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2013 in review

WordPress just sent me an email summing up my stats for the year, I thought it was interesting………..


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 64,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Happy New Year

2014 best be better than 2011, 2012, and 2013 combined.

happynewyear newyears  ratfriend



I was told recently by someone who knows me and that reads my blog that I seem like 2 different people.  Well, I’m sure that’s true, but I also think that my personality and sense of humor come shining through.  I’m not as angry and pissed off as I come across on this blog. When you hang out with me in person I’m actually quite pleasant and really funny. I’m a joy to be around. But I’m hurting right now. I’m hurting pretty badly. And the medical community made my pain much, much greater than it needed to be. So I get angry and instead of hitting people I vent on my blog. It’s much more healthy to vent than to hit. I’m hurting a lot but I’ve turned it around and managed to help a lot of people because of my pain. I wouldn’t say that makes this worth it but it helps.



My major in college was Kinesiology.  Nobody has ever heard of that word.  Kinesiology is the study of movement.  That’s the major everyone chooses that wants to go to PT school.  Had I not gone to PT school, I really think that major would have been absolutely useless.  Maybe not, I’m sorry if you googled ‘kinesiology’ and wound up on this page and I called it useless.  Then I graduated from college, went to PT school and became a physical therapist.  Four years after I started working as a PT, I thought to myself “F this job and F this life, I’m gonna have a stroke.”  I very badly wanted a change in my life and I SURE AS HELL got one.  There are probably easier ways to leave a relationship that you hate and there are probably easier ways to lose a few pounds that you hate with and there are probably easier ways to change up some friendships you – well, ‘hate’ is a very strong word.  But I love to do things the hard way.  So I had a stroke to make some changes.  You know, I like who I am MUCH better than my pre-stroke self.  For the first time in my life I feel like I’m really ME and I’m not trying to conform to anyone else/anything else.   So if you want to make some changes, maybe you should consider having a stroke.

This made me laugh.  Mornings are by far my worst time of day.  My stroke was in the morning, my friend thinks that has something to do with it….


And I uhhhh…I don’t know….

wtf  final


Night and Day

I’ve talked before about what an impact stress can have on a person but let me tell you something.  When I got sick, I was living in an absolutely awful, miserable situation that no one on the planet knew was not great and it stressed me out so much that I considered suicide not because of the stroke, but because of that situation and having to deal with it in that condition.  I felt for a while that the stroke took away my ability to make choices and I saw no other way out.  But I got out.  I left that unbelievably stressful situation 15 months ago and the difference in me is like NIGHT AND DAY.  Night and f’ing day.  I look completely different, I speak completely different, I walk completely different, I write completely different and I feel COMPLETELY different.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a full recovery and I’ve worked my ass off but I KNOW I wouldn’t have made as good a recovery as I have so far if not for eliminating that stress.  If you’re really sick, eliminate as much stress as you can from your life.  And don’t feel guilty for having feelings either like I did.  I felt incredibly, unbelievably guilty about certain things.  I’m way beyond over that.  You’re allowed to have any feelings at all and those feelings should be VALIDATED (remember how I did a couple posts about empathy?)  If someone tells you that you ‘should feel’ this or that, or ‘you need to’ do this or that, or ‘at least’ this or that – tell that person to shut the eff up because they obviously don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.


Colonel Meow

Thank you Lori I wish I knew about Colonel Meow a while ago, but better late than never when it comes to cat humor!!!

imagesCAM59YAS  imagesCAWQ20J2






Merry X-mas I guess

Enjoy the show this week……….




Also, Shelly sent me this picture of her cat a few months ago and I think it’s freakin’ hilarious!



Neck Retractions

When I was working, I went to all kinds of classes and took some tests to become certified in this.  It’s a super duper way to treat back and neck pain based on patient movement.  It takes 3 or 4 years to become certified in this.  Well I did that, then when I finished up my certification, I decided to have a stroke a few months later just to ensure that I will never use it! I like to do things the hard way.  Anyway, the very first thing that I would have people that came to see me for neck pain do is neck retractions.  Well the first thing I would do is yell at them about their posture.  But after posture correction, the first exercise I would have almost anyone do is neck retractions.  If you have pain down to the tip of the bottom of your shoulder blade or down your arm, it could be coming from the neck.  If it’s intermittent pain, meaning it comes and goes, that’s positional and it’s probably coming from the neck.  A very common mistake that people would make when doing retractions is that they would look down.  You’re not to look down when doing these, it’s straight back.  Pick a spot on the wall or whatever that’s straight ahead of you then move your head back while staring at that spot and keeping your shoulders still. When I would have patients do this unweighted, meaning lying down on their back, taking away gravity, I would hold my pen above their head and say “look straight ahead at my pen and push your head back into the table.”  There’s all kinds of variations and progressions of this exercise.  If your head, neck, arm, or upper back hurt, try these.  And have good posture.  Here, buy this.



