Medicine for the Brain

I discovered last night that laughter can be exhausting for a brain 3-weeks out from receiving more metal. More to the point, laughter for 90-minutes straight is exhausting. But it was so worth it as we enjoyed a rollicking night of improv at the Waterville Opera House. Fans of the television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway” will recognize the touring show called “Whose Live Anyway?”, which includes many of the same performers seen on the TV show but performing live. They did NOT disappoint.

Prior to the show we enjoyed a tasty dinner at a Greek restaurant down the street from the theater. It was the first time we’ve been out to eat in a legit restaurant for long, long time. The restaurant was full up with other attendees for the show and the background noises and activity stimulated my brain for sure. THEN add 90-minutes of solid laughter and needless to say the nerve endings in my brain were WOUND UP.

I know the saying is “Laughter is the best medicine”, but I was curious as to what the science was behind that. According to the Mayo Clinic

Short-Term Benefits of Laughter Can:

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.

Long-Term Benefits of Laughter May:

  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.

So, it’s no wonder I seek out two of my favorite situational comedy television shows time and time again when I’m feeling down or stressed: “I Love Lucy” and “Friends”. They’re both a sort of “comfort food” for me. They’re familiar, they’re still funny even after seeing them multiple times, and they provide a respite from whatever is going on my life and brain. I also prefer funny plays, musicals, movies, and television series over the more serious criminal dramas. There is enough hate and killing in the world – let me find the humor and love instead.

I am also reminded of what my late mother used to tell me every day before leaving for school: Have fun!”. I certainly try to. I certainly try.

To bring a little laughter into YOUR lives, here is a short clip of some of the best lines from Season 2 of “I Love Lucy”. Enjoy, laugh, and HAVE FUN!

Days of Rest

Eight days after my brain stent placement, I’m doing very well. I went back to work on Tuesday and worked four full days. I did take two 15-minute breaks a day to step away from my computer to sit and close my eyes. It did help.

Thankfully, I didn’t come back to an excess of projects that needed my immediate attention. There was just enough to test my eyes. And it was my eyes that felt it the most. After a couple days of headaches, those eased, but fatigue and eye strain weighed heavily on Friday. Based off previous non-emergency brain procedures, none of this is unexpected.

I went to bed early every night, listening to my brain and body. Sleep was welcome and thankfully my kitties let me sleep in this Saturday morning.

During the week I received two special “Get Well” boxes in the mail from family & friends back in NY. I appreciate that they took the time and spent the money to do something to help in my recovery. Tea, tasty bites, and heart-felt messages remind me I’m not forgotten and I welcome the support.

I won’t know for SURE if the stent is secure and stable for another six months when I’ll have ANOTHER angiogram. In the meantime, I’ll continue to live each day, try to take care of myself, and be careful to avoid any injuries.

As we celebrate Easter tomorrow, I too, celebrate another battle with this brain aneurysm with hope, renewal, and new life with more brain bling.

Back at Work

I eased my way back into work today. Sitting in front of the computer was something I hadn’t done since last Tuesday. I took a 15-minute break in the morning and the afternoon to step away and close my eyes which helped, but I was still feeling it by the end of the day. Not painful, just pressure and my eyes ached.

It wasn’t a busy day, so that was helpful and my co-workers were gentle with questions and communication. I’m very lucky to work at such a great company that allows you the time to recover. I’ll see how I’m feeling tomorrow morning. Since I now work from home, at least I didn’t have to do the 60-mile round trip drive.

My non-brain related eye thing is also doing better. Left eye still purple, but the swelling has gone down and the cut, although still a wee bit raw, is healing nicely.

I’m only a week out from a brain procedure, so I should cut myself some slack and listen to my head and body and rest.

Day 4 Update

I should have listened to my own advice and learned lessons from previous brain procedures. Rest, rest, and listen to your body. However, I felt a little better yesterday (Sat.) so I did more, which in turn, I am paying for today.

Yesterday my head pain wasn’t as bad, so I tried to wean off the Tylenol. I only ended up taking one all day. But that also meant I:

  • Made my own big breakfast
  • Took a shower
  • Walked (slowly) inside for 15 minutes
  • Lots of blogging, TOO much blogging
  • Sat up watching a lot of TV
  • Put dinner in the oven

I did take a nap or two, but I should have only done one or two of the list above and not all.

Day 4 Update

Overall I’m doing very well 4 days after the flow diverter deployment. That sound like a space vehicle segment. “T-minus four hours to flow diverter deployment.”

Head pain has been hit and miss depending on how much I’m doing. I removed the dressing on the groin incision site yesterday after showering and the plug site looks very good. Not even any bruising, which is great. It is still tender, but getting better. None of that is unexpected.

When I left the hospital on Thursday, I was experiencing some pretty strong abdominal muscular pain. I had no idea where that came from and it made sitting, standing and moving in bed quite painful. Thankfully, it finally feels like that is easing up. I must have had a minor muscle pull that was self-inflicted. I did speak to the Dr’s office about it on Friday.

My balance is still a little wobbly and I’m doing everything very slowly from sitting down, sitting up, turning around and walking. Sudden movements cause a stir and bending over is rough. Everything brings on fatigue.

It has taken me about 5-6 hours to feel decent today as a result of the activities yesterday. Pretty good head pain and discomfort around face, ears, and neck. So it’s back to the two pills of Tylenol every six hours. The good, old-fashioned ice pack I bought is really coming in handy and feels great.

My non-brain related eye injury from the cat isn’t quite as black as it was, but still pretty purple. There is some yellowing on the actual eye ball on my OPPOSITE eye, which I’m a little concerned about, but we’ll see if it’s still there tomorrow. The cut itself is healing nicely.

Please Note: I AM seeing all your comments on Facebook and the blog posts. I just can’t reply to all. I do have to go in and approve many of the comments on WordPress when I see them before they show up. But I wanted you to know I DO see them and I am extremely grateful for all the love , prayers, and support. THANK YOU!!

FYI: These posts are half typed and half using the terrific keyboard dictation feature