Submissions from Readers

Stroke Happens

by Laura Ann Garren
(Pendleton, SC)

Chapter 1: Stroke Happens

I awoke to the sound of the alarm clock chirping. The September sunshine streamed through the window, along with a cool breeze and birdsong. As I lay there, I had no idea that life had changed forever and nothing would ever be the same again. The unimaginable had happened; I just didn’t realize it yet.
I turned to my husband, Chuck, surprised that he was still in bed. He should have been up by then.
“Chuck, get up. You’re going to be late,” I said. He didn’t respond. He was lying on his left side, his back to me.
“Chuck? Why aren’t you up?” I asked again. He still didn’t answer, so I got up and walked over to his side of the bed and turned on the lamp. First I saw the dried vomit on his pillow. Then I noticed his breathing, raspy and labored. His expression was dazed and unfocused.
“What’s wrong?” I cried. Then I noticed his eyes; his left pupil was blown open, but the right one pinprick small, suggesting a neurological event. Somehow I realized he had had a stroke.
I don’t remember calling 911, but within five minutes the EMTs were there, strapping Chuck into a gurney and wheeling him out the door. The ambulance, flashing and wailing, sped away. When I arrived at the hospital, Chuck had been installed in a chilly ER cubicle that was bristling with nurses. He recognized me, but was disoriented and unable to communicate. His t-shirt, featuring the logo for a New Orleans band called Washboard Chaz, had been scissored off and tossed in the garbage. Technicians whisked him away for x-rays. An octopus of anxiety tightened its tentacles around my stomach; I knew I was waiting for bad news. I’m sure I didn’t wait too long for the neurologist—people suspected of having strokes are expedited because “time is brain”—but it seemed like an eternity. Finally, a man in a white coat arrived, holding a film, the x-ray of Chuck’s brain.
“How bad is it?” I blurted. The doctor explained that the left distal carotid artery—the river that transports oxygenated blood to the brain—was completed blocked.
“It was a major event,” he said as he held up the x-ray and pinned it to a light board. The right side was grayish and crisscrossed with a network of crooked lines, like an aerial photo of creeks and streams. Normal. In contrast, the left side was white, like a vast, snow-covered tundra. At that point, I had no idea of the significance of this absence of anything. All I could think to ask about was the immediate outcome.
“He’s going to live, right?”
“The next 72 hours are critical,” the doctor replied, enigmatically and unsatisfyingly, before walking away. Stunned and uncomprehending, I stood in the blindingly bright hallway, staring at the landscape of Chuck’s brain.
Chuck had suffered a massive stroke—in medical parlance, a cerebral vascular accident or CVA—in the middle of the night. Anomalously, he had no warning signs: severe, one-sided headache; one-side numbness, weakness or paralysis; loss of speech or trouble speaking or understanding speech; loss of sight in one eye; confusion. Whatever symptoms he had, if in fact he had any, I’ll never know what they were because I was sleeping. The only clue was that his glasses, which he always keeps on the bedside table, were on the floor that morning. Had he, in distress, fumbled for them in the middle of the night and knocked them on the floor? If so, why didn’t I hear it? How did he have a stroke without my realizing it, or without having any warning signs?
What I do know is that in an instant, a clot had interrupted the flow of blood to his brain, depriving it of oxygen for hours and defining the rest of our lives.
After being thoroughly examined, Chuck was transferred to the Neurological Intensive Care Unit (or Neuro ICU). He remained conscious throughout the day. Intravenous lines snaked from bottles and slithered into the veins in his arms. Therapists came and went, performing tests that would help assess the extent of the damage. While I hovered helplessly, Chuck flashed me a thumbs-up sign and smiled crookedly. The right side of his mouth drooped as if it had nothing to do with the rest of his face. I waited. My sisters, Mary Lou and Betsy, and Betsy’s husband Rob, arrived from out of town. We sat in the ICU all day, the longest of my life.
When it was clear that Chuck’s condition had stabilized, my sisters persuaded me to go home and get some rest. When I got there, I wrote the first of what would be hundreds of emails to a list of family, friends, and colleagues who eventually formed a supportive community in the aftermath of Chuck’s stroke. Writing these emails became my way to for me to provide progress reports on his condition, express my emotions, ask for help, and tell the story of his struggle to recover and my attempts to cope. My friend Hamilton, who is a psychiatrist, later explained the value of my efforts: “People who tell a cohesive, full narrative of what's going on with them stay so much more connected and attached to those who are most important to them, and that provides stability and consistency in times of change.”

