Friday, April 24, 2009


One of the real challenges as a stroke survivor is dealing with expectations. For me that is how much recovery do I expect to achieve and what does that look like. The problem is that you can't get verification from any medical practitioners because they tell you it is so related to each individual. What I end up with then is my own. But how realistic are they? My track record on realistic expectations has not been great. Afterall I told my boss I would be back to work 3 months post stroke. That was 23 months ago. I had no idea that I had made an impossible committment. However, I guess the important point is how do you deal with the results rather than the goals you set for yourself.

It is hard for me not to measure my worth by the extent of my recovery. I guess in some ways I still grieve for some of the things I have lost because those things so much made up who I was. So how do I set realistic goals to shape who I am to become?

I have registered to participate in the NS Spring Triathlon on May 18. Is this realistic or am I trying to recover some of my pre-stroke activities to prove my worth? My swim will be very slow and I will need to have the race modified in order for me to participate. It will take about 3 hours for me to finish if I do all three events. After my swim on wednesday my goal to complete the whole triathlon seems a bit lofty. However, after some contemplation my thoughts are now to line up a teammate to do the swim if I'm not ready in a month. In that way I can still participate. Afterall no one else expects me to be able to do a triathlon, it is only my own expectations realistic or otherwise.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Gret Day Yesterday

Yesterday my Team Stroke from the North Shore Stroke Recovery Centre completed the Vancouver Sun Run. Our team consisted of 6 stroke survivors of which five were walkers and one was a runner. The remaining members were staff or volunteers. Everything went well. Our runner came in at 1:03 after expecting 1:10. For several of the walkers it was a celebration to finish. Personally, I was 20 minutes faster than last year @ 2:07:43 which I am pleased with.

I also received an email yesterday from the husband of one of our Young Stroke group who shared some spectacular news. I have reported about her before progressing from 500 steps to 1500 steps using her cane. Well on April 14 she walked 40 steps on her own without any aids. Our walking group has been her inspiration and I can't wait to here her opinions about her new found independence after 2.5 years in a wheelchair. That ability to take your first walking steps unassisted is similar to those of a child's first steps except I don't remember those. I will always remember my first steps post-stroke though. Congrats Elizabeth. It's great to hear about so many achievements.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I received an interesting email yesterday regarding the use of my recumbent trike for triathlon. Although recumbents are considered illegal for the sport of triathlon, I am pleased to say that the Canadian officials in this sport have made the decision to allow me to partipcipate in the Spring Triathlon and see how it goes. This is a sprint distance triathlon which will require a 750 metre swim 20 km bike ride and 5km run ( or walk in my case). Now that I have my approval I guess I have to realize that I will be doing this. I expect it will take me in the neighbourhood of three hours. Now I need to get myself ready I guess. There will be some interesting issues like getting out of the pool and walking without shoes but I'm excited about doing a little of something that I used to do pre-stroke.

It is nice to see people making positive steps towards inclusion. That helps to counteract the cyclist on thursday that called me a cripple because he thought I was in his way when he approached me from behind. I thought of the perfect rebuke except I didn't come up with it until today. What I should have said was "I know what my problem is... apparently you don't know what your's is". Despite that, yesterday was a good day.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

I listened to a very thought provoking sermon this morning. Reverend Nancy talked about praying for people living with disabilities and challenges in their lives. My first thought was how does one live with challenges and sudden changes in their lives. I think my personality allows me to approach challenges from a more positive viewpoint. Even though I believe there is much recovery yet to come, I really needed to find a way to participate with things as I recover. But that requires accepting that change has occurred. I was thinking during that sermon that I am very lucky to be able to find ways to continue to participate in the activities that I love. But the biggest part of that is attitude. If you believe that you can do something you will find a way to make it happen.

The reason I am attempting this trip is partly therapeutic for myself to prove to myself I can still do it. But the other reason is to show strokers what is possible. I am not as good good with words to motivate people so actions seems to be a better approach. I'm hoping that strokers will see that if I can do this then maybe walking to the library is within their reach. Maybe being a little less dependent is a possibility. This is about improving quality of life and extending oneself. Believe me this is going to be a stretch for me. Remember, never give up.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's not the riding I'm Worried About

I was thinking today about some of the challenges to be faced on this trip. Setting up my tent one-handed ought to be interesting. Getting dressed in the morning. Since I normally get dressed sitting on the edge of the bed or in a chair, lying on the floor in my tent will be different. I still haven't learned how to change a tire on my trike using only one hand. Transporting my gear to-and-from the truck at camp each night will require some thought. Getting my trike and I to and from Creston without taking our Van for a week. I guess I'll need help putting on sun screen so I don't burn the right side of my body (I can reach the left).

It looks like the riding is going to be the easy part. Now if only I can get some decent riding time.