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Stroke Survivor - female
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About CagedBird

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    Associate Mentor
  • Birthday 06/14/1989

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  • Stroke Anniversary (first stroke)
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  1. CagedBird

    October 18

    Today is my stroke anniversary but Im glad the day is almost over. I woke up feeling so depressed. Instead of celebrating this milestone and all the great things that have happened this year (mainly just getting my wrist straight), I just kept wondering what my life would be like if I never had the stroke. I don't want to hear any encouragement. I know I've accomplished so much, life could be worse, just be thankful, etc. I have just been in a bad mood/on the verge of tears all day. I have also been pretty sad since I gave my dog away a few weeks ago. I am sorry I cant talk about it Im getting really upset now. But all together I have just been trying to stay busy hanging with friends and family when everyone is not at work and just trying not to be lonely.
  2. CagedBird

    do i want to be disabled?

    I have gone through a strange identity crisis. My wrist was bent for so long that I knew I looked disabled to other people. I used to hate that bent wrist and I felt like that was the first thing people noticed when they looked at me. Now it feels kind of weird to look semi normal or whatever. Even though I can straighten my elbow I find myself choosing to keep it bent. I dont know why. My therapist thinks I want people to feel sorry for me but its not that its just I want them to still know Im disabled. I guess I still want help. When I had my cast on, strangers offered me help everywhere I went. Now since my arm looks pretty normal I dont get that help. My fingers are still curled and we have not been able to reteach my brain to open my hand so even though my hand looks like Im holding something all the time, I dont think anyone realizes I actually cant move those fingers yet. Then when I do straighten my arm sometimes it comes back up so its very weird. I cant tell if I look like someone that just had a stroke or if I look like I never had a stroke. Its kind of hard to explain. I cant ask strangers to be polite (i.e hold the door, help put my groceries in my cart). I've never had to ask for certain things. Sometimes people just did it. Now sometimes I feel like I gotta bend my arm so people will in a sense feel sympathy. I never thought I would feel this way. Therapy is going okay. My hand opens with no pain now when we use the e-stim. I got my manicure and did other small things I've waited so long to do. I've been trying to use my hand more to help me do things like fold clothes and eat but it hard since Im not allowed to put pressure through my arm while my wrist is still healing. I also have been asking myself do I really want to try to use my left hand? Everything has actually been easier using one hand. I get so impatient and frustrated trying to use my left hand to do things. I've been using just my right hand for so long Im just used to it. I guess it will take time but really the only time I want to use my left hand is when I want to multitask or do something with my hair and since my OTs dont know if Im going to get any fine motor skills back I havent been able to try to do things like that anyway so yeah basically I am glad I had the surgery my arm wrist and hand feel and look SO much better but I am adjusting and relearning right now
  3. CagedBird

    My new wrist

    Today I got my cast off and I put my hands together for the first time in 15 years. The first thing I did was wash my hands. It felt soo good. Ever since my stroke I was only washing my good hand by itself but today I actually rubbed my hands together. My OT said I can get a manicure soon. It does not feel real. It feels like Im dreaming. I dreamed about this day forever. You guys know I have gone through so much emotionally I just wanted to die because I could not feel my fingers. I would stay up all night trying to fall asleep with the splint on my hand. I was picked on and self conscious because of my arm and wrist. The list goes on. But all of that is over. My wrist will be straight forever. I only have to work on straightening my elbow and moving my fingers which is a whole lot easier without my wrist being tight and bent and my fingers being clinched! Instead of feeling like Im wasting time in therapy going through unnecessary pain, I am looking forward to therapy. I already have a list of things I want to do with my left hand or both hands. Im so glad I got a good surgeon and finally a OT who believes in me. I am so excited. This is so amazing!
  4. CagedBird

