Saturday, December 31, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

It was New Years Eve 2010 when it all changed! Throughout this process of healing, I've seen many ups and downs. I was told by my Physical Therapist LeAnne while I was still in ICU, that Rehab would ebb and flow, and it's done just that! Flashback to a year ago... we (my Speech Therapist Anne & I) were trying various food options in an attempt to get swallowing started. I had begun to take sips of beverages, but they had to be cold or hot with lots of flavor. In having all these prerequisites, we hoped that my brain would receive all the messages sent and begin remembering what to do. My Mom had heard that I was trying slowly with small bites of ice cream and she stopped by with the miniature/single serve Haagen Dazs containers in some of my favorite flavors. On New Years Eve, with 2011 approaching, I gave one of these mini containers a whirl. I can't remember the flavor now, but knowing me, it was probably coffee (side note - they make the best coffee ice cream). I slowly took small bites and hoped it would go down. I was having luck and before I knew it, the entire mini carton was gone and I hadn't aspirated at all. It took me a long time to eat it (3o minutes), but I ate it. Praise God! I had renewed hope that I would eat again. I didn't know all the details, but I knew I was on my way!!!!

2011 will always been in my recollection as the year of eating and I've just done that. The picture above is the hot Mocha, Anne, my Speech Therapist, brought me for practicing. No problem, I can practice all day! This year, I have eaten so much great stuff. It has been nice to be part of the dining experience once again. Not being a part of the dining experience was incredibly difficult for me... I put on a happy face and just sat there while those around me ate. It was painful and at times I just wanted to leave, but I didn't. My family struggled with the issue with whether or not to set a plate for me. I'm not sure I would of liked it either way, it all served as a silent reminder of how different I was. When I did start eating again, the amount/type was fast but my process was so slow. Everyone else around me was done with their meal and had cleared their dishes and left the table and I was only on bite 4. This was harder at particular times too. At my Brain Party everyone was so encouraged I was eating that the pressure of it all was intense. Needless to say, I ate when everyone left. Still I only eat in front of certain people (family & very close friends), I almost never eat out and if I do, its a rare & special occasion. It all has to do with pressure & fear. I know myself well enough & I know my swallow and all its components intimately, I just worry about how people will handle my new swallow or me aspirating. I pray you never gain this in-depth insight for yourself and that it all remains mechanical for you, because the latter STINKS!

Current Update - Swallowing - I eat just about everything! I have the hardest time with beef so I tend to avoid it or I stick to hamburger. I love SALAD, which was one of the things Anne said to me that if I nailed that, I'd know I was healed. I took that as a challenge. Stuff still intimidates me and I usually try food at home before I'll even consider eating it out. I've gained all my weight back ;( boo hoo... so that sets up my 2012 goal of using my many gym trips to get myself toned.

Thanks again for the prayers you have covered me in 2011. Please keep them coming.

Happy New Year! May you feel God's incredible presence in your life in 2012. Keep tuned I'll be sharing His many ways He makes His presence known in my life.


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