As I look back on last year, I think about the obstacles Susie overcame and the ones we are still trying to get over/ around. The neurological obstacles associated with brain cancer and stroke have been very real. Core capabilities all of us tend to take for granted are what patients try to regain, such as feeding, being able to shower, getting dressed and so on, all on our own. We also look at activities that increase/ satisfy us in our quality of life, such as exercise, good books, movies, TV shows, music and so on. Some are easier to do than others.
Prior to Susie’s recurrence of brain cancer, she enjoyed reading. Her retention from one day to the next was often challenging, so she kept a cheat sheet to pickup from where she was. After her recurrence, she had trouble retaining from chapter to chapter. So we adjusted to short stories. But after Susie’s pons stroke (April 2017), reading stopped entirely and writing was impossible. She could not operate her mobile phone, let alone play Words with Friends (aka Scrabble). Thank goodness for the pause button on our TV, so I could explain where/ what is going on in a show at various stages.
In the nine months after the pons stroke, life has changed a lot. This weekend, Susie beat me in two games of Words with Friends and she is now reading our children’s books. Rereading these books have been a joy, as they have brought back memories of bedtime reading with our children. The two favorite books from this weekend were:
We are still dealing with insurance challenges around rehab coverage, but there is no doubt in my mind that continuing such care was critical to improving Susie’s quality of life. We are thankful for the compassion and love from her therapists at St. David’s Neurological Rehabilitation, who she looks forward to seeing every Tuesday and Thursday.
Happy belated New Year!