    1 more week

    I get my cast off next week. Im so excited. My OT is going to do some e-stim with me to get my fingers moving again. She makes it sound like I can do whatever I want like all we have to do is some e-stim so I can remember how to open my hand again and I'll be good as new. It is pretty exciting but at the same time Im kinda trying not to get my hopes up too high. Its kinda surreal like what's the first thing Im going to do with my new hand? Probably wash my hands! lol I have not been able to put my hands together in forever. I also want to feel my hair but I gotta get my shoulder strong enough to lift up my arm. I am also back to exercising. I have been walking 2 miles a day on the treadmill and cut out fast food and sodas. I really want to lose weight so I can fit in my old clothes. It is hard trying to find bigger clothes at the store. Its like everything is size small and medium. Im going to try to keep my diet and exercise going for the rest of summer. I always feel better after I get off the treadmill. Its so hot during the day and raining every night so I dont get to walk my dog very far anymore. When I was at the rec center I saw my old english teacher. I'd never met her before but she used to get my assignments together and grade my work when I was home bound. I also found out that she uses my story to inspire her students at the beginning of every school year not to give up. She has my news articles, video, and everything. I was so surprised. I didnt even know she would remember me, yet include me in her curriculum. It made me feel good. I guess I really am an inspiration to people I dont even know
  5. CagedBird

    had my surgery

    well i had my surgery back in May. Now I am in OT. I cant squeeze my fingers anymore since the doctor released the tendons. I had to wear my arm bandaged up for 2 weeks and now Im in a cast for 6 more weeks. I cant wait to get it off and see my wrist straight! My fingers have been curling back up but hopefully wearing the splint and doing OT will get them straight. Thank you all for your support
  6. Happy Birthday CagedBird!

  7. Happy Anniversary CagedBird!

  8. CagedBird

    if anyone still reads this

    I finally had my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon today. I am going to do the surgery. She is going to put a rod or something in my wrist to keep it straight then she may release the tendons in my fingers depending on how it goes after that. I feel indifferent about it. Part of me is happy my wrist will finally be straight and in a more comfortable position but part of me feels sad that I will officially never be able to do things like clap my hands. I got a new position at work. Instead of receptionist, I am now a medical records clerk. I just started yesterday. Everyone is proud of me I have a new boyfriend. We met at a restaurant. I saw the scar on his head and he saw my scar. We kept looking at each other but it wasnt until we got ready to leave that we both realized our arms were the same. He also uses a cane. His stroke was on his right side. He had his stroke when he was 7. We take the same seizure meds. I am so happy I had the courage to walk up to him and tell him about my stroke. He does not live here, he lives in georgia but we talk on the phone everyday and he comes to visit. (His brother is in the hospital here.) I got some new shoes! I got a black pair for work that has velcro straps and a white pair for weekends with elastic shoe strings so no more tying shoes! Well except when I decide to wear my other shoes which will probably be less now that I have comfortable shoes with no hassle Well I think thats about all the stroke related updates I can think of. I have never been this happy in my life. Even in college I got depressed. Im so glad I finally got on the right meds to balance my mood and stop the seizures. I thank God everyday. Very often I think "wow Im driving my car home from work to my apartment." Its a simple act I do everyday but when I first started this blog I could never even imagine it. Ive come a long way
  9. CagedBird


    I have not felt like blogging, journaling or anything lately I dont really want to focus on my thoughts. I prefer to block them out with activities that distract me. I did want to let you guys know about my latest stroke journey though. I asked my neurologist to give me a referral to see a hand therapist. He refused because he said at this point therapy will not make a difference. So I told my primary doctor. He's known me for 20 years so he was nice enough to do the referral. I was excited about seeing the certified hand therapist! but she told me surgery to release the tendons is probably my best option at this point. There would be no getting my elbow straight, wrist straight, or fingers straight. I guess my insurance agreed because they only approved 2 visits for me to see her. I also found out the tens unit I bought in Charlotte is not the same as electrical stimulation which is why it never opened my hand. It is a tens unit which is primarily for reducing pain. I have not used it in years since I dont have any electrodes anyway. I wish I could get my money back. At least I was able to get a little money back for selling my guitar last week after realizing I bought it for nothing last year and will never be able to play it if I do surgery on my wrist. I am trying to learn to not overthink my emotions. My psychotherapist insists that I am not bipolar and my feelings are completely normal. I dont know about that. Oh yeah I got in a car accident 2 weeks ago. Someone cut me off from my left side and kept driving. I wish I could've seen who it was. Stupid peripheral vision. Anyway these days Im just trying to live my life to the fullest. I gotta do my best to not take my freedom for granted; (being able to drive, no more seizures, having a job to go to everyday).
  10. CagedBird


