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More of This and That

I missed some time in there, so I’ll post a couple of tidbits from the past weeks.

I had planned to post on Easter.

I think a lot of stroke sufferers (is that a word?) tend to stay inside a lot.  It’s somewhat embarrassing to go out and do things with folks staring and all.  But, you learn to live with it.  Walk through a mall with a kid balder than Kojak and you can handle any stares.  We have been out a fair amount:  grocery shopping, Ikea, the aquarium, the park.  Anissa hasn’t been able to do loud places too well yet.  It’s literally over stimulation for her at this point, so we go during off hours.  Church has been avoided.  It doesn’t mean we don’t still worship, it just means we haven’t been to church in a while.  I still say that it’s important to worship on Sundays, but it’s also important to live it Monday through Saturday as well.  So, Easter Sunday…we snuck in a little late to church and snuck out a little early during the singing.  It was a packed house, which made it difficult, but we made it, and called it a success.

After church, we went out to lunch.  When I first suggested the place, both my mom and my wife kind of turned up their nose.  The kids were ecstatic.  My choice for Easter lunch?  None other than Golden Corral.  Remember how I said everything is therapy?  Remember how I said she couldn’t remember the tastes of certain foods?  Name one place better than an all you can eat buffet for that kind of situation.  She wanted to try every piece of pie there.  It turned out awesomely.

The kids were all dressed up, we were all dressed up, it felt a little bit like we were sliding back into our version of normal.  A good time was definitely had by all.

We’ve just got an extra pair of wheels these days.

I had planned to post on our anniversary.

That came and passed last month with a simple little, “Happy Anniversary” said across a couch.  Best damn present ever.  Twelve years ago that day, we had a simple little ceremony.  My dad performed it.  We were so broke then.  The rings cost a combined $75 from a pawn shop.  Our wedding song was, “Feels Like Home” by Bonnie Raitt.  In my eyes, it was the perfect culmination of a lunch date that turned into forever.  We never really did have an actual honeymoon.  Still haven’t.  Never really had the time.  I’m kind of targeting our 25th anniversary for something.

Among others, our son, Nathaniel, was there in all of his bundles of chubbiness.

Don’t you judge us!  😉

Seriously, though, we had what some would call “family pressure” to get married before the baby came and it was a conscious choice on our part to not get married because others wanted us to.  Instead, we wanted to make sure it was right for us.  Long story short, and a couple of ticked off family members later, it was, and the rest, as they say, is history.  In my opinion, the best marriages are those that happen for the right reasons, and only time will tell if that’s the case in any situation.

We both agree that we’ve got a pretty good thing going on here.

I had planned to post when we made a definite decision on something big:

Hey Blogher10!  We’ll be there!

But no.

I never posted those things as they happened chronologically.

Instead, I waited until today.

Why today?

Because something amazing happened on Thursday and today is the first time I’m really getting a chance to tell about it.

How’s that for a lead up?  Originally I had this post and the previous one together.  Sorry, but I’m lamenting…and apparently producing War and Peace these days.  Aren’t you glad I split it into 2?  Anissa says I’m too long-winded and it should’ve been 4.

I had planned on taking 2 days off of work Wednesday and Thursday.  It didn’t work out exactly as planned on Wednesday, but on Thursday I was bound and determined to relax.  So, I dropped Anissa off at therapy and went hunting for a book store.  I wanted to relax with a cup of coffee and browse some magazines, and just take some time for myself for an hour or two.

That’s all I wanted:  A mini-breather with zero demands on my attention.

So after I dropped her off Thursday morning, I went in search of a Barnes and Noble or Borders, or something like that.  I went in 4 directions at the height of rush hour.  Wasn’t all that exciting.  So, a little dejected, I swung in to a Dunkin Donuts and asked if they knew of any book store.  They pointed me across the street to a plaza.  I swung over there and saw the place they were talking about.  It was a little hole in the wall book store.  They weren’t open until later, so I waited.

As I was sitting there, checking emails, I noticed an acupuncturist shop.  I figured what the heck.  Let’s go talk to the guy and see what he can do.  The acupuncture we tried before had minimal benefits, but I still had it in my head that we needed someone dedicated to their craft, not an M.D. who practiced acupuncture.  So, figuring I had nothing to lose, I went in and talked to the guy.  Turns out, he’s a second generation acupuncturist, been doing it for a while and has had success with stroke victims, AND he had an appointment open right after Anissa got out of therapy.