One of the people who I love most in whole world had a baby yesterday.  His name is Edward Joseph and they’re gonna call him EJ.  Congratulations Vicki and Korey, I love you!  Korey if you see this, I told you I’d congratulate you when you had a major life event.  🙂


The Power of Empathy

Ricky Brown you underestimated how good this is……this is great……..



When someone has trouble performing an exercise, making that exercise ‘gravity-eliminated’ is often helpful. So what the hell does that mean? That means that if someone is not strong enough yet to perform an exercise like for instance shoulder abduction (raising your arm out to the side), figure out a way to eliminate gravity from the equation. When someone is sitting or standing and asked to raise their arm out to the side, they’re not only lifting the resistance of the weight of their arm, but lifting against the resistance of gravity as well. Doing this exercise gravity eliminated would mean doing it lying down on their back. That takes away the resistance of gravity. And to make it even easier I would sometimes put a sliding board under their arm to also eliminate friction. A sliding board is something that’s really slippery that is usually used as something you sit on to help you ‘scoot.’
But easy is not at all what you want. This is a trick I would use to help get the movement back but as soon as possible gravity should be added back in as well as weights.


Empathy vs. Sympathy

I linked to this blog post in my previous post but I’m linking again because I think it’s really good and important.  There is a BIG BIG difference between empathy and sympathy.  I’ve gotten a whole of a lot of sympathy, not much empathy.  Everyone, everyone felt super-duper bad for me when this happened – that’s sympathy.  Feeling bad for someone else is sympathy.  Only a couple of people in my life empathized with me.  Fellow stroke survivors can automatically empathize because they know the absolute HELL that I’ve been through.  My family and friends do not.  The point of being empathetic is trying to determine what someone else is feeling and going through and trying to understand that and be sensitive to it.  You never, ever will completely understand it unless you’ve experienced it but you better TRY to understand.  Not many people were very empathetic with me.



Repetition is the key to recovery, the comments of this blog post says so.  My cousin reads my blog and she is having some shoulder issues.  I just emailed her to ask how she was doing and she said she’s still having some major shoulder pain.  Then she said in the email “Repetition right!?!?!”  Craploads of repetitions is the way to recover from a neurological injury, but not an orthopedic injury.  Doing too many repetitions might be counterintuitive for an orthopedic injury.  So what do you do when you have an orthopedic problem because of your neurologic injury?  Well… be careful, that’s what you do.  You know your body better than anyone else on the planet, listen to it.


Cerebrum vs. Cerebellum

I hear this all the time and enough is enough.  The idea that strokes in the cerebellum are so much worse than strokes in the cerebrum ends today.  It almost makes me wish I didn’t name this blog what I did.  But I guess it’s a good thing that I did that because obviously there is a TON of wrong information being given out.  I was told after my stroke by a medical doctor who is considered to be one of the premier neurologists and “stroke experts” at what is considered to be one of the best hospitals in the entire WORLD here in Pittsburgh that I should consider myself lucky because posterior strokes recover MUCH BETTER than anterior strokes.  Hmmm.  Yeah I’m real f’ing lucky.  Obviously lots of people are being told that this type of stroke is so much worse.  Hmmm.  I look fabulous and all of my disabilities are now completely invisible.  The majority of stroke survivors cannot say that.  Most stroke survivors have some kind of outward physical give away that they have brain damage.  Not me.   Look, brain damage is brain damage and a stroke is a stroke.  The EFFECTS of a cerebellar stroke are extremely different from a stroke in the cerebrum.  That’s what makes cerebellar strokes so different – the EFFECTS.  Healing after a stroke in the cerebellum – same damn thing.  Recovery – same damn thing.  If you had a stroke somewhere in the cerebrum or anywhere that is not the cerebellum and still have issues years later, please leave a comment.  Want some research to help prove my point?  Here ya go.

If you want an expert in stroke recovery, look no further.  You found one.  Education + personal experience = a whole HELL of a lot of knowledge.