Archive of ‘Health’ category

Make Gratitude your Attitude.

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Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie.

As seen through the lens of a near death experience, you have no real problems. Paralysis? That’s a problem. Being stuck in a wheelchair for awhile(permanently for some) that’s a problem. These are just a couple of the problems I had after the stroke, and although the wheelchair is a thing of the past(see here) I still have many mountains to climb as I move forward in my recovery. Most of these mountains are things people take for granted. Like, gainful employment, driving, and generally living an independent lifestyle. If anything, that was my modus operandi before the stroke. I’ve always been and am fiercely independent and some would say stubborn. However, like everyone else I took my independent existence for granted. Imagine losing your lucrative job, nice NY apartment, a significant other, and waking up incapacitated in a hospital in one fell swoop? That is the reality(or more like un-reality) I woke up to in 2013.Many miles away from where I had built my home. As I grappled with my daunting circumstance, I often asked my distraught Parents to take me back to my apartment in NewYork. However, that was not to happen because I didn’t yet fully comprehend what  had happened to me. Fast forward to 2018… Today, I stand here having completed years of therapy and hitting some pretty big milestones. After climbing all those mountains, taking things for granted has generally been beaten out of me. In light of what could(and what did) happen, I have no problems. I had money in the bank, great health, and love before the stroke.Yet I still have them after! Although, maybe not in the capacity that I would like. Regardless I have them. Thus, I am working away  like a little construction worker rebuilding my life  after pouring the foundation of regaining basic skills. I have had to get back to eating solid foods, re-learn how to walk and work on social skills in order to function normally again. Although, it’s still a work in progress, aren’t we all? I figure, as long as you’re still alive you have a reason and a purpose to be here. Therefore march on brave soldiers!

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Off to see the Wizard

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“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” -Eckhart Tolle.
 

The last thing I remembered was struggling to get up off a floor that I had just fallen down to. Eventually exhausted, I drifted off into an unconscious state. This is  how I was found,  only later  did I feel very lost. The next instance that I was conscious for, was waking  up in a hospital bed about 650 miles away from the  NewYork hotel bathroom floor I had fallen on. I was in a rehabilitation  center after having had a massive stroke at 28 years old. Suddenly, I was thrust into a deep darkness that I felt there was no escape from. How do I get back to NYC and when!?  This is all I asked my Parents about. Well, I’m still in recovery but my mind and  my outlook of the future are  not so bad anymore. In fact, there has been tremendous recovery because I got my mind and emotions onto a better train track.  So, how do you  divert  your path after near imminent disaster? First of all give it time, nothing worth having(or achieving) happens instantaneously. Secondly, welcome as much positivity into your  life as possible. Once you have taken time, and ingested a heavy dose of positivity you can begin steps to clean up the mess after the storm. Also, be on the lookout for any signs of progress however small. This will fuel you onto your bigger goals. Because, long term goals are made up of many short term goals.  Give yourself grace, not everything will be perfect, moving forward not backwards is key.  Not to mention, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Recovery from any disaster is a process. Finally, work SMART, and ask yourself if your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time measured. All these things will help you rebuild your life after you’ve suffered a setback, whatever it may be.

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Reference Point.

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          “For contrary to legal precedent, women are considered guilty of incompetence until proved otherwise.”  -Amelia Earhart.

