The Gift of Time - Stroke Recovery

On the afternoon of November 10th, 2017 I went and had myself a stage 3 non-aneurysmal spontaneous perimesencephalic subarachnoid hemorrhage - my very own stroke after years of helping other stroke survivors and caregivers. The irony is not lost on me. Even though my long term prognosis is excellent, I am still facing several months of recovery to get there. In full transparency I am asking for help for three main reasons...

1. Because I am hoping that I can have the ability to return to work when it makes sense for my recovery and not be forced back too early for financial reasons. In all my years as a stroke expert one thing I know to be true regarding brain injury/stroke recovery is you only get one shot at it and how much time, space, and rest you give it on the front end, the better overall outcome. I am asking for the gift of that time… to do this right. Time is short and precious and I would like to spend more of it focusing on healing and less on worrying about the weight of the financial strain.

2. Because I am scared and feeling very vulnerable. My symptoms have prevented me from taking people up on their offers of visits, food, or other means of support. I desperately want and need to feel those connections and even just seeing comments on Facebook or even a small donation here would make me feel a little less alone. Many people in my life have asked of ways they can help, and even though money can’t take way the road I am now walking on, it is a small way to make me feel like we are on this road together.

3. Because if I have learned one thing through all this – it is the importance in saying how you feel and asking for what you need. I believe there is no shame in asking for help, rather it is a sign of courage and I want to be an example of that. I won’t be able to do this on my own, nor do I want to. Over the years I have had the honor of being part of many people’s journeys as they navigated difficult situations and events, and now I am calling upon those who care for me. While I am not entirely sure about how this will all play out – what I do know is I have a 7,000 dollar deductible and will be out of work for several months best case scenario. I don’t have an amount or end goal in mind – I just know that every little bit will help ease some of the pressure I am under while I begin the slow process of recovery. In the end, more than the money, it is the act of support that means so much to me. A small way to feel the love of my village <3 With Gratitude, Robyn

 *** For a more complete account of what happened to me and my ongoing updates please check out my public Facebook page  ***  

But here are the basics of where I am at today: I was in the ICU for several days and was discharged home after 10 days, out of the woods for most major medical complications but by no means “better”. I continue to have a raging headache, extreme photosensitivity, neck and shoulder stiffness, and positional nausea. All of which are exacerbated by pretty much any and all stimulation. I am home but I'm basically unable to do anything besides shuffle from the living room to the bathroom and to munch on a little bit of food.  I can't handle the movement in cars let alone driving myself, direct sunlight or any bright light anywhere near my visual field is an absolute no-go, and it is taking me two days to write this post in little chunks because looking at the computer for too long makes me implode. I'm getting varying accounts of how long this will take to resolve, best case six to eight weeks and worst case three to six months. Once the effects of the irritation on the brain tissue, and other things such as the pain from the blood draining down my spinal cord have dissipated we will see what if any long-term effects will come from the stroke, though it is my professional opinion I’m going to do very well. As my friend Frank said, this is the best type of stroke to have other than no stroke at all. Regardless of the long term positive outcome, today sucks. Tomorrow will likely too and it going to be pretty difficult for the next weeks and months. While I am celebrating that my long term prognosis is optimal, that does nothing to aid my current situation and stresses. And how can I not be worried about money on top of all this... I have insurance but a fairly high deductible (7,000) and will be out of work for likely several months, easing back into at part time when I feel up to the stimulation. So many people have mentioned that I should have a friend or family member set up a GoFundMe account to help take some of the pressure off and give me time and space to recover– that it’s ok to ask for help. It is, and now I know it is more than ever. But rather than have someone do it on my behalf I am going to buck the system and just ask myself – I think our society is sometimes scared to do such a thing directly but I have no room for fear these days. Im hurt, Im scared, and Im stressed. If asking my village for a way to relieve even a small amount of that stress is an option, I know that is what I would want for any of you if the roles were reversed.
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Robyn Wheeler 
Hopkins, MN
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