Lego therapy- could it work for Neuroplasticity?

Photo by Carmen McKnight from Pexels

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. When your brain is inflamed your ability to form short-term memories is impaired.“-The 30 day Alzheimer’s solution by Dean Sherzai, MD and Ayesha Sherzai, MD. 

neu·ro·plas·tic·i·tyThe brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.-MedicineNet

It explains why I had such an uphill battle the past 8 years with my memory, why I would forget words, had a hard time comprehending anything when spoken to, skipped words or use them in a misplaced order when I spoke back. It explains why my brain felt on fire and why neurologically I still have to work hard to get back to my normal self. 

However, in every troubled times there’s always a solution or multiple solutions, if one seeks them. Diet is -in my personal experience- more important than medication, followed by a strong support system, then medication. In order to eliminate inflammation from the body, dairy must be kicked out as if you would an intruder present there to bring harm. Red meat also triggers inflammatory reactions, and so does processed foods. I’ve done my best to follow these guidelines, but I too fall at times. 

I‘m not afraid to experiment on myself and I would do it drastically if my medical knowledge was more extensive. So when my brain could not remember everyday words such as eggs, or the name of one of my best friends, Elizabeth, or most of the English language while reverting back to my native tongue, Romanian, I knew I was in trouble. I also knew I had to do something. Before I go any further, please realize that any advise I give, comes from personal experience and years of hard work. It’s not a magic pill, or an instant miracle. It takes a lot of perseverance and hard work to more forward when battling chronic disease. I hate the thought of just giving up and letting these idiotic and invisible to my naked eye enemies win while using my own body as the battle field. That’s just me. 

Getting back to; I knew I had to do something, I learned to really tune into my body, to listen to what it had to say in regard to the recovery process. It strongly pulled me away or towards certain treatments and I listened. So when out of the blue I became obsessed overnight with the idea of playing with legos- something I NEVER did as a child- I began looking into that. I call it my lego therapy. I bought off Craigslist a large bucket of legos pieces and became obsessed to finding the sets they belonged to. An outside looking in would’ve seen a woman in her early 40’s playing with legos 4-5 hours a day for months. What I was trying to do was quite different: I was aware that some re-wiring work needed to take place in my brain. On an emotional level I knew each lego piece belonged to a set, had a destiny, was part of a bigger picture, so my relentless searching began involving the internet until each piece found it’s set and the chaos of single lego pieces got smaller with time. In a way I was looking for my place in life, I was trying to fix the chaos I felt my life became. Piece by piece, day after day I found their set or where they belonged all along with my right arm behind my back. You see I’m a righty and I knew by challenging my left hand coordination neurons barely used would have to fire up and get moving. I was rebuilding.

Why did I do it? I was aware many of my old neurological highways were burned down by this disease or breaking down faster than I could keep them solid and I had to rebuild new ones, re-route so to speak. I knew it would also take time and perseverance but I was determined to give it my all before dying. If I were to die anyway at least I knew I fought and not just surrendered myself to what will be will be.

What I experienced. I am not a neurologist, and if one reads this blog and can explain medically what happened please do so. From the moment I picked up my first lego piece with my left hand and tried in the most infantile of ways to build my sets-one handed I remind you- I’ve experienced simultaneously a heightened level of a new kind of frustrations and a buzzing in my brain so loud I thought I would go crazy. It was as if a hornets nest got shook badly and shoved inside my brain. Angry hornets like buzzed so loudly it challenged my already frail focus power further. Headaches followed. Bad headaches. The noise/ buzzing lasted as long as I would work on my legos, which on any given day was between 4-5 hours, but I refused to back down, both intrigued by the things I experienced and slave to the obsession of completing my work. (I’ve never experienced obsession this intense before.) By day 3 the buzzing noise was less intense and by day 10 the buzzing noise was so faint I forgot of its existence all together. It took a good month before it was gone completely. I was still left with a horrid coordination challenge, resulting many times in my throwing legos about only to return once I calmed down to my work. That too slowly improved and eventually I became more coordinated, picking up muscular strength as well and mental accuracy. When I wasn’t doing my lego therapy I began to remember things I once forgot, and hold on to short term memories longer than few seconds. I stopped my lego therapy once all the sets were complete- 39 sets total and six months later- and put the whole thing away. I know I’ve helped my brain re-wire communication paths, hold on to memories and bring back forgotten memories. How I know that? I began writing poems – I hated poems before- they just came to me, and still do. In my book “It’s Lyme Stew Time” that can be found on Amazon you can see the difference of before treatment and after from an inspirational point of view. I’m no literary genius, but I’m fascinated with my progress in a scientifically sort of way.

After nearly two years of a frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis on my right shoulder my right arm got weak along with my neurological signals to and from that side. So I’m planning on stimulating them with more lego therapy-plus I missed my lego time. My left arm has been doing a fantastic job taking over and getting strong.

If you’re struggling with coordination issues and neurological side-effects from a chronic disease, maybe lego therapy will help you as well. You never know. It helped me tremendously and I’m glad I listened to my body.

I wish you a good day today and God Bless:)

P.S. I prefer only Lego Friends sets. It has something to do with the soft girly and happy colors, they are so soothing to my brain -the original lego colors were too intense producing agitation. I’m partial to the bakery, B-day parties and vehicles sets:)

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