Stroke Update September 2008                    

Thanks for taking the time to check this out! It’s been about six months since my last update, and as several of you requested, I decided to write again so you’d know how I’ve been doing!

As many of you know, at the end of March I went to the MTNA National Conference in Denver. As you can imagine, it was an exhilarating, albeit emotional experience for me, since it was the first time I saw many of my friends since I had my stroke on March 29, 2007. It was an incredible experience addressing the audience at the Opening Session. I was also thrilled to do a panel session with my friends and esteemed colleagues, Randy Faber and Scott McBride Smith. Naturally another highlight was showcasing my new series with Dennis Alexander, Keys to Artistic Performance. It took three dear friends, Phyllis Lehrer, Lillian Livingston, and Betty Stoloff to keep me poofed to my potential, adjust my accessories and basically make sure I maintained my “divaness” (Is that a word?) as I drove around in the shiny red scooter I rented!

In April, my doctor administered my first series of Botox (13 shots) for my shoulder to help me gain more strength and mobility and decrease the “tone”. Unfortunately, my doctor would not honor my request to have his hand slip a little and take care of a few wrinkles in my face. (Doesn’t hurt to ask, does it?)
Julie and Michael
Ryan with Julie and Uncle Michael
But the most exciting event of the last six months that happened in April, was that Julie got engaged to the most wonderful man who the whole family loves, Michael S. Gordon. They are a fabulous couple, and most important, I’ve never seen Julie happier. Ryan already adores Uncle Michael too. I’ll have to double up on my PT so I can dance at their wedding on April 18, 2009!!

Me playing piano using an arm rest

With school ending in mid May I was able to increase my therapy sessions to three times a week where we continue to work in building up my strength and range of motion in my arm, as well as developing finger independence. I also work on a small keyboard with an arm rest. I also have been working like this at home with an arm rest on my Yamaha Portable Grand that perhaps many of you remember Mike Bates sent to me while I was in the Rehab Center. So every day I work on simple five finger LH exercises. While I have a LONG way to go, I maintain my optimism that I will play again with my LH. While I’m not ready for a Chopin Ballade, I can play “Lightly Row” at an Adagio tempo in several keys.

June 2, my granddaughter Elizabeth celebrated her first birthday. I hope you enjoy pictures of her and my adorable grandson, Ryan, who continues to amaze me! (can you believe he’s already picking up blondes?) As he takes my hand to help me walk he always says: “Grandma Ingie walks Adagio, I walk Presstissimo!”
My Granddaughter Elizabeth
My Grandson Ryan
I’m grateful that the musical world still values my pedagogical wisdom as I was invited to do a two day pedagogy workshop on June 23-24 for a wonderful group of teachers in Rochester, N.Y. I was blessed with a marvelous LH Guest Artist, Beverly Smoker.

Me playing golf

At the end of June, Mel and I went back to our favorite summer vacation place---Hilton Head, South Carolina. While I naturally couldn’t play my favorite sport, tennis, I did play three rounds of golf. Yes---you read right, I played golf!! Prior to our trip I found a wonderful golf teacher, Joe Porter, who worked with me on hitting a ball with one arm. I enjoyed myself immensely since I decided to tee up the ball wherever I felt comfortable, and developed my own scoring system of only counting my good shots. Naturally, my putting was quite good, since as you may remember, I work on this in my therapy. (see March update).We also continued with our vacation traditions of Mel reading and taking his afternoon nap, while I went to the pool, shopping, to the beauty parlor or spa for a massage. Some things just don’t change!!

Me and Mel

In July, I celebrated my 25th year of doing my Piano Camp at Westminster. All the teachers were incredibly supportive, (special kudos to Don Smith and Todd Simmons) and did a fabulous job of assisting me in all my lectures and master classes.

In August I travelled to Calgary to do a Pedagogy Workshop with the best friend in the world, Lillian Livingston. We then stayed on to do a Piano Camp together. (It was my 10th year!) But the highlight of the trip was attending the wedding of my former student and graduate assistant, Heather Atagan, who is now my friend and colleague. If the name sounds familiar, she was the person who assisted me in writing the article on my stroke in the American Music Teacher. (If you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll check it out on the link on my home page)

So I guess you can see I’ve come a long way since my first “stroke update!” I thank you all for caring enough to take the time to read this. This means so much to me!

With my continued heartfelt gratitude for your caring and support,


March 2008 updates

January 2008 updates

November updates

September updates

August updates

June updates