I worked and worked and worked for months at physical therapy 5 days a week until I could walk on my own. It was my 6 month stroke anniversary when I took my first steps with a quad cane, and a brace on my right leg and foot. I wasn't the steadiest of them all, but I did it. Most of the time I walked with my walker, but just to prove a point, I walked about 10 steps with that cane. By 9 months I was walking just with that cane alone. I had to re-learn how to read a book, because it effected my eyes, and how they focused. I had a hard time comprehending things, and my retention was awful. I was going to occuptional therapy, learning how to "re-learn". It was like going to school all over again. I was also learning how to use my right hand and arm again. My sensory perception had been affected, so I couldn't feel anything on my right side. If I bumped into anything or cooked, It could be damaging, not being able to feel it. I had to be more aware of my right side than I used to.
The kids were bigger, and it didn't even seem to phase them, what had happened to me. I was a little slower around the house is all, and they never really asked questions unless something happpened to me. Which things usually did. Lillie was the most effected. She was like my little mother. Always looking out for me, and always concerned. Probably because we were so connected. It was around a year to the day after I'd been hospitalized and I'd had several TIA's since the first major one, and, been in and out of the hospital a couple of times, and been having major migraines for about a month, and was walking up the stairs to go lay down, and I slipped, and fell hell over heels down 14 stairs , all the way to the bottom. Lillie just happened to be at the bottom of the stairs, when it hapened , and saw the whole thing. All I heard was her screaming and crying. She grabbed hold of my head at the bottom and just layed there with me crying. I felt worse for her than I did for me. I told her to go get Jaime, and she didn't want to leave me. This was a three year old. Finally she did, and Jaime called 911. By this time, the paramedica pretty much knew what our phone number was ...it was pretty embarassing. I didn't break anything, thank goodness, but I ended up staying for a couple days, while they got the pressure in my brain under control from the migraines. I found out I hated lumbar punctures.
The doctors decided to treat me with major amounts of narcotics and shoo me away. Meanwhile, I was still recovering from my stroke, and trying to get better, and trying to get back into mainstream normalcy.
It was now 1998, and Brandon was about to turn 2. I was trying to plan his birthday party, but I was having alot of pain in my right shoulder. Pain that I thought was very strange concidering I could not feel my right side. A few months earlier, I had a bout of vertigo, brought on by my migraine attacks, and fell to the floor with my arm outstretched, and thought nothing about it, because I didn't feel the pain because it was my right arm. Now... however, I was feeling pain. Deep searing pain. It was time to go to the doctor. I had a xray of my shoulder, and was immediately sent to an orthopedic surgeon. He sent me to get an MRI of my shoulder and the results were not good. I had torn my rotator cuff all the way through, and had damaged my acromion bone. I was going to need surgery as soon as possible. Since I had no feeling, I was able to my arm, but on anyone else, the doctor said it would be next to impossible to move an arm with that injury, with that kind of pain. I was in for another bout of physical therapy.
I had the surgery, and it was horrible. I may have had no feeling, but I certainly didn't have "no pain". It was agonizing. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't move. I honestly wished I hadn't had the surgery.I was still having my migraines, so I was having double the pain, and I was miserable. I had a brace on my right leg and foot still, and was immobilized from the surgery, and I felt like someone who'd been in a skiing accident. My doctors put me on anti-depressants, thinking it would help, and suggested I go into therapy to cope with the "post traumatic stress" of having a stroke at such a young age, and all I wanted to do was just crawl in a hole.
Mark was not supportive at all, I was in constant pain all the time, and all the doctors wanted to do was to keep throwing medcaine at me instead of trying to find out what was really wrong. I kept going like that for at least another 9 months, heavily, having every doctor I was seeing prescribe me just about every narcotic known to man. I didn't get out of bed except to go to therapy for my shoulder. My kids knew where to find me, I was in my bedroom...in the dark...for months on end. The only person who was worried about me was my mother. Well...and my father. She knew it wasn't right what was happening but the doctors wouldn't talk to her because of the privacy laws. Until one day.. she tried to called me one morning and I wouldn't answer, and she knew I'd be home and got worried. She drove over and found me unconsious in bed, and called 911. All the narcotics I had taken, mixed with the antidepressants, had finally taken their toll on my body. My body had just plain given out. I had too much. All I was doing was following the directions on the bottles I was given, and it turned out to be too much for me. I got to the hospital, and my mother begged the doctors to do something. The doctor told her, that my organs were failing, and there was nothing they could do. She was not taking that as an answer. She nearly lost me three years prior, and I fought my way out of it, and she was not losing me to something like this. The doctor took blood test after blood test, and found out I was being poisoned by all the narcotics in my system, and I needed to get them all out for any hope of getting better.
I spent 2-1/2 weeks in an in hospital rehabilitation facility, just like they send people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs. It was the most horrible thing. I couldn't see my family, my children, my friends. I couldn't get phone calls. I was in a room with a woman who was an alcoholic and was put there against her will. I felt dirty and disgusting and like I'd done something horribly wrong. Like the nurses and doctors there all looked at you differently because you were there. From day ONE I couldn't wait to get out. I knew why I was there, I just didn't understand why it had gotten so bad. I blamed my doctors, as did my Parents and everyone else in my family, for just throwing medication at me instead of finding out what was wrong. In the end it nearly killed me.
3 weeks later, after suffering hell getting rid of all of that medication out of my system, I was leaving that place, and the light outside seemed like I was living on the sun.
I almost didn't recognize my own home, the changes that had been made, because I had been in a fog. In a way, it almost scared me. For over a year I had been blinded by medication. Now my eyes were open... what was I going to see?