If you liked this portion of Stroke Happens: A Caretaker's Memoir, please consider reading the entire book, which tells the firsthand account of what it's like to wake up and have your world changed forever. The book is available on Amazon in electronic and paperback form.

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Caring for a stroke victim at a young age

by Denise
(Newark Delaware USA)

My husband had 17 mini strokes and was in a comma for 30 days at age 45, now 47. I care for him full time, he never fully recovered. I refuse to give up. He hit a plateau and insurance doesn’t pay for those. I have become his physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist, dialysis tech, nurse and all the above.He has come a long way, but still can’t stand or walk. My husband and I were raised as workaholics, so you can only imagine how he feels that I work and he doesn’t. He feels like less than a man sometimes, because our error and his beliefs he is suppose to care for his family not me support him. He at times puts me down not realizing it, and I don’t blame him I just cry. He is my best friend and the love of my life, I can’t imagine my life without him. I decided to go back to school to become an RN, it’s my first semester. Although he has his moments and makes me feel as if I’m nothing and I don’t take care of him if I don’t drop everything I’m doing when he wants me to, the world is ending in his eyes. I do walk away sometimes so he doesn’t see me cry. I am hoping to get him on a donors list for a kidney, considering giving him mine, because we have the same blood type. Our daughter is amazing, I probably couldn’t do it without her. I can’t find a support group near me and no one understands how and what I go through on daily basis. I’d do it all over again too because I love him. I am a strong person and everything that needs to be done is done. I don’t think twice about it, but I don’t have anyone to talk to, I work, go to college, care for my husband and sleep, that’s it. I feel helpless sometimes I need to be surrounded by people who understand and are going through the same or have.

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Rebecca's stroke....I would love to hear from you

April 12th of 2016 started like all the other days of our new life in Portland Oregon. After relocating with my software company we had finally started to get settled in. At 6: 45 AM the alarm went off and I remember yelling time to get up team! I headed into the restroom to take a shower. I remember seeing my phone drop from my hand and trying to pick it up. My arm would not move...hmm must have slept on it wrong. My 9 year old ran to get my hubby, and he quickly called the ambulance. I was in and out of consciousness. I just remember the Dr.s being frantic and shocked when I overheard them telling my hubby I could die...What???? Not me, I have six kids a great job and at my last check up my doc said I had all the same results as a 16 year old so at 52 years old I was proud.
I had a blood clot in the lower left part of the brain. Because of the asprin they gave me in the ambulance the clot dissipated and I stayed in the hospital for two nights and only took one day off work.

But now 4 months later I am weak, don't walk well and forget everything. My right arm has pain in the elbow and my arm and leg tingles. I have balance, memory and vision issues but mostly get frustrated very quickly. Is anyone out there also having a downturn after a few months? Does anyone else not know why or what caused the stroke?

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My heart goes out to you n your family.
by: Worried in CT

Hi, my spouse is only 31 yrs. of age. She had a stroke 4 weeks ago. The day before she seemed ok just stressed but prior to that she also experienced signs such as dropping things, bad headaches, confusion, and tingling in the right side. The Hartford Hospital of CT did every test possible and they said it was just exhaustion and it will get better in a few days then sent her home. No one knew what was wrong even though her speech was slurred, slow and hard to understand. Finally the OBGYN doctor found it in her blood work...Heart Enzymes Blood Test.

