lisas' Blog

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Why did it take so Long to do this??



I don't know why I havn't blogged for the last year. I always post on stroke-net. Well here goes. It's been over a year since Rachel had her stroke. One year, 3 months, and 16 days to be exact. I can still remember that day as if it were yesterday. My husband John and I were out for the evening. Rachel was at our house with a friend. We were an hour from the house. Rachel told her friend she felt funny. Moments later she became dizzy. She passed out on the couch. Her friend had to call 911. He called us, but we didn't get the call for another hour since we didn't have reception where we were.


My other daughter Nikki was also called. She was out that evening also. Nikki got to the house before we did. She rode in the ambulance with Rachel, who was non responsive.Nikki was only 20 at the time and terrified for her sister. She had to play the part of mom and dad for a while and that was scary to her.


Our ride home was the longest hour of my life. I was crying frantically not knowing what was going on. John had to calm me down so he could drive. Rachel was taken to our hometown hospital. They weren't sure what was going on. They did a cat scan and found no bleeding in the brain. The stroke didn't show up at this time.


We were about 20 minutes away from the hospital when Nikki called and said they were taking Rachel to another hospital 35 minutes away. We then had to go there. "Please God, Let Rachel be alright" is all I kept saying.


Upon arriving to the hospital we found Rachel in the ER. She wasn't talking, only moving her left arm up and down, as if she was trying to tell us something. We were all so scared. Many tests were ran. Still no one knew for sure. My husband had been a nurse for 25 years. He told me "I think she's had a stroke". I had no idea what he meant. "I thought older people had strokes", "she couldn't of had one". This can't be. The doctors said she had the signs of a stroke but nothing was showing on the tests.


It wasn't conclusive until the next day that Rachel had a massive ischemic stroke. Her right side of the body was affected. We were told that it was very large and that Rachel probably wouldn't make it through the night. Our whole world was falling apart. These words we were being told didn't seem real. Rachel still couldn't talk, move her body, only the left arm, couldn't swallow, and was almost lifeless looking.


I'm happy to say that she proved everyone wrong. It took a few days, but she started to move her body more and more. The right arm hasn't returned yet, but were still hopeful. The right ankle is still not moving, but maybe in time. Rachel had a wonderful speech therapist that helped her learn to swallow again. Rachel was afraid at first. She started with sips of water, ice, juice, pudding, jello, etc. She was afraid at first to try anything else. She felt like she was choking.


I remember the next couple of months were like being in a dream. Nothing seemed real. We were so tired, not sleeping well. We were confused and scared that we were loosing our baby girl. It's just the worst feeling in the world. We stayed at the hospital with Rachel. I couldn't bear to leave her sight. She was scared and so was I.


Every little thing that Rachel could accomplish seemed like a miracle. Writing her name again for the first time. Writing all her family down on a dry erase board. It was like watching everything for the first time again. She couldn't remember how to write everthing so this was difficult for her. She didn't know what happened to her at first. She never had heard of stroke. It was difficult to explain, but we did. She cried and so did we.


Rachel stayed in the hospital and rehab a total of 56 days. Nikki and my husband would visit daily. I only went home around 5 times. The hospital was so good to us. They just let me move in. They gave me a bed, let me shower, and wash my clothes there. They knew Rachel was petrified as was her mother.


Rachel went to physical, occupational, and speech therapy everyday but Sunday. It was grueling for her. So much to re-learn, so much pain, so tired, so much medication. Rachel hated it at first. All the patients were much older.We went to group therapy everyday. I watched as everyone struggled with their own deficits, wondering where Rachel would be in a week, 2 weeks, etc...


Rachel started liking group therapy. She be-friended all the other survivors. They enjoyed her so much too. It was good therapy for all involved. The therapists would make everyone feel so good about themselves. As time went on some survivors went home, or to nursing homes. Rachel would cry when they left. Everyone became a type of family linked by the same thread-STROKE.


Life was changing. Our minds were always working 24/7. What are we going to do? How can this all be happening? To this day, I still think back to why this happened to our precious angel. I don't dwell on the why so much anymore. We are blessed and thankful for today. Everyday is a miracle.


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Lisa, I waited over six months from the time when I joined the site to start a blog. I loved reading other peoples and realised in the end I had nothing to lose by revealing more about my life and struggles.


Thank you for journalling the first days of Rachel's stroke, it must have been unimaginable to you all that she actually DID stroke at so young an age. I know since then you have done so much to make her recovery meaningful and her life worth while.


Welcome to the addictive world of blogging. I'm sure others will greet you too. I am sure you will get much joy from documenting Rachel's progress here and your own growth as a caregiver too.


(((Hugs)) from Sue.

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I'm so glad you decided to blog. Rachel has come so far in the past year. Your title asks why did it take so long to do this? There's no answer to that except the time was right for you. Blogging is very therapeutic; hopefully you find it so for you.

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Thanks for sharing Rachels story and what your family has gone through. This is an inspiration to many.


I think/hope Dr's are beginning to realize also.. Stroke knows NO age.


Thanks so much for your posts and sharing with others.



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I can imagine how hard it is to understand why some people have strokes, especially at an early age. There can be the spiritalist reasoning of "fate", the religious reason "god's will" (which to me in the same)


And to go on, people are survivors for these reason as well as a Kaballist belief that when one accepts the fact that life may be over they say "It's God's will" and gives their life to God, they are made survivors and even a reason my sister gave to me as to why my oldest friend had a daughter born with CP - that E. would be able to deal with it because she was so very devoutly religious and not one to ignore the child (and she and her husband , now deceased, haven't.) The child has grown into a working productive woman who must been about 50. Or even Sue's husband's Ray's neurologist feeling that there must be a gene responsible. (Sorry Sue for not explaining it well but you know my brain has damage.) And there is my belief, being a survivor is not free. We are made survivors because we are the ones chosen to help those who come after us. That is our payback.


Basically, it happens and we are not "permitted" to ask "why?" because then we get the response, "why not" as I believe Denny S said recently and is so true.


Lisas, you, your husband and Rachel are beyond the "why?" stage, thank goodness. Now, the time is right to get on to bigger and better.


So glad also you joioned our blog community.




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I am so glad to welcome you wonderful addictive world of blogging, I have read your posts so know Rachel a whole lot, though I am blog junkie, I find blogging lot of fun and therupetic when you do it regularly, you can work out all your emotions, encourage Rachel to join us, there is Katrina who is also very young on this site. when stroke happens we all constantly ask ourselves why, but when we look back how far we have come and find blessings in our every day life, life feels lke full of miracles, I am sure Rachel is one of them, in my initial phase I was blaming God, but now I look back and thank God for giving me strength to come out from my dark days & appreciate life full of blessings.




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ROFL, after posting this I realized I was responding to a 2-year old entry. I often will check posts that I see that other people are reading. I still get a little lost here and doing it this way has actually expanded my horizons a bit. I'm going to let my comments "stand" though because reading this story is still uplifting even though it is a little dated! LOL




Hi, Lisa,


I can only agree with Donna and say that your timing for continuing your blog is right on target for me and, I'm sure, many others. You express yourself beautifully and until now I had been unaware of Rachel's story and yours. I know that " Wow" isn't original by any means, but that's what I found myself thinking as I read your entry. She's come such a long way, hasn't she? And she certainly has a devoted family and support system which means so much. How great that the hospital let you "move in" like they did! Inspiration is a critical element in keeping us stroke survivors motivated, so I can only encourage you to keep blogging!


Very nice to meet you!



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