Rewiring my brain

“Treatment Diagnosis: Right sided weakness, increased falls risk, decreased functional mobility

Ms. Richards is a pleasant 52 year old woman, presenting with primary c/o dizziness, decreased functional mobility, and decreased balance following multiple hospitalizations and procedures for a deep brain tumor. She ambulates with a Single Point Cane (SPC) for balance assist (minimal weight bearing assist into device). Right sided weakness is pronounced (4-/5) in both the upper and lower extremities and cervical nerves, but not cranial nerves. Ms. Richards is functionally independent with transfers and stairs. Positive testing for dysdiadochokinesia on the entire right side.

Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) scored 76/100 indicating severe handicap”

That’s an excerpt from the original evaluation done by the rehab place a couple of weeks ago. I found it quite depressing. Since then, however, I’ve been going twice a week, and they’ve noticed “remarkable improvement”, so that’s good at least. It is very easy for me to get wrapped up in what I can’t do instead of what I can, dang it. One of the things I’m struggling with is writing or concentrating, which sure makes it hard to document progress.

I’ve been fascinated with brain plasticity forever, having read Pinker, Sachs, Sagan and everything else I could find for decades. Experiencing it in real time is, um, interesting. My Physical Therapist is Amy, and I really like her, even when she keeps finding shit I can’t do! So she’ll have me do it with her, and then assign homework for me based on what is safe to do without someone holding on to me by a belt.

Things I’ve found impossible: sitting on a balance ball and having my right side do something at the same time as my left. Touching parts of my body with my right hand with my eyes closed. Walking on my tiptoes or heels. ?! Push ups against a wall are hard because I startle at the end, convinced my head will hit the wall. (Depth perception)

Then, what seems to happen is that I’m exhausted from the session, sleep a ton (14 hours straight), and then when I try it again, it’s almost perfect, or at least “remarkably improved” in a very short time.


In the meantime, I’m feeling much better. My headaches are less intense, and directly attributed to how much I do. If I sit on my ass at the beach with the dogs, my pain scale is zero, so I’m doing that a lot. I’m sitting on the balance ball a lot when I’m at the table or the computer, and I think it’s helping regain my balance all by itself.

I see Glazier on the 9th of April, and I’m hoping to be released to start working a little bit. It’ll be 6 weeks from this last surgery, and I’m really itching to have a schedule, a routine.

3 thoughts on “Rewiring my brain”

  1. Lisa,

    Six weeks out, that sounds like a great report. I also credit your other therapist, Disa! Something to consider if you haven’t already is filing for disability. Just a thought. Sending hugs to you and all.


  2. I still have balance issues from my brain tumor and also hearing loss and for a while vision loss. I have my vision back and my balance is better with learning how to work with it. I need to keep my eyes open and on the ground for me anyway. I know everyone is different but it took me a few months to almost a year after my treatment and I had someone say this past week, wow I would never know you had a tumor. Well I still have it it is just dead I hope.

  3. Regarding what Janet said above…. My spouse had a stroke and filed for disability. It was not as difficult as some make out. No attorney was involved, and he had one interview with a psychologist, and that was it. Hugs to you and I hope you have a great Easter weekend!


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