Hemorrhagic stroke
by: Anonymous

I suffered a stroke march 22 2015 after one month hospital stay and many rehab sessions I went home. I just did my own exercises to get better. I couldn't walk at first but was determined to help myself. After two years I can walk without a cane but lately the pain in my right side from my head to toe hurts and is in great tingly pain. I feel worse now than right after stroke I wonder if I can get operated on? Worse then before, my doctor took MRI and said nothing showed. My elbow rt. Leg is numb and has stinging pain..Rebecca we seem similar after stroke

Stroke and 17
by: Anonymous

They told me I would never walk, but I did. The stroke affected my right side. I made my friend help me because the therapy didn't help my leg. I made my friend walk me and build up my left side. I got stronger and finally walked with my right. It took a lot of work. My arm never really moved. I still can't use it, but that's alright because I still work and I am employed. My mind is different though. I think like a 17 year old. I am pretty smart but my ability to process relationships with anyone is confusing. I don't understand a movie.

Just keep going
by: Anonymous

I am a 55 yr old woman, and I was always in great health according to my doctor. I had a malformation in the brain stem that burst July 31, 2016, resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke. It was something I was born with, though there was no way of knowing it was there until it burst. It has taken all these months to learn to swallow, walk, and read correctly. My face still droops, and my left eye is facing my nose. I still have tingling that comes and goes in my right arm, and the left side of my face, though not as bad as in the beginning. The coming and going is what I don't understand. I think I'm better, but find myself confused if I or something near me moves too quickly, and am more and more fatigued everyday it seems. We're lucky though, hey, we're still here. It's frustrating beyond belief, but don't give up on the therapy, or lose the faith. I'm not.

Sound like me ,
by: Anonymous

Read this & thought wow that's me ,I'm a 44 yr old male with six children everything was fine until I woke up with right side weakness spent 6 days in hospital and initially things seemed fine and now things have got a whole lot harder and my walking seems worse than ever and I seem be be losing the little power I did have in my right arm .

Also Speech Therapy
by: Anonymous

Sorry -- I didn't address the other issues. Speech therapy is more than talking. The therapists can help you overcome memory and other cognitive issues. They also have tools to help us deal with limitations. Have your vision tested by a neuro-optomitrist or neuro-psychologist. Some Occupational Therapists can help you with visual processing problems, once they have been identified.

Frustration, yes. What can anyone say -- limitations are frustrating. In-patient rehab taught me both patience and gratitude, though I was impatient and irritable as I endured it. I saw people struggling to speak, unable to express themselves, and people who could not hold a train of thought. I admired those who were walking better than I, even as I noted those who had recovered less control over their movements than I had. Seek out a stroke survivors group and listen. We are not alone!

Don't give up!
by: Anonymous

That must be frustrating but terrific that the blood thinning properties of aspirin helped. I too had a stroke in my 50's after a basically clean bill of heath and took an aspirin but my stroke was hemorrhagic, so aspirin made things worse. I spent 5+ weeks in ICU then acute rehab. Initially, I was terribly impatient -- in denial of what had happened. I fell four times in ER and ICU because I couldn't accept that I really could not support my weight with the left side.

See your doctor. Ask for physical and/or occupational therapy. OT generally deals with the waist up while PT focuses on gait. Take a walk with your PT. Cook a meal with your OT. Let them assess how you are doing. Don't hide problems. Let them work with you to solve them.

In a funny way, I am grateful for the recovery time. Not being able to move my left side gave me time to come to terms with what had happened to me. I don't like it but I am deeply grateful that my cognition and speech were not affected. And I'm still getting stronger and more coordinated.

Don't give up! Ask for help. Make time to let people help you. Swallow your pride and do whatever they tell you to do. Keep working at it. Stupid exercises really do help.

