming up soon too. I hope none of them are as painful as you anticipate. I hope the results are good for you and don't mean any new procedures. (((hugs))) from Sue.
  8. I am grateful for most of the things you have listed. From my caregiver perspective I am grateful for all the people I have met because of Ray's strokes, people who have enriched my life and been such a blessing to me. Including those here in the Blog Community and you too my friend.
  9. Kelli and Susan I love the way you can both turn a negative into a positive!
  10. I have just been on the WAGS Women's Weekend. I can say we laughed and cried, told of our journey, played silly games, ate together, played together and danced with wild abandon on Saturday night and had so much fun. The pink boa in the photo is a tribute to Terry who was her daughter's caregiver and sadly died this year. I was sad, as we all were, to recall those who were not with us for so many reasons. I have been going to this weekend since 2007, some years I have only gone on the Saturday night, some I have gone for the whole weekend as i did this weekend. Each year is different with unexpected events living in our memories. Sometimes the caregiver is called home as something has happened to the survivor, some years there is a family crisis of another kind, this year one of our ladies became ill and had to go home to recuperate. I have watched them age and they have done the same with me. They supported me during my recent recovery after the melanoma operation as they supported me after Ray died. They are caring women and I love them all. We are not the same, but we are all on the stroke journey. I am no longer a caregiver but I can still encourage them in their caregiving roles. Life for all of us is influenced by the stroke event. There is no "them and us" we realise we are all in this together and the more we support each other the stronger we become. We are not noticeably caregivers and survivors but all strong and supportive women. It is incredible what we have shared over those last ten years since I have been involved with them. This year I roomed with another widow, our stories are very different but we both know the meaning of loss and grief. We both know how to scope with whatever life dishes up to us now. We both have had our moments of fear, anger and feeling we were losing it. We talked almost right through the first 24 hours, I guess we both needed to unburden to someone who knew what we had gone through going from caregiver to widow. We know there are things you can tell another widow that your friends who are members of a couple will not understand. It was a good experience for me. Of course I also talked to a lot of others there, some I only rarely see. One of the girls who has only joined us a couple of times after becoming a member several years ago said she was so proud to say she had been away on a weekend with 20 of her best friends, I think we all felt the same way. Apart from that life goes on much the same as usual for November, church, social days, nursing home visits,meetings etc. I did a hospital visit today. It was my turn to be "treasurer" at the Lions Club BBQ this morning, tomorrow I am selling tickets in our local shopping centre (mall) in our Lions Club Christmas Stocking. There is planning to do for the Christmas gatherings and I'm looking out the Christmas cards to send as not everyone is on Facebook or email particularly older friends. I guess it is the same for most people. We are making up Christmas hampers at church for those who are less fortunate and still going on with the weekly services and other events. I am visiting my daughter for a few days next week. Always good to spend some time with my families. My left leg is still painful sometimes, mostly when I spend too much time on my feet. Of course now we have humid days now it is getting closer to summer too and that doesn't help as my leg swells. I may have to go to a local Lymphodema Clinic to find out more about that. My friends remind me that it takes time to heal, I know that but am impatient to get back to full fitness again. It was a joy to find I can still dance but because of muscle damage cannot spin around successfully so I am doing slower moves. Who cares as long as I can dance in time to the music? It is such a blessing to be able to do almost all that I could do before. Of course my age slows me down somewhat but I can laugh at the mistakes i make and my inabilities as well as my absurdities hopefully make my friends laugh too. As the song says: "Be a clown, be a clown, all the world loves a clown."
  11. Had a wonderful time at the Women's Weekend, laughed, cried, listened to so many excerpts from the lives of survivors and caregivers. It is a privilege to still be "one of the girls". Love them all heaps. No I didn't win the Dancing Diva this year, no-one did, but I did dance on Saturday night, my feet moved and my legs approved.
  12. Sounds like something that will make your life easier Ron and Dorothy's more enjoyable and less stressful.
  13. Although being a widow is not a disability insensitive remarks are very common. I tend to treat the person who makes the remark as if they are a not-very-bright kindergarten child. I smille and say something like: "I didn't heard what you said. Did you say....?" usually hearing what they said repeated back to them brings them to their senses. Mind you within the first year I mostly just burst into tears and ran out of the room! Sorry this woman is so insensitive and not a good listener obviously not a good choice for a group leader.