    wow i haven't blogged since October so that means I've been doing good. I don't know if I put this is my last entry but I adopted a dog back in October. He is a black basset hound/ dachshund. I love him so much. He does wonders for my depression. He loves me. Just having him there helps with anxiety because I know Im not alone. I would post a pic but I dont know how on here anymore. I quit my last job and started at the VA (Veterans Affairs Hospital). I like it so much better. The company I contract with only hires disabled so everyone I work with including my supervisor has some type of disability (most seem to be invisible.) So I've been working 5 days a week getting up at 6:30 every morning. I come to my dad's house on weekends to get a break from getting up early taking the dog out. Also he chewed up both of my remote controls and peed on my carpet a few times so I have to sit in my living room all day to keep an eye on him but here at my dad's I can just lay in bed and my dad feeds him and takes him out n stuff. Sometimes it feels surreal when Im riding in my car on my way home from work. When i first started this blog I never knew if I would get a job one day, I was permanently denied of my license, and I was stuck in my bedroom at my dad's house living in a virtual world through my computer. It feels good to finally be free. Since I work in the mornings, I miss yoga so I dont go to the YMCA anymore. I have gained 20 pounds in 6 months though so I get my exercise by taking my dog for walks everyday. I have a new psychotherapist. I just met her last week. She has not diagnosed me with anything but from our initial meeting she does not think I am bi polar. (I was diagnosed with it in June.) Even though I may not be bi polar, I am glad I was misdiagnosed because I have not had anymore seizures since I started the tegratol (mood stabilizer) they put me on which is also a seizure med. The only downside is my old psychiatrist had decreased my paxil so I have been having anxiety attacks and feeling hopeless sometimes. I dont like talking about the anxiety attacks because I dont want to think about it so I choose not to blog about it and when I start to feel depressed, I just get in my car and go somewhere to eat or hangout with someone so I guess that's why i have not been blogging much lately. So when Im not blogging every couple days or once a week, take it as Im doing good for the most part.
  11. CagedBird

    14 years

    Today is my 14 year strokeversary! I think this is the happiest I have ever been on October 18th. I am actually happy to be alive. I have been telling random people my story all day. I've been out all day. I just feel like I have come so far. On my past stroke anniversaries all I can remember is being depressed over having seizures/ panic attacks, not being able to drive, not being able to work, not being able to use my left hand, etc. I did not think in 2015 I would still be walking with a brace, still not able to use my left hand, and still have no left field vision. But I am so thankful I am not depressed! I am so grateful I have been driving around safely in my car all day going wherever I want to go doing whatever I want to do. No anxiety, no depression, no pity party over not being able to clap my hands or wear high heels whatever. I have gone through so much for a reason. I met a woman just like me at my job. I mediate medicaid appeals over the phone. I was calling a lady to tell her that her daughter's brain scan was approved and she started telling me about how her daughter had brain surgery at UNC chapel Hill, the surgeons busted her AVM and made her have a stroke, they took out her skull, when they put it back in it got infected, so now she walking around with no skull bone until they put a new one in. It was word for word my same exact story. The mother actually told me I was her angel sent from God to give her hope. It made me feel so good that I could tell her how good Im doing and encourage her daughter. I also got a new job working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. I got the job through a contract service that only hires people with disabilities! You guys I have been doing so good and I am so grateful. I am especially thankful that I lived to see another stroke anniversary and God has placed me in a career where I can listen to and see other people who are worse off than me every day and just be grateful. I never thought this day would come. Im so grateful. I just want to go outside and shout "Whatever you're going through, don't give up. It gets better!"
  12. CagedBird

