Can I eat with my RIGHT hand?

You may think: Sure…it has been 9 years. You just assumed  that I was eating with my right hand.

The first picture seem like I have it nailed.  Now look at the SECOND picture:

YIKES!  My hand eventually becomes CLENCHED on my food and I have to use the OTHER hand to release.  But now, I am working on it EVERYDAY.  I am going to NJ to see my brother and I want to amaze him with my new “trick.”   What do you think?

If that fails, I will just amaze him with my driving! No wait, that is NOT a good idea.  How about answering open ended questions?  I can’t do that either.

Wait…there is more!


OK…I don’t mean to bore you….BUT it has been 7 years since I LAST did this!  First it started drinking from a glass, now this.  I can’t tell you how HAPPY I am right now: washing my hands.  AND I PROMISE I won’t tell each time I do something else!  On second thought, maybe I will…

30 Minutes Went by Like a Snap!

IMG_0562I don’t know what it is…but I just love speaking at schools.  I spoke for exactly 30 minutes (I timed myself) and then Jill answered questions for 45 minutes.  I must say, Jill was phenomenal at answering all the different questions that the audience had.  When we spoke later, Jill and I were very impressed with the thought process questions.

We were speaking to Speech Pathologists.  Unfortunately, that was the ONLY thing I didn’t receive much help when I was in rehab.  When I first had the stroke, we were working on making me stand up, to get rid of that cane, and to be able to use the right side of my body again.  We figured, speech would come back.   We were wrong!  Who knew! I am a month away from the 7 year mark …and I STILL have to work on my speech.

I am involved with an Aphasia group, who is on the east coast. Currently, I am working on a few things and I will let you know of my progress.  I am really excited!  If you have Aphasia, the you need to talk will Bill Connors. The guy is amazing!

Wait…you’re right handed?

IMG_0084Yes…I am….FINALLY!

I don’t know if you know this, but it wasn’t my first time trying to pick up food with my right hand. I know….you’re shocked!   I tried a bunch of times, but today I was able to do it.   It wasn’t my first try because we knew better than record that.  But after my third try, I was able to control the spoon and lift the food into my mouth. 6.5 years later, I was able to feed myself again.

So much for the “if you don’t have it back in 2 years” speech!  It was really bothering me…but THIS gives me great hope of returning to the man I was.  Think, I maybe able to run again, throw a frisbee or walk on my hands.  I am really jazzed!

What does stroke recovery look like?

In 2008 when Gordon was lying in his hospital bed and I was beginning to understand the
severity of Gordon’s stroke, I asked everyone at Rehab what his recovery might look like.  I got no answers other than “Every stroke is different”  which basically means I got no answers.

It was so frustrating!  I desperately needed some frame of reference, some concept of a recovery path that I could learn from.  For this reason, I have kept a log of Gordon’s recovery so that when I meet someone in the beginning of their stroke journey, I can say “This is what happened to us.”

Recovery milestones are harder to come by as time goes on.  I was thrilled last week to mark a big milestone in Gordon’s recovery 6-1/2 years post-stroke!  Swinging BOTH arms while walking is a task we have worked on for years!!  It wasn’t that long ago when he couldn’t swing his right arm at all, even when he was standing still and focusing 100% on just swinging his arm.

In addition to the arm swinging excitement, Gordon was shaking hands with people at my speaking engagement yesterday, using his right hand–and no one noticed!!! The fact that no one noticed means it felt NORMAL.  Another huge step forward in recovery.  Big things are still happening.

Jill Viggiano