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My Husband. My Hero... Frank & Elia's Life After Stroke

by Elia
(Orange County, CA (USA))

My Husband, age 28 suffered from what is called Vertebral artery dissection (VAD). He was healthy as an ox and was training for a strong man competition 5 days out. On Dec 02 2013 he started feeling nauseous and felt sharp pain shooting through his neck and arm. It took and hour or so from when "it" happened for him to realize that something was terribly wrong. He called 9-1-1. By the time he got to the hospital, we were right at the close of 3-4 hours. We went with a heparin drip and he was admitted to ICU where we lived for almost 2 weeks before he was transferred to St Jude for aggressive PT/OT/SP and better care.
By far, the worst time of our lives... but my husband never "said poor me" I was his advocate but he was and is my rock. I still remember hugging him, distraught over the thought that I almost lost the love of my life. My soul mate. He held me and said "Its okay baby... we'll get through this. It's going to be okay"
His speech was slurred in the beginning, but slowly went back to normal within the first week. His peripheral vision came back after a few days. After not being able to swallow, he was cleared to eat "real food" on day 6. The first week he couldn't use the restroom on his own. On day 7, he made it happen (and I almost beat him when I caught him sitting at the edge of the bed, setting the alarm off) The first few weeks, he could barely stand up on his own and had major weakness on part of his body. Week 2 he walked a few feet with a walker. By week 3 he walked the whole floor. Week 4 he walked around the hospital and was so incredibly proud of himself even though we got caught and in trouble for walking too far w/out his gait belt. He also had some crazy temperature sensation going on. He couldn't feel hot or cold on his left (still can't). The pain however, was the worst of it all. It broke my heart to see him in such pain. Neck and head pain. Excruciating. He was released from the hospital on Xmas Eve. We then went to outpatient therapy which made all the difference in the world. After a couple of weeks, he didn't even need to use his cane and was AMAZING all the therapists with his recovery.

Since then, he's back to driving his brand new truck and is also back to work FULL TIME! (go baby go!) He still suffers from fatigue and he's getting sensation back on his right side. He's all there cognitively, however we still need to work on apathy and frustration/stress levels. The only thing that still worries me 5 months out, is the "hangover" feeling he still gets almost every morning and the headaches. He's on coumadin and bp medication and no longer takes any pain pills because of the way it'd make him feel.

We're incredibly grateful for how far he's come and his strong will to live and get through it all. But will he ever get passed that crappy feeling and the pain? Dr's have no answers besides "you might get back to feeling normal, might not" Really hoping that this isn't a permanent side affect.

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Brain Stem Stroke after sheep ram struck me down.
by: Estiaan Kleu

At first they said that I was lucky (Imagine been lucky after having a stroke),but they said that I could have just not waking up.Long story short,I had it 11 months ago and it was not easy getting through rehab and not able to swallow, walk or talk and bad headaches.
I still have the headaches and if I get tired struggle to swallow and get quickly tired and no hot or cold or pain feeling in my left arm and leg.Getting up with that hangover feeling still gets me and I took Endep, but that made it worst so I am not taking that anymore.
As I read your story it was like I read mine, so I no what you going through.Hold on to the people around you cause they are the ones pulling you,when it feels like you cant go anymore.Good luck and be strong.

morning "hangover" now gone
by: Joelle

Our story is similar. "We" lived in the hospital for 2 months with a few ICU stays after my honey had a stroke at 43 due to carotid artery dissection.
I am not a doctor, but let me relay that Tom's quality of life greatly improved when his team of doctors switched him from warfarin to full dose aspirin. His "hangovers" disappeared as did his "migraines". After the stroke he regularly experienced something like migraines that didn't respond to migraine management. (Due to the stroke we couldn't use migraine prescriptions). The hematologist recognized that increases in warfarin doses triggered "migraines". Tom hasn't had a single headache in 15 months now. It has improved his moods & outlook which of course improves mine!

by: Friend

I'm just entering in my third year of a right brain ganglia hemorrhage stroke. I'm walking, talking and doing everything, but my left side has scratchy-tingly sensations most times. It's not very comfortable. Some days are more tolerable than other days, so I make a point to focus on other things and just don't think about it. I WILL CONTINUE TO JUST SIMPLY EACH DAY DO THE BEST I CAN BY NO GIVING UP. Don't YOU either! :)

A friend who truly knows

Stroke that was inoperable
by: Audrey Zigler

I had a stroke 11months ago. It was said I would never walk, talk nor use hands again. To day I am recovering daily. I have a trainer at the gym,out patient thearpy and exercise at home daily. DON'T give up!