    at a good place

    Wow it has been a while since I last blogged. I guess it's been a mixture of me being busy and not really feel like blogging about the crap going on or how I felt. Where do I start? Well a few days after my last entry, I had another seizure. It was really bad. It wasnt in my sleep. I was awake. When the aura came, I thought it was anxiety so I told myself I was ok but the next thing I knew it felt like I had been dreaming and my boyfriend was asking me if I was okay. I didn't know who he was, who I was, what day it was or anything. After that, I couldn't really take it. It's like the "devil" seen that I was determined not to left the seizure in my sleep bring me down so he sent something worse. I still have to touch my hand anytime my left side starts to feel weird to make sure it's not about to start jerking and a seizure. I got really depressed again but Im doing better now. I started yoga at the Y and try to do mindfulness and meditation so I will just live in the present, dont get depressed over the past, and dont worry about the future. The people from the sleep clinic never scheduled my sleep study. It's been a little harder for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I got off the seroquel that was making me gain weight and I stopped the hydroxyzine since it was not really helping nighttime anxiety. My psychiatrist tried to start me on lithium but it was making me eat more as well so I only took it one time. Im going to let him know at our appointment this week. I pray that taking the tegratol is keeping me from having anymore seizures. I know doctors prescribe meds to help but with my chronic constipation and recent memory loss, I don't want to be taking more meds than I need. I also started PT and OT again. My insurance only approved me for the month of September. Im trying to work on my balance, going up steps with no rail, walking in shoes without my AFO, and straightening my elbow and wrist. I feel like Im in a good place right now. No matter what happens, I know it will pass. I have gotten depressed and cried for no reason but I cheered up and felt fine. I no longer want to die. Life can be a beautiful gift once you realize it isn't just suffering.
  13. CagedBird


    I just wanted to update you guys on how Im doing. I've started getting used to working. I've also still been doing the stationary bike and treadmill a few times a week at the YMCA. I have been spending a lot of time with my boyfriend. We met a little over a month ago. We go to church a lot and watch movies at my place a lot. It's nice to have a friend to hang with. I had a "seizure" Thursday morning around 4am. I bit my tongue on both sides and my legs were hurting. I woke up in my living room. I dont remember anything except having the seizure like my head was shaking and I was trying to yell for help. I go see a sleep doctor next week. My dad is concerned about me sleep walking. I sleep with my door shut and locked and I lock all of the other doors so I don't know how or why I leave my room. Im glad I dont walk out my front door. I can tell my meds are working. I did not even get upset after the seizure even though my pastor had just prayed for me on Sunday that I would have no more seizures. I found out from my doctors that my bi polar medicine causes weight gain, increases my appetite, increases my blood sugar which makes me crave sweets, and slows my metabolism. I kinda don't want to get off of it since I havent got depressed lately but according to my psychiatrist Im at such a low dose that its not really making a difference. She also is starting me on tegretol which is a mood stabilizer and used to treat seizures
  14. CagedBird

    Working (Out)

    I have been busy working and going to the gym. Working is stressful but I do enjoy getting a check every two weeks. I've always had direct deposit in the past but it's something about getting my check handed to me that reminds me to hang in there and not quit my job. I have also been trying to workout. I have gained too much weight. I have never weighed this much in my life. At first I thought I was just getting my appetite back, then I thought it was anxiety because I only ate a lot when I was home alone, but then I realized it was my meds and my doctor pretty much confirmed that for me. He said the bi polar meds can make people gain weight. At first I didn't mind putting on a good 10 pounds since my family was saying I looked anorexic before, but after I gained 15 more pounds in a month, I got worried so I tried to be aware of what I was eating. That is when I realized I was binge eating. I gained 15 more pounds since last month which makes a total of 35 pounds since May. I am afraid. I've never weighed this much and Im afraid Im going to keep gaining weight since I can't do regular exercise because of my left side weakness. I try to watch what I eat but I end up overeating anyway whether I've been starving myself or eating all day. I keep trying diets but I always mess up. I got a membership at the YMCA but I only burn a few hundred calories according to the exercise machines I use in comparison to all the calories I eat before and after I work out. Im just afraid I am going to end up obese since I cant seem to control my appetite and cant work out like I want to. It is depressing being over weight but I know I would be even more depressed if I stopped the medication that's making me gain weight and I don't want to keep witching medications and messing up my mood even more.