For  some time my life has been dictated by the reference point of before the stroke versus after the stroke. The closer I came either physically or mentally to being like myself before the stroke marked improvement and progress. No doubt that is a clear indicator of recovery after such a horrific event. However, what if the stroke wasn’t so much a detriment but something like a  flint against which you  sharpen a rock? I had become that rock. Therefore, rather then pretend that the stroke had destroyed me, why not see that  I was very much still “there?” In personality and physically.  If a city can be rebuilt after undergoing a round of intense bombing, then why couldn’t I?   In this  process it has been imperative to stay positive and be around others who are. Because, sadly as I have experienced first hand, there are more people out there that want to extinguish your light rather then feed the fire.   Personally I am frustrated by the reference point, as I’m sure so are other stroke survivors. To be compared to ones self and trying to outdo it, seems like a cruel sports event. Being stubborn and ambitious, I naturally try to outdo myself(and others) anyway. Not only is that the natural human inclination, but this was something different. I was being measured against myself and  asked to meet the expectations of others. Naturally, this turned into walking a personal war path to prove any naysayers wrong. Maybe you haven’t heard, but anyone who tells you your aspirations are impossible is a liar.  After all, if it can happen to anyone why not you?  Winning the lottery, finding great love, traveling the world, and full recovery after a stroke. I believe all these things are possible to those  that deign to dream them. However, don’t insert a wishbone where a backbone should be. The people that will emerge  after a tragedy and that should be kept in your atmosphere, are the ones that build you up rather then drag you down. When it comes to the naysayers, learn to protect yourself from them and relish the moment you inevitably prove them wrong. Because, if you remain focused on the finish line rather then the hurdles, you will.

Love and light!
bleu
 

Find your Tribe.

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“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”

Chuck Palahniuk.

I have always felt a little out of place or like an observer of this great big fish bowl earth, that’s teeming with life. This was especially true after I was injured and found myself displaced from where I had been thriving in New York City. I woke up at the bottom of a pity pit in a hospital rehabilitation   center in my home state, back where I started before I moved away.  I had hit a snake  in life and slid right back to the beginning of the game. This couldn’t be more true since I had to relearn basic life skills that I had at one time already mastered. You would think a clean slate would be a good thing, but not  so in this case. I had witnessed all the dominos I  painstakingly set up, tumble down at the push of a bad life circumstance.  I would soon be tasked with rebuilding  it and that’s what I am now, a full time construction worker. The sixty four days I spent in the hospital  and even more before that saw me inching towards the starting line.  Although I had a supportive crowd cheering me on, I had lost my “tribe.” A group of fun like minded people that helped motivate  me to be better were missing from the hospital setting.  Therefore, I went to many therapy appointments(after discharge) with a different kind of tribe. They weren’t bad just fellow people that were hurt like me, so   it was dark and depressing in that village. I missed the glittering happy atmosphere that I had been used to, since  it lifted my spirits. Although, I certainly tried to get back there with weekend workshops like Blogcademy.(Glitter!)However, after  two days of sunshine, on a Monday I had to return to that same dark village that was therapy; never was the importance of your atmosphere so obvious to me. Since then I have stumbled unexpectedly into members of my tribe(like this)which always makes me feel much better.  Each day as I run into these like minded individuals and recover more, I  can see the entrance to my village getting closer and closer. Never take for granted or underestimate the importance of being  where you feel  you belong, it will save your life!

Cheers!
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The Work of Your Hands.

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“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him.” positively. -Bob Marley.

Whether you’re considered an artist or not, we all create something. What ever that something is, be it cooking, painting, playing an instrument, taking care of a loved one, or simply doing your menial job well, all of it matters.  Ensure the legacy you leave is one of love,  hard work, and one that leaves an indelible mark on  those around  you. Even the most simple tasks done well can  give a sense of pride. Since I have not been able to work in my busy fast paced  career since the stroke, I’ve learned to channel that energy elsewhere.  Now I put  much more care and effort into everyday tasks. None of which are recognized on a stage, by the public ,or sometimes even my own family. However, when I know I’ve done something  to the best of my ability or taken extra care, I’m satisfied. Because, whether it’s folding towels, washing dishes, or organizing my desk, I aim to leave a trail of excellence, and that’s how I’ll be remembered. No job is too small,  or too big.  When you start by tackling the “small things,” with ease, the big things  get a whole lot easier. At one point I struggled to even dress myself, it was utterly exhausting! Afterwards I felt as if I’d just had a work out and be angry at the fact it took so much more effort then it did prior to the stroke.  As I lay huffing and puffing on my bed, my Mother assured me with a laugh“It’ll get easier.” And you know what?  One sock at a time it did. Now it takes me no more effort then it did before to get dressed. At  one point I balked at therapists who assured me doing the dishes would pay off. Even though I once thought all these menial things made no difference, I was wrong. By starting with washing one dish, putting on one incredibly tight pressure sock(with one arm), folding  that little washcloth, and organizing a drawer… Those things have now become getting fully dressed with ease, doing full loads of laundry, ALL the dirty dishes in the sink, and organizing an entire office. Since I have discovered this secret of starting small,  I’m continually up to something. After all,  every Neil Armstrong has had to start training down on earth before they can  take their first steps on the moon.

