As we enter 2019 and Amanda heads towards the second anniversary of her stroke, she continues to make constant improvements and shows clear signs her brain healing is ongoing.
I also wonder if a recent diabetes diagnosis may actually be having a positive benefit.
There was a 4 week gap between the blood test, which revealed a very high blood sugar count over the preceding 3 months, and the doctor’s visit to discuss how to manage it.
During this time I drastically cut what I already thought was a low sugar intake to as little as possible.
As a consequence Amanda lost 6kg in weight and the ongoing swelling of her right leg, an issue since before her stroke but apparently made worse by it, drastically reduced to just about zero.
The doctor decided since this dietary change was already having a measurable physical effect, that she would hold off on medication and re-test Amanda in 2 months’ time. At this point a new blood test would be able to check on the preceding 3 months since our sugar intake has been cut back.
As diabetes is now better understood it has become accepted that, with early intervention, it can be reversed, and with minimal indulgence over the Christmas period I’m hopeful that we have managed to achieve that reversal process.
The positive stroke-related benefit?
Like too much salt, from what I have read, too much sugar can also impair brain functionality. Since cutting back the sugar, Amanda’s mental agility, alertness and definitely her short term memory function, all appear to have improved.
One of the most significant effects of her brain bleed was the loss of ‘symbol’ recognition (numbers, letters, colours and shapes) and a loss of short –term memory. But regular examples, which could easily be missed unless I make a note of them, seem to prove her healing process is being assisted with a combination of daily cognitive therapy, using the Constant Therapy app, and the ongoing use of Voluntastrols as a supplement designed to assist her brain function.
She pointed to a group of flowers at the bottom of the garden, noting ‘the red ones’. She meant the red hydrangeas. But she correctly identified the colour.
Watching TV, a choice on a quiz show was the word ‘Purple’.
“Does that say purple because I can read it?”
That was a first.
When it was announced recently that British actress June Whitfield had died, Amanda surprised herself that she could actually recall June’s face in her memory, because she cannot do that with every face.
When an end of year highlights programme was broadcast on TV and the subject of the Thai football team trapped in the cave in June came up, she said (for the first time) that the story was her most recurring dream. This from someone who had apparently lost the ability to dream on a regular basis. Now she has a recurring one!
At Christmas after going out for breakfast, I persuaded her to go into a busy shopping mall. While she didn’t want to venture too far into what was a very bustling and noisy environment, she was quite happy to wander as far as the nearest public seating area and just people-watch (and occasionally comment) for an hour.
One of the stores had an ad in the window for retail staff and I jokingly said that could be an opportunity to re-enter the workforce at some point in the future. She wisely, and instantly pointed out that although her mind was willing, her brain was still too weak.
Amanda’s ability to read aloud still eludes her. But confusingly and frustratingly she will easily get the gist of a sentence and be able to paraphrase it. The short clip below highlights this, as she uses one of the exercises from Constant Therapy to demonstrate (sound on):-