  14. Looking forward again

    Today I went to the Stroke Recovery group WAGS that Ray and I used to go to, I don't always attend the monthly meetings and today one of the members came late and slipped into the seat beside me and said: "I am so glad you are here today I take so much strength from you." This girl has just been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer so I know she is going through a bad time. She always seems happy but I know it is not always as it seems and she is struggling. We have had long talks from time to time so know she finds it hard sometimes to make sense of life, she has had a stroke and now her cancer is back. It must seems very unfair to her. She has visited me several times during my convalescence and we have had some good conversations so I hope that has helped. She brings her small dog Daisy and I enjoy Daisy's visit too, she is a happy little dog. I wrote years back in one of my blogs : " Who cares for the caregiver?'' and the answer depends on what you are looking for. For me in the last eight weeks after the operation my help has come from friends, my church group and members of the Stroke Recovery Group, caregivers and stroke survivors alike, have all been thoughtful and contributed in some way to my well being. From many the flowers and cards were so lovely and some of the less mobile people phoned me as well. It is another example of “if you want something done ask a busy person” as all of those who helped me ARE busy people, but they are also generous people with good hearts. I know now if you have been a caregiver you will go on being so in some way. With long term caregivers who lose their partner once past the grief you will find ways of making a contribution in your own way. I am a born volunteer so it was not hard to find an outlet for my caring instincts. The pastoral care work in the church is one outlet for this, the nursing homes visits another. I have the Lions Club projects like the BBQs and other fundraisers to help with too. But you don't have to make a formal commitment or join an organisation to be a caring person, that person on the bus seat might need a listening ear and that young woman with the baby might need some motherly advice or just someone to admire her baby. Opportunity is not something you need to seek, it simply comes your way and you can use it. Every few months I sit around and have a "woe is me day" a day when I wonder what life is all about, what I am doing with my life etc. This is not as often as when I was first widowed but the triggers are always there to set me off. This week I got a couple of nice compliments and that helped me see life from a different perspective. One was in one of the nursing homes I visit, one of the nurses told me she loves it when I visit one of the people there as "it really brightens her up". I love to visit my ladies but sometimes it is just another chore so it is nice to hear it is appreciated. There is always bad news to make us feel sad, I went to another funeral this week,which is hard when it is an old friend of many years standing. So some good news or having someone pay me a nice compliment can help make my day and make what I do seem worthwhile again. I know from Ray's time in a nursing home that some people have very few visitors and so a visit from someone like me fills a gap. It is sad in a way but the life that we lead in our old age is often sad. Once you go into a nursing home so much of your old life has to be left behind and it is hard to see a good future ahead of you An old friend of mine who is going blind has recently moved out of her home of many years and into a nursing home. She said to me yesterday: "I wonder what there is left to live for." and I understand that statement. She knew she was no longer coping living alone, even with help so she made the decision herself. She is in her mid-90s. She said her daughter is good to her and visits frequently and that makes her happy. She has settled into her new environment but still misses her old home very much. I enjoyed my time at the Stroke Recovery group meeting today. It is only a week now until our WAGS Women's Weekend so most of the women were talking about that. We had a Podiatrist as guest speaker and he explained how a good orthotic in the form of a shoe insert can correct gait. Unfortunately it is all very expensive but I wished that those sort of orthotics had been available when Ray was first relearning to walk as I could see they might have helped keep his left foot straighter. Walking was always a struggle for him and he had so many falls, some of them requiring hospitalisation. The AFO helped to counteract the foot drop but maybe with an orthotic shoe insert as well he might have had less of a struggle. It is all academic now after all it is five years since he passed away. But we can't help thinking of what might have been. November is always a busy month for me and my calendar is full of squiggled reminders of where I have to be on what days. I can be a bit muddle headed with all the activity so strive to remember if I have to take a cake, or give a talk, or arrive early to set up in all the places I have to go. It is the start of the Lions Club Christmas Stocking ticket sales on the 13th and of course all the usual activities plus a few end-of-year activities so I have to keep an eye on my diary. Am I pleased to be doing all of this, yes I believe I am. I have had a health scare and the repercussions of that will last a while but life has to go on and I have to be able to enjoy it. I seem to be walking better now, I walked down a set of steep stairs with ease today so the muscles are starting to build up again. I may not be the Dancing Diva this year at the Women's Weekend but I do intent to enjoy myself.
  15. Gratitude is good. I realised early in life that my parents sacrificed a lot to see we had what we needed. They were never well off but we had the right clothes for school, time to do our homework and when they could help us they did. i think having unselfish parents is a great gift. I guess we all make some mistakes in the raising of our children but if we love them we do the best we can for them.