one step for man….

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When are you pretty?

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All little girls should be told they are pretty,even if they aren’t.”
-Marilyn Monroe.

We all know them,beautiful celebrities,and internet beauties.Men want them and some women want to be them.I used to look at photos of women I found to be beautiful,but I stopped.Why would I avoid this you may ask? Well, I realized that taking in another’s physical beauty made me forget and value less my own.It’s no secret that ladies fall into the comparison trap.How could you not when television,magazines,and some facets of social media are dominated by gossip and the admiration of beautiful women.Unfortunately that’s our culture,but I choose to avoid it.Because it only serves to bring you down and glaze over your own lovely attributes.Not too long ago I heard an interesting idea, that by reveling or envying another woman’s beauty you can forget your own and in a way disallow Her to express Hers.Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.However, what if it’s in the mind? Do you feel prettiest in a physical sense(i.e dress,features,a body)or do you feel it the most internally? Some people feel prettiest when they get a certain look from a significant other,when their having a good hair day,when they help a stranger,or when they look good in clothes.I would be lying if I said physical appearance doesn’t matter to us.Indeed it’s as much in the mind as it is in a physical expression.I find the more I avoid the comparison trap,the more I see my particular brand of beauty.This is why We should all try to avoid these negative sources.It is wonderful how much better you’ll feel when you allow yourself to be built up,rather then torn down.We have all heard over and over the problems and complexities of raising a new generation of girls to be strong and value themselves.That’s wonderful but what about the grownup girls too!? Change occurs from the top down,so if we want a better future for females then said females need a good board to jump off of.This begins by everyone feeling pretty(awww)whether it’s on the inside or out for you it doesn’t matter.As long as you find it and I can promise you it’s there! I don’t like to make promises often,but this one is easy.I know that feminism can be a dirty word, but that shouldn’t make self confidence one!
Therefore go out there and fear no mirror! Instead look back at yourself as you imagine a person who adores you would.Find your favorite features,think about what makes you happy.If nothing else start avoiding the comparison trap and see yourself with fresh unbiased eyes.

Self love and cyber hugs!

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Standing on a soapbox.

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                                   “Dying is easy,it’s living thats hard.” -unknown

I find this statement to be quite true at times.

Not just for me but for everyone on this earth.

Anyone can get on a soapbox with a bullhorn.

Except few people can command attention with it,despite their cries of indignation.

Through circumstance I have been given that authority,

likewise ,“With great power comes great responsibility,” as said by Stan Lee.

Through unexpected,and unplanned circumstances I’ve found myself primed for a soapbox.However small the audience,each person matters.The question begging an answer is,now that I’m here, what do I have to say?

While driving along to a concert with my family a thought occurred to me;Attempting to describe any singular great experience is akin to trying to fit music and the entirety of feelings it encompasses into a box.

Besides such an act seeming impossible, at times so has my recovery.

However, I have some good news it’s not impossible.My hopes besides a full recovery are to demonstrate what’s been given to me to others similarly in need of their own recipe to bring them through their troubles.No one person can fulfill this because its something we have to find on our own however other people, like the Cheshire Cat(Alice in Wonderland),can certainly help point the way.

