Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Therapy Group: Session 6 - Dreaming about my Goals

The Last Session.

It is hard to believe it is over already.

The therapist invited the head of the rehab programs to meet with us and to hear our views. It was a good thing. Unfortunately only half our group were there and our student volunteer was also gone already so it was just the 2 of us clients sharing our opinions but I certainly feel like our opinions were valued.

The original plan had been to go down to the river and release a few slips of papers with our worries, but it was crummy weather outside so we just staying in our room and sunk the papers in a bowl of water but that is not quite the same impact.

We took a piece of paper and we were supposed to make a list of our goals. Ever the over-achiever, I struggled with organizing the goals, and deciding what should be included and overshot with producing a time line while the poor other guy sat and waited for me to get done.

The therapist asked us each to pick one specific goal that we are willing to work on in the immediate future.

Surprise surprise, even to myself, I picked that I want to learn guitar!

Now what is the rational behind this?
  • I like guitar music.
  • We have Emily's beautiful guitar and no one is using it.
  • I tried piano and that had two problems. First, I really found it upsetting that I couldn't play like I used to and I also found my two hands were fingering at different speeds. A guitar will be new to me so no sense of what used to be and the hands are doing very different physical tasks.
  • The guitar might be great physical therapy for my functioning but weak and slower moving left hand
  • Working with the music should be a doable challenge to work on my poor short memory too
  • Music, for me, used to be like a form of meditation and very soothing, or it could be a way of venting emotions and feelings. Both would feel good about now!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Therapy Group: Session 5 - Strengths and Stressors

The paper hat in the picture was to reflect challenges we face and ways of dealing with the challenges. Many of the challenges we each came up with were also relevant to others in the group. I wish others were not also affected but at the same time it is good to know you are not alone in your struggles.

We also brought in objects that gave us positive feelings.

I brought in this willow tree figurine given to me by one of my daughters to encourage me and cheer me when I was starting to give up of hope. The figure is called Happiness.

The artist and creator of the Willow Tree ornaments, Susan Lordi writes:


FREE to sing, laugh, dance... create!

I hope this piece is very open to viewer interpretation. For me, it is the pure joy that comes from creating — in all of its forms. A side note … I love bluebirds.

I want to enjoy and make music again, I want laugh and move easily, and I want to be creative once again.. and I am working on it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer Therapy Group: Session 4 - Feelings about Changes

It was a small group today, but we had very good conversations.

We were supposed to have written a short story about how we felt after our health changed. I procrastinated and procrastinated but once I started to write it flew out fast and angry. I wrote about how I though I was not going to survive, and about the pain my family was going through. I wrote about how much anger I felt toward the medical system over mistreatment I received. I had though that a lot of that anger was put behind me but once I opened the flood gates there was no stopping me spewing pain and anger all over the paper. When we were discussing the activity I found I was willing to read it out loud to the others. Sharing my writing was a big step too.

Next we did a collage using pictures from magazines that showed our journey. I really enjoyed doing it and took a long time and worked on a lot of details. I found that as I moved from one side of the page to the other I portrayed a real sense of empowerment and a process where I was getting control of my life again and enjoying the company and support of others. I was slowly finding joy as I looked over the past two years. If I am a caterpillar it is taking a very time to to turn into a butterfly.

Anger and joy in one afternoon is exhausting.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer Therapy Group: Session 3 - Loss

I was not able to attend this session because I was taking the opportunity to go to the cottage with my daughter on one of her few days off.

I understand that it was a great day and enjoyed very much by the other participants. They let loose helium filled balloons with attached messages about sad things in our lives off over the city from the top of the hospital parking garage. It was letting go of some of the pain and sadness of the past and making way for a new future. I watched the birds and sky at the lake and felt pretty happy with the world too.

I wasn't there --- so no photos today, but the internet provides us with balloon clip art. (Smile)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Therapy Group: Session 2 - How do I see me?

We had to make a list of things we like about ourselves right now. Have you ever tried this?? It is hard to do honestly. There is the way you think others may see you from the outside and how they would appreciate and like you. But what about how you feel about yourself right now inside your own head? Whose standards are those voices you are hearing? Your parents? Your husbands? Your grade school teacher maybe? I remember Anthropology and Sociology classed teaching us the meaning of societal norms and values.

It is also hard to think about yourself in the here and now and not in comparison to the person you used to be. I was a pretty good public speaker, and then I became ill and could barely communicate at all. I can talk fine now, but not for too long, or if I am already tired I make a whole lot less sense. So am I still a good public speaker in others eyes? I really just don't know anymore. In my eyes I am adequate, but not really good.

Anyway I needed to make a list so here is what I came up with on that day.

I like that I am:

I am kind
I am generous
I am compassionate
I am insightful
I have a good sense of humor
I am a good friend
I am a loving wife and mother
I am creative
I am patient
I am hardworking
I am persistent
I am knowledgeable

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Therapy Group: Session 1 - Sharing about Ourselves

I am attending a 6 week therapy group led by The Easy Street Outpatient Program's Social Worker who is specializing in working with people who have had a life changing health crisis. Easy Street is a wonderful multi-discipline program operated out of the Rehab section of the Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg.

There are 4 of us participants, our Social Worker and a young volunteer. It is always difficult to become a new group. This time was easier though because all of us participants had met before for group with a different therapist. The one struggling the most to know how to fit in was the poor University student volunteer.

The hope is that we will go outside and use some of the spaces around the hospital such as the Gazebo in today's picture.

Sharing about myself and getting to know you was the first topic.

We were to bring a picture of ourselves that meant a lot to us. Wow, for a photography involved family that was tough one. Add to the fact that one of my cognitive problems has been making decisions, so I opted for not making a decision and just bringing several. There was the one of our wedding, one of me in the canoe this year for the first time in forever and one of Bob and me at the Stroke Recovery Christmas Party with Bob dressed up as Santa. The wedding was of course important to me as the Beginning of our life together as a couple. The picture of me in the canoe was also a new beginning; I have had a new opportunity to enjoy life and experience things that I came so close to loosing.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stroke Related Links - plus a few others

Links to major Organizations

Stroke Recovery Canada

This is a subsection of the March of Dimes site that basically acts as a resource site for Stroke recovery associations around Canada

Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba

My favorite hangout. I can't begin to tell you what a difference this organization has made to me and my recovery. Friendship, and some very practical help.

Heart and Stroke Association of Canada

Canadian with a lot of varied information. Good educational resource site.

Heart Association magazine archives (USA)

Stroke Connection is a magazine of the American heart association archived files of the magazine
and they have it on line. full issues for years back. I have loved going backward reading the magazines.

Alzheimer Society
many of the risk factors for Alzheimer are similar to those of Stroke. The site is very well done. I like one of the sections called the healthy brain in particular. It is my favorite spot for a couple of online puzzles under BrainBooster.

Power to End Stroke

Take a look at the comedy ads for public service ads.
strokes no joke

Some of my favorite Healthy Living and Wellness Web links around Winnipeg

Wellness Institute
Local Health resource location with lots of good programs.

Refit Center
close to home resource and fitness institute

Leisure Guide
Our city recreation programs lots of healthy living

Fort Whyte
It is not exactly healthy living in focus and more of an environmental stewardship focus, but a great place to go and pretty accessible. What it does have there that is interesting is accessible sailing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dream Big - Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband

I read about this song on Flylady the super organizational web support system. It was such a positive song I felt good for a long time after.

I really wanted to share this video.. it is actually disabled to show here, but it will take you to the uTube site so please go ahead and click on over!

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