I picked Anissa up from therapy and explained that we had another appointment to get to.  She wasn’t all that thrilled and argued that she didn’t want to go.

I asked her to simply trust me.

The night before was particularly overwhelming to me, and when I went to bed, I prayed for some more progress in her leg and arm.

We got in there, and she was very apprehensive.  The acupuncturist explained a few things to her, and examined her, and then got to work on her.

After one session, we had the following effects:
– straightened her jaw out.
– Got her tongue working better, improving speech.
– She was actually able to feel when she moved her right leg.  It’s been guesswork for her until now.
– She was able to open her mouth wider.
– She was able to raise her leg farther.
– Improved feeling/sensitivity across the board, in her face, leg, foot, arm.
– And, I finally I saw her ankle move.

We’ve got a second treatment on Wednesday.

I’m pretty pumped with those results.

Her spirits are still pretty good.  There are moments of weakness, but those are to be expected, and we’re handling it all pretty well.  She’s now pushing off with her right foot to stand up.  Once she gets up, she’s not able to fully straighten it out and lock the knee yet.  Her left eye won’t look left yet, so she still wears tape over part of the glasses to decrease her double vision.  Her right arm is coming slowly.  She’s able to pull it down, and arm wrestle a bit.  Movement on her arm is one directional, which is confusing me.  She’s also able to squeeze her fingers some.

I think that bit of success finally gave me that second wind I’ve been searching for.

More importantly, it feels like we’re just starting to crank up the diesel.

26 Comments on “More of This and That”

  1. #1 Kristin
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Wow, wow, wow…incredibly exciting news about Anissa’s progress. And, I am thrilled to hear y’all are going to be at BlogHer.

  2. #2 Sharon Heg
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Thanks for the update, Peter. I’ve been reading those, as well as Anissa’s.

    re: “The “movement on her arm is one directional…” I mentioned it in some of my replies but you were getting hundreds of those when Anissa was in the hospital and rehab. So to reiterate, I’m an OT – I work in Home Health, which means I see my patients after they’ve gotten out of rehab but are too sick to go to Outpatient. Anyway, the movement I’m sure you’re seeing is all flexion (shoulder up with arm in front – and a little shoulder abduction too, which is in towards the body, elbow bent so hand goes towards shoulder, wrist bends down, fingers curl/close). All the same movements you probably see her do involuntarily when she sneezes or yawns. For whatever reason, the brain instinctively will allow the muscles that move the arm in those flexion/abduction positions to work better, as opposed to the ones that allow her to move her shoulder back, straighten her elbow, lift her wrist up or straighten her fingers – those movements will take longer to come back because they’re not instinctual.

    In case Anissa hasn’t mentioned it lately, you are one awesome husband. This latest burden is not a welcome task and I’m sure you’re just taking it all in stride because you love her and want her to get better and you know that if the tide was turned, she would be doing the same for you. But even so, I know you are working as hard as Anissa is to make things “good”, just in different ways. You are a rock star!

    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I am so excited by this post! Such promising news and way to be in the right place at the right time! That is awesome that you found just what you were looking for with the acupuncture. You didn’t mention if you were able to relax and recharge a little at the bookstore, I hope you were! Keep up the good work Peter! You are amazing!

  4. #4 Andi
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I am so excited that you tried acupuncture again! This type of energy work can be so amazing. One thing to be aware of (and your acupuncturist may have mentioned this) is that this type of work can bring up a lot of emotion. This is normal and good so make sure she let’s it all come out. With everything she’s been through, it would be shocking if she didn’t have a lot come up! 🙂

    another type of energy I recommend in conjunction with that is Reiki. I’ve seen some amazing thing with it. And if I wasn’t in Colorado, I’d come do sessions for your whole family for free. I think that’s something that would help you, too, with all the intense stress you’ve been under!

    You are doing amazing things for her. You all rock!

  5. #5 Christina
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I love acupuncture and if you can find a good person I tell you results will happen. I was amazed by the changes I saw in some issues that I have had literally from years in my neck/shoulder. I am glad it is doing the trick!!! Hang in there and keep trying as many things as possible. She is SO strong as are you!!!

