It was awesome!
I have found my “ikigai” (that’s a Japanese word which means, “the reason to get up in the morning”).
I have become more aware, centered, happier, appreciative of what life has to offer, and more authentic in my approach to life.
One of the most critical factors in my recovery was making a new friend, a Functional Neurologist named Arjan Kuipers. Within his practice of over 28 years, he has witnessed the ability of some patients to have even MORE recovery than initially predicted. This additional recovery was possible even years after a stroke or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). We have hit it off very well and become friends.
If you remember the message that I posted for the Two Years Post-Stroke Anniversary, I mentioned that I was “struggling with my spasticity in my arm.”
Arjan designed some exercises for me as a ‘test run’ – and within ten months of doing those exercises every day, my spasticity was reduced by 50%!
We call them ‘basic neuromotor exercises’ -- and they consist of pre-crawling, reflex inhibition exercises, and other exercises put together in a specific sequence that you must do (without fail!) every day.
Basically, it is making movements like a baby again. I’ve been doing these exercises for almost a year now, and it works! Also, as recently as a couple of months ago, I have regained a bit of movement back in my left thumb.
In addition to this ongoing exercise routine, I recently gave my first speech ever. Believe me, it was miles out of my comfort zone. But I did it. The speech was a collaboration with Arjan, and he talked about the exercises I mentioned above as well.
So -- if you want to watch an “introvert” giving a speech with disabilities such as aphasia, apraxia, and dysarthria, you can watch the video here ☺️
There is even more to share with you. I just finished my book!
The book is about my struggles to get through my two strokes. Within the book, you can read how I alleviated neuropathic pain, learned how to walk “normally” and then run once again, and learned to move my fingers. And, although it is still not perfect at present, I was also able to recover my ability to speak. Of course, I mention in the book all of the “experimental biohacking” exercises that I have done to reach the goal of where I am now.
All of these things were accomplished AFTER six months had passed post-stroke.
I not fully recovered yet, but I am going for it. Maybe in 10 years…
You can read the introduction of my book here.
I have sent it out to be edited, and I am hoping to have it released in the fall of 2019.
Finally, we now have investors for our brain.rehab company. Yes -- I’m starting a company as well (that’s my “ikigai”) for post-clinic stroke survivors and TBI patients. You can read about brain.rehab here.
Some people say “adversity is the best teacher” – and it sure was for me. I had worked far too hard over the years, striving to create success in the eyes of the world in the form of money and status -- all that ‘stuff’ that our society urges us to think matters, but it does not.
I have to admit, I was also hard on myself when I looked in the ‘accountability mirror’ and knew that it was time to make changes, to move forward in my life. I was already at a point where it felt necessary – essential -- to make a fresh start. The unexpected arrival of a chance to do that was was exactly what I received when I had my first stroke.
Every adversity holds within it:
a profound life-transforming advantage.
During my recovery, I took the chance to take a deep breath and ‘re-invent’ myself into a better human being than I was previously.
If you are a stroke survivor, I urge you to not give up. There is a path to recovery.
Take your steps in the right order. Be patient, do not doubt, and allow yourself the freedom to become your new and better self.
I’ve done it, and you can, too!
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