Friday, October 23, 2015

Recovery Beyond Two Years

I am five years post-stroke. Two-and-a-half years ago I started working with a new therapist. I hinted about the work we’re doing in Rehab From Rehab, but I’ve avoided specifics for two reasons:
1. I could not imagine how to write about his techniques.
2. I didn’t want to report on techniques that did not deliver results.

I’m heartened to state now that I have improved and there is good reason to believe I will continue to improve. How much? Will I ever be able to use my hand? No one knows.

I have recently been in touch with a stroke survivor and new reader to my blog who seemed to want assurance that a second round of Botox injections on a spastic forearm would yield a worthwhile result. While I wrote back with encouraging details of my Botox experience, I think my most important point was this: I would have lost heart and gone insane years ago if I’d been focusing on the result.

The information we stroke survivors want to hear is that we’re going to get better and how long it’s going to take. The past few years have taught me to shift my attention to the process and to focus on enjoying my life today.

I understand that it can be demoralizing to invest the time, money, and emotional energy in therapy when there is no immediate evidence of a result. In Stolen Identity, I wrote about the types of motivation that keep us going in an exercise regimen – the most helpful being the “identity motivator.”

Yes, I’ve continued therapy past the two-year mark and it has yielded incremental results. But I’m going to keep doing therapy because I’ve made the decision that’s who I am.

Next post: About my new therapist


  1. Very happy to have you back!!!

  2. You're right about investing time, money and effort into something that shows no evidence of improvement - "demoralizing" is the perfect word for it. It makes me feel like a gullible sap. It's hard to keep having the faith following failure after failure.

    I hope all goes well for you with your new therapist! And please keep checking in so that we know what's up.

    1. Hi Marce, I'm glad you're back as there is always a gem or 2 in your blog. For me, this time it's: "I would have lost heart and gone insane years ago if I’d been focusing on the result".
      This seems to be key to so many aspects of life as it's so important to try and stay present to our experience, even in times of difficulties. It's not easy but when we're suffering but 'in reality' there is no alternative,
      thanks and love, joe

  3. Nice writing, Marcelle!

  4. So good to hear from you, Marcelle. I like being reminded to enjoy today and to keep going on a positive path. You are awesome, love you!

  5. Hi Marcelle, I am so happy to read your wonderful essays again. Thank you for reminding us to be in the now, and enjoy life today.

  6. Marcelle, because I did not want to invest much time into therapy without results, I focused instead on living my life and being the most I can be. T othat end I work a full week at the business my husband and I own. I am the financial person - he runs the factory and life is good. I use a cane to walk. I don't think my hand will return to use, so I work around it. We have a thriving business which keeps us busy and uses our brain power. We entertain, we go out and life is not that greatly different than it would have been, except Jim ties my shoes each morning for me. we have 3 grandkids and 3 busy adult kids who keep us young as we follow their adventures. Although I could have lived without the stroke, it opened some unexpected doors for me. Marta