Never give up
by: Marieta

I had a stroke, August 2013. I lost all my words, but there is nothing wrong physically with me. I had to learn to speak again, like a child. I'm Afrikaans speaking, and I struggle with English and even with my own language.
What I can tell, please, NEVER, NEVER give up!

God's bless!

Hang in there
by: Anonymous

Hi my name is David i had a stroke on october16 2012 when i was in the hospital on the third day i had another one but this time it paralyzed all my right side. It affected me mentally. I thought is this the way I am suppose to be for the rest of my life. Since then, my hand has open all the way, and I drive. Thank God to conclude this. Never stop going forward and keep believing and put your trust in God All Almighty. He wont let you down.

walking post stroke
by: Anonymous

Hello Elia,How is the walking and gait now post-stroke.Can your huband walk fast without support?If so,how long did it take for him to reach that level.My relative had a artery dissection and still very slow with walking post 6 monts stroke.Your inputs will be very helpful.

Don't give up
by: Rob Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Well done for getting this far, I am 10 years into my event... and the best advice I ever got was "DON'T GIVE UP' it's so hard everyday. if you have family and loved ones keep going...I don't know why we are here but keep trying..
Good luck

Update - Over a Year out
by: Elia

So, its been over a year since my husband, Franks, stroke. We have learned a few things since switching neuros. (should have done that months ago). So the pain he was experiencing was being caused by a pinched nerve in the neck possibly due to trying to over compensate for the right sided weakness. Once we found out it wasn't stroke related (A YEAR LATER), he actually started focusing on not over compensating when using his right side. He hasn't had a headache in over 2 weeks.
Regarding that crappy feeling in the morning, this part shocked us - due to the location of the stroke near the brain stem, the MD said that that it is the motor of the brain, and that low serotonin levels have been causing that "hungover" as my husband put it, feeling. (Again... the fact that we found this out more than a year later makes me upset.) the MD put him on serotonin boosters (aka anti-depressants), and 2 weeks later, we're seeing amazing results. Another thing to note is that timing of medication must be consistent. We're so happy to have found a better neurologist who has actually provided some solutions and information.

Thank goodness we live in the Uk
by: Anonymous

My partner had a stroke in November 2014. I immediately rushed him to our local hospital which has a dedicated stroke ward. The doctors, dedicated stroke team and physiotherapists were all free, including aftercare. He was very fit, mountain walker. So thank goodness for our National Health Service.

stroke survivor
by: Pete

Hey frank my name is pete from Alice, Texas. On May 24, 2013 I had a hemmorhagic stroke. Fortunately, it happened in my home. I spent several days in ICU then on June 24 2013 was finally released. I spent a month using a walker and then several weeks with a cane. Here I'm approaching my 2 year mark, and I still have trouble with my coordination/balance with walking and the use of my left arm/hand. But what's important after everything is that I'm still here fighting everyday, not giving up.

Don't give up
by: Anonymous

I have been living with my brain stem stroke for over 30 years, and all I can say is do not give up.

check meds for side effects
by: Marysd

If your husband is still not feeling good, please check the side effects of the medications he takes.....Some blood pressure meds will cause a patient to feel bad. Don't assume the way he feels is related to the original episode.....Good luck....Marysd

Drinking Fluids After Stroke
by: Elia

In the beginning, we'd have him tuck his chin to his chest and take small sips from a cup. Hospitals also have this flavorless powder solution that you mix into your water, that makes the water thick, and easier to swallow and control, so that he wouldn't choke.

Hope that helps!

he misses drinking water the most
by: Justine Prade

Dear Frank and Elia,

I hope that you are doing very well.

My 44 year old husband who is in very good physical condition, suffered a brainstem sroke 7 days ago. That's why he still cant swallow. Do you have a tip to enjoy a simple glass of water? He misses that the most.

