Reaching up (and out) to the brain

bowls_shelf_225.jpgThe bowls you see here are on a shelf in my kitchen that is a bit less than 6 feet from the floor. Since shortly after I finished radiation therapy in December of 2006, I haven’t been able to reach them with my left hand.

As part of my rehab program, I started to try to reach them about a month ago (these are breakfast bowls, so I do this every day). At first I could only reach up to the bottom shelf. With repeated reaching (to this shelf and another where my medications are stored), I slowly was able to reach higher.

Two weeks ago I finally touched the top bowl, and managed to get a finger under it. This morning, I picked up the top two bowls (one for Linda) and lowered them to the counter in one piece.

I mention this not just because I’m pleased to have back some use of the previously all-but-paralyzed limb, but because it illustrates the theory of neuroplasticity, the idea that the brain can be made to rewire itself, to route around damage (in my case, a brain tumor).

My experience teaches that it takes multiple repetitions – some hundreds or thousands – of simple movements to get them working again. Building neural connections is like building muscles at the gym – and proceeds about as quickly. If you keep at it, it will come…


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
This entry was posted in All, My Brain, New Life, Photos. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Reaching up (and out) to the brain

  1. Lynne says:

    Have you read “my stroke of insite” by Jill Bolte Taylor? You might like it. Some things might apply.

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