Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Going Good!

Yesterday, I had an appointment with both my medical and eye doctors. I was nervous, as I had just come out of an emotionally and often physically difficult couple of weeks. I had no idea what the doctors would say, if I had progressed or if some things had gotten worse. I didn’t sleep much the night before. In fact, I often lie awake at night thinking about it all. Some nights, I concentrate on my body, noticing every minute detail that seems odd or out of place. When I find something, I wonder what it means. My biggest fear is still that I will have another stoke. Statistics say that ninety percent of stoke victims have another one within the first year following the initial stroke. I am doing everything I know to beat those odds, but still I think and worry. It has been two months and I am one-sixth of the way through the year. While never having been one to wish away time, I just want to get to 2013 as fast as possible, without another episode.

My doctors were both happy with my progress. There is still a long way to go, but I am heading in the right direction, and faster than they thought. The best visit was with the eye doctor. I had not seen her since early January, when I was really struggling and barely able to walk, even with the walker. She was very surprised when I walked in yesterday and that really made me feel great. The look on her face was amazing and made the difficulties of the last eight weeks so worth it. The swelling in my eyes and the pressure from my brain is gone, so now the remaining issues with my vision are brain related and will take some time, but she said I was healing faster than she expected. I have always loved proving people wrong, but never more than now.

While medically I am doing very well, other aspects are taking longer. I don’t like and can’t relax in crowded places. I don’t like to be around children or animals due to the unpredictability of movement and sound. I don’t like unfamiliar places. I am not very social these days and often feel very awkward. With certain people and in small groups, I am fine, but in a larger group, even if I know everyone, I feel myself crawling into a mental ball and hiding. I do sometimes force myself into these types of situations, as I am not about to become a person afraid to go out and I also know the only way through it is head on. But still, often times the fear wins. I have done the research and know why it happens, but these days, logic takes a backseat to emotional and instinctive need.

The thing I hate most, is people looking at me. When someone looks my direction, I feel they are looking AT me. I know they probably aren’t, and even if they are, I know it shouldn’t bother me, but I really can’t stand it. I am very self-conscious when I go anywhere and even if someone looks at me, or even through me, it makes me want to hide. Even if I am sitting down eating, I feel all others can see is a defective person and I want to scream. The old me loved attention, even actively sought it out. Now I prefer to avoid it. I know it is all in my head and I am making a big mountain out of a few grains of sand, but again, logic doesn’t help at the moment and I am putting myself in situations where I just have to deal with it and get past it.

So there is still a lot to deal with and figure out in the coming weeks and months, but the train is on the right track and chugging along steadily.


  1. Anonymous28/2/12 06:50

    Great to hear the doctors giving you an a plus, I know you are working really hard to get better every day , so remember to say job well done to yourself. Thinking of you lots and sending prayers and best wishes every day LOTS of LOVE Jan

  2. Anonymous5/3/12 15:05

    Robb, so this afternoon I blogged my way along from your first entry to this one. I wish I had known sooner. Having read all the posts consecutively, I can objectively state that the pace of your recovery is amazing over such a relatively short period of time (though not from your perspective I'm sure!). With good days, bad days, you will continue to improve. As a cancer survivor, I can tell you from experience that good things can come from a bad thing. You question everything, reassess beliefs, cut through BS, find hidden passions, seek new meanings, and look at the world in whole new ways. Surviving reaffirms living. It becomes a gift, something very precious. It doesn't happen all at once, it's a slow process, but it comes nonetheless. Great things are coming, keep at it. 15 years ago, you told me you planned to travel the world. I think you still have a couple of continents ahead of you...
    Doug, NYC

  3. Just thinking of you today Robb, and hope you are doing well. Try to find those little things each day to be grateful for - Ulco, your family, your friends, the feeling of sunshine on your face - and keep plowing forward with your recovery! xoxo Julie