  6. #6 Monica~MommyBrain
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 9:31 am

    This is great news!!! I’ve never tried acupuncture… I’m way too scared of needles… (shuush) I’m so glad to hear that it helped her though! I love reading your posts!!! Especially when they contain such awesome news! Things are going to start happening fast! I just know it!
    Can’t wait to see you at BlogHer… that is *if* i can get through the flood of people that are going to surround you! 🙂

  7. #7 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    HECK YEAH!!!!

  8. #8 Tricia
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    “Sufferers” is a much better word than “victims.” I like your new word. 🙂

    Congratulations on the great news and the progress! That is amazing! GOD is amazing! As always, I will keep praying. May God bless you and your family.

  9. #9 NaomiJesson
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 11:17 am

    That is BRILLIANT to hear that the acupuncture was so effective! Awesome! In high-intesity physical rehab we have also had some wonderful results with it as well as botox. Unfortunately, with the botox, all us ladies keep trying to fall face first in front of the needles. Haha!

    Good to hear that you are venturing out and knowing your limits.
    Hugs to you all.

  10. #10 Sandi Kirk
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    instead of sufferers or victims in anissas case you could use “asskickers” ie: stroke asskickers … yeah that would work.

  11. #11 Margaret
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I do not have a whole lot of personal faith in acupuncture. But I am so happy to hear that things are going better for Anissa – and all of you – because of it.



  12. #12 Dawn Tucker
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Awesome post and awesome news!! Really happy for all of you.

  13. #13 Akilah Sakai
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    How wonderful! Anissa is kicking some butt.

  14. #14 Jessica Colinares
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    You know what I think of acupuncture and I think God led you to the right place to get the help that you all needed. The experience Anissa had with this treatment is exactly what I hoped and prayed for. It makes my heart sing!

  15. #15 Jessica
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    And I call ’em Stroke Survivors btw

  16. #16 Puna
    on Apr 20th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    What a beautiful thing! I have been following but a little apprehensive about commenting. I do know that I’m touched every time I come here. Frankly the acupunturist (sp?) scares me but I have a friend going through acupunture school now and this may just have me relenting to being a guinea pig for her…blessings to all of you.

  17. #17 Aimee Greeblemonkey
    on Apr 21st, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Such AWESOME news!!!!!!!!!!

    And also, my hubby and I are going the party pass route for BlogHer NYC!

  18. #18 joy smith
    on Apr 21st, 2010 at 11:13 am

    WOnderful news!!!
    I am happy for you!!

  19. #19 MommyNamedApril
    on Apr 22nd, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    great update – and i loved hearing about your wedding story 🙂

  20. #20 Will F
    on Apr 23rd, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I’m so glad the acupuncture is working. You’re entire family is strong and I hope things will continue to get a little better one day at a time!

  21. #21 Blog Fan
    on Apr 24th, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Fantastic results!!!

  22. #22 emma
    on Apr 24th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Acupuncture is amazing!
    And I’m thrilled you both will be at BlogHer 10 too. I really look forward to meeting you IRL.

  23. #23 michelle
    on Apr 25th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Thank God! Thank God! Oh, I haven’t been online in a while, and I didn’t know of Anissa’s progress. All I can say is thank the Lord. I am so happy for all of you. May her progress be continuous and as pain-free as possible.

  24. #24 Supa Dupa Fresh
    on Apr 26th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Awesome. Acupuncture is great. I’m so glad you had a little tiny bit of time to yourself to refresh, even if you ended up using it to implement another step of miracle.



  25. #25 Pretzellu
    on Apr 27th, 2010 at 8:50 am

    You and wife’s story is inspirational on so many different levels – today I must tell you that the hope you shed is in your revelation about your wedding. My daughter is expecting a baby with her boyfriend, I do not want to put any pressure on them to “do the right thing” – I want it to be there decision on what happens. They hardly have a dime between them, but they are in the mind set that they are together and very excited about the baby. You gave me a new set of eyes to realize this is going to be okay – no matter the relationship outcome – a baby is coming! My granddaughter. thank you!

  26. #26 Kelly
    on May 12th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I continue to be blessed, inspired by, amused by, kind of in love with your family. We continue to pray for the best, for peace, for healing, for laughter!