W hat are your biggest challenges/residual effects? My vision, balance and coordination were the biggest areas affected. Getting around was the first big challenge. About a week or so after getting home, the headaches got really bad. I was able to get stronger pain killers and after about a month, the headaches went away completely, which was awesome! For a long time, my vision was a problem. Things wouldn’t stay very steady (visually) when I would move around, but that eventually stopped. I still see double in a certain area on of my left eye, but my vision in general is still improving. Sometimes I feel visually “overwhelmed” when I’m moving around or in a crowd of people. I also got occasional vertigo from things like sit ups, lying flat on the floor or tipping my head backwards, but that has basically gone away now. Now the most consistent reminders of my stroke are the tingling in my left fingers, dryness in my left eye, and that my left eye doesn’t open as wide as the other one. But these are such minor things and I feel so blessed because of that!
A ny therapy tips you picked up during your time in therapy that might help others? All of the physical therapy I got was amazing, but I only did that a couple of days a week, so it was really what I did on my own time that made the biggest difference. Besides just practicing the things I learned in therapy, I reincorporated CrossFit, Zumba and yoga into my schedule as I was able. CrossFit helped me get my strength back, but also helped me get back some of the coordination I’d lost. Zumba was also excellent for coordination and agility, since there are a lot of movements you do when dancing that you wouldn’t do in your every day life. And yoga was great for my balance and flexibility, since I was often very stiff and tight from not moving as much. Now I’m back to CrossFitting 5 days a week and doing Zumba and yoga at least once or twice a week. Also, I noticed during my PT sessions that some movements or positions might be really difficult, or even induce vertigo, but if I did them again, they would become easier, more comfortable or the vertigo would stop. I started challenging myself little by little to test out those uncomfortable positions (like leaning backwards for example, or doing sit ups). Now they’re no problem!