On the 5th of April at 12:00 noon I had a minor stroke which temporarily paralysed my right arm and leg. At 3:00pm, I had another. At 7:00pm, I had third and far more significant stroke which left me with permanent damage. I have overcome most of the paralysis but I am left with wide-spread nerve damage and weakness throughout the right side of my body – inside and out.
One of the saddest parts for me is that I cannot play keyboard and sing as I once did. I find breathing takes more effort than it should. My fingers have very limited feeling yet I have a constant burning sensation and am hypersensitive to touch (i.e. I feel everything I come in contact with but can’t discern what I’m touching or what is touching me). Most things feel like the rough side of velcro…even the soft skin of my daughter’s face.
I’ve been trying to re-educate my body to do what I was capable of just four and a half weeks ago. Part of my self-directed rehabilitation is to play the keyboard again. Last night, I sat down to play a few different songs. I found most of them too difficult. I was frustrated because I know I should be able to play these pieces. I moved away from the secular pieces and picked up one of my most well-used hymnals. I had a bit more success in playing hymns.
I was getting tired so I picked one of my favourites to play and sing. It was Holy Darkness by Dan Schutte. I was ok playing the melody but as soon as I added in the harmony on the right hand it all got a bit too hard. That made me sad but not nearly as much as when I sang the verses. The words seemed to be speaking to the pain of loss that I’m coming to terms with right now…
I have tried you in fires of affliction;
I have taught your soul to grieve.
You have stood before the grave.
These lines struck deep within me and I cried out in pain. I am still grieving what I have lost and am unable to accept my body as it now is. I’ll keep pushing myself to get better but today has been difficult.
Holy Darkness is my anthem for this point in my life.