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Things I wish my doctors had told me about brain injury and stroke

February 7, 2018

 

I always start my story with "I went to sleep as LeaAnn and woke up a total stranger.
 

 

On September 2014 Labor day, I suffered a bleeding stroke and. Brain anyurism followed by brain surgery to relieve the pressure in my brain. This was caused by a blood infection I caught in my mechanical heart valves after some routine dental surgery. The doctors told my family that if I survived I would never be the same. After 3 months of intense physical and occupational therapy, learning everything all over again, how to walk, talk, chew, swallow, read and write.. The doctors were right about one thing. I will never be the same.

I am so relieved that I can talk to you about stroke recovery. If only I had known these things in the beginning...

10 things I wish my doctor had told me about brain injury..

I always start my story with " I went to bed as LeaAnn and woke up a total stranger.

On September 2014 Labor day, I suffered a bleeding stroke and brain anyurism which led to brain surgery to relieve the pressure in my brain. This was caused by a blood infection I caught in my mechanical heart valves due to some routine dental surgery. The doctors told my family that if I survived, I would never be the same. After 3 months of relearning everything all over again, how to walk, talk, eat, chew, read and write. Kidney failure Due to antibiotics I was on for the blood infection, the doctors were right about one thing. I will never be the same.

I have been wanting to write this blog for you for quite awhile, 10 things I wish someone had told me abou stroke and brain injury.. If your like me and all my doctors did was send me home with a pat on the head.. Giving me no warning that; Life as I knew it was over.

1. You can't push through this one. No matter how strong, tough or determined you are. Its not possible to bully your way through stroke recovery. I know you going to try, but you would save yourself time and frustration if you didn't.

2. REST. Now I mean completely rest. I mean stop working, tv, put down your phone and just rest on your couch, with a pet or some relaxing music. I know it's hard and inconvenient, but oh so important.. Trust me, you will be sorry if you don't.

3. You need help like.. significant help. You might not think you do.. I understand it's reall hard to ask for help... But your going to need significant help. Trust me on this one.

4. Your social life and party days are over. Im Sorry but crowds, bright lights and loud noises all will drain your energy and make it difficult to think. Which means you will to plan and strategize every outing.. Every time you want to meet a friend for coffee, family dinners and holidays.. every time.. No exceptions.

5. You are missing nuances: your brain can't process the complex of communication right now, could be the words, or the body language.. For myself it's the body language.. or situational cues. Which means your ability to situations and people are very much compromised. If your anything like myself, your probably feeling different, like something is missing.. It is; that easy understanding of the world around you is what's missing.

6. The world really isn't out to get you. I promise.. Though I know it feels like it.. I'm pretty sure of this one. I know it feels like everyone is neigh mean, but in all reality we are much more sensitive right now to others emotional variations. Also, people react when you are unable to give them the energy that you used to. Please don't take it personally as I did, change sucks for everybody.

7. You only know it if you live it. This one may feel completely unfair.. Your injuries and suffering are invisible to others. You may try to educate them as I did but your reality and what happened to you is is easier for them.. Definitely not you, to pretend as if nothing happened and everything is fine.

8. Your life as you knew it is over. There's no going back. Its completely unfair. But I'm sorry it's true. As hard as it is, you will need to let go of who you were.. and focus on who you are becoming.

9. Your 8 hours if sleep Is over. Brain injury and stroke survivors often suffer from sleep disturbances, like insomnia and broken up sleep patterns. Talk to your doctor, sleep apnea is common in brain injuries.. Something I wish my doctors had told me.

10. Its going to take time to heal. More time than you probably think. Any estimates on long are untrue. Perhaps a lot more time that seems reasonable. No one can really guess as every stroke and person is different. Expect things to be kinda messed up for bit.. So plan accordingly


I hope this blog for one, will show you that you are not crazy.. I as many others either are or have ridden the same roller coaster as you are. I'm so relieved to be able to talk to you and share the 10 things I wish I had know about stroke and brain injury. Thank you for reading.

 

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