Which direction will you choose? Well, that depends on which cat you encounter.

The best kind are positive,follow through with what they say,and are able to properly demonstrate love.

It is in love that I recommend blocking out the negative things of this world,

especially when faced with an important mission.

It is not enough to simply be alive, but to also actively live your life and share that lust for life with others.Because were all in this boat together.

Overall it has been these types of people that have built a human chain of sorts that has brought me through.

Humanity is like a chain link fence,were all together as one, if any link be weak,strengthen it.

How do you help the weak link? Just as you would a metal fence,build it back up.

Be it with words,inspiration,a hug,some physical help,or whatever the method it’s important to do it.

***When I was living in New York City I saw that negativity could spread throughout people almost like a cancer and physically exhaust you.

Now that I have been able to look back into it like a snow globe after returning from the brink of death,my hope is to be an inspiration,not only thru actions but in,interactions as well.

Each one of us is a walking,living story, in order to let other people read your book, you have to show them.

Nonetheless I am determined that where I’m headed is nowhere near where I came from.

 

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The Road to Recovery…

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On October 12th of 2012 in upstate Newyork  at the age of 28 I had  a massive stroke out of nowhere,but now a little over a year of  recovery time,I am in therapy on a weekly basis,its been a hard road…We put a years worth of miles on our car in half the time…

There are several types of therapies to keep you moving…

 

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Occupational Therapy
  3. Massage Therapy(which dealt with getting nerves to wake up again)this was considered to be an alternative therapy
  4. Suit Therapy-which is typically for children with Cerebral Palsy but helps to activate
  5. Speech underused muscles 6. Speech TherapySincemy discharge from Inpatient Rehab(all 64 days of it…) I have been on a weekly schedule of therapy and Doctor visits,which at first were arduous,but now have become routine as I make my way back into some normalcy in what as been a  very irregular and difficult time period in my life thus far,now all I can do is continue to work,persevere,and keep hope.Never has the saying “One day at a time been more relevant,as well as the term ‘Patience of a Saint’  While  recovering and  being less independent I have had to learn how to be patient and wait for nearly everything, which has probably been  one of the larger  changes,coming from being a fiercely independent woman….
  6. Barwis Method is ran by College    Football Strength&Conditioning Coach,legendary Mike Barwis out of Plymouth,Michigan, the training facility consists of an area for weights and modified workout machines(built by personal specifications according to Mike) as well as an indoor field,He physically challenges athletes and laymen alike and of all physical rehab I have done his is my favorite.These days Mike is a hard guy to catch as He builds a new  center and more recently has begun filming on American Muscle,soon to be on  the Discovery Channel.I have been lucky to meet this forward thinking trainer,not to mention a person that like most rather than being self focused chooses to take time to help others.

A poem upon parting……

One ship drives East,
and another drives West,
With the self-same winds that blow;
Tis the set of the sails, and not the gales,
Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life;
Tis the set of the soul that decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

XO   **BLEU**

 

 

 

 

These Days

On October 12,2012 I suffered a massive stroke that  has  surely  changed things ,mine will be a story of recovery and fighting the good fight to get back what I lost as well  as be grateful for the things I still have and can offerI have found very little in the way of fellow young survivors save for one,Nina from Boston,Massachusetts who had one at the age of26Shehas a great quirky blog check it out here——>POP!

Cheers!
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These Days….

On October 12 of 2012 I   suffered a massive stroke at the age of twenty eight I personally  have found very little in the way of other young survivors except Nina from Boston who has a great quirky blog whom also had a stroke but at an even younger age of twenty six,check it out here—-—->POP! I plan on sharing my story of rehabilitation and fighting the good fight to regain what was lost,please feel free to share and/or contact me(lcotham@rocketmail.com with any questions or ideas/stories,Thanks for reading!!

Cheers!Picture 80

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