Thank you from Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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Len's Stroke Recovery

by Leonard DeSalvo
(Chicago, IL)

My name is Len. Five months ago, I was about to take a nap when I felt dizzy, threw up in bed, fell on the floor and passed out. When my wife found me on the bedroom floor about an hour later, I was taken to the hospital where I was given a clot-busting drug, called TPA, which didn't break up the clot immediately, so I was taken to surgery and had a angiogram to see where the clot was in my brain. The clot broke up into tiny blood vessels, so the medication must have worked. I was in ICU for 5 days, transferred to a different hospital, brought to the neurology/stroke floor for 3 days, then to the rehab floor for 4 weeks. From there, I was transferred to a rehab center for 2 weeks. Once I was home, I received home health care, with services from physical, occupational, speech therapists and nurses. After numerous doctors visits (from an internist, cardiologist, neurologist, neuro-optomologist and endocrinologist), I have made great progress in my recovery. I have been able to walk around the block, vacuum a room or two in the house, wash dishes and, just 2 days ago, give myself insulin. My biggest roadblock has been my peripheral vision. I still see double in this area but will start doing eye exercises to strengthen this problem. My right arm still feels tight and weak, but I'm trying to do arm exercises to strengthen that area as well. I told my wife that if it wasn't for her, I would probably be dead. I'm looking forward to taking my family (wife, son, mother, brother and sister) to dinner in appreciation of all their support during the last 5 months.

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Stroke survivor
by: Anonymous

Hello all I`ve read some of your courageous stories, they're very uplifting. I`m also a survivor now of 6 years and I've lucked out and through the prayers and family have recovered well, but there`s always that not knowing, that hangover feeling, headaches that scare me, but I made it to 55 years old. That`s a plus. I don`t really know what caused the stroke, but it happened and I have to struggle to survive every day. I don`t know how things will turn out, but I`m here and now I know living this life is a struggle for everyone. God be with you all, my prayers to all .

by: Anonymous

I had a stroke 6 days ago and I feel horrible. I want this feeling to stop no one can understand no one to talk to . I am a 49 year old woman and I was at work at the hospital when this happened to me. The er completely mess up and thought I had ear infection. No geniuses I had a stroke

Living in Ecuador looking to do stroke rehab work
by: Jhonny Seitz

I'm kind of bored. I did biomechanically based life coaching and stroke rehabilitation work in LA for the last 20 years. Got couple of magazine cover stories and a little famous for putting Dick Clark back on television and ended up working with lots of stroke survivors. Am also know for performing in Europe and America in movement theatre.

Retired this year with my wife who speaks Spanish and now live in Quito. Do not speak good Spanish yet.

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Becky's Recovery After AVM Stroke

by Becky
(Provo, Utah)

I was 22 and my son was going to turn 1 the next day. I was very busy that day and hadn't eaten much, and hadn't had much sleep or water throughout the day. It was a very busy day, but I enjoyed most of it. At the peak of stress, when we were already late for an event, my head started hurting incredibly bad. I couldn't fathom that anyones head could hurt so bad. And it was very sudden. My head had a little pressure all day long, but I could ignore it. When my head really started hurting, it was debilitating, sudden, and within 10 minutes I was dry heaving, my vision was going, my balance was going, my hearing was changing, and I just told my husband to take me to the hospital. We are very fortunate to live by a hospital, and even more fortunate that in our usually very busy down town, there was no traffic on the way. Quite a miracle. We got there, I was dry heaving the whole time, and the worst thing the ER workers did was try to ask me questions, try to ask me what I was allergic to. I couldn't think, and on the pain scale, it was an 11.

After they finally got me into a room I just wanted to let go. I leaned forward and tried to go to sleep. I think I remember them having me move to the bed within a few minutes, but I don't remember what happened after that. Several hours later, at 2:00 in the morning, I woke up, being wheeled out of a hospital room. The first thing I noticed was that the pain had gone down significantly! What a huge relief! I was very surprised to see my parents there, and was kind of worried/embarrassed that they came out for a headache. I was also extremely happy to see them, and felt a lot of love. I was told that I had have an avm rupture (whatever that meant. I knew it must be somewhat serious, because of the way they were talking about it.) When I was finally to the room I would be staying in, I think it was my parents that actually told me that I'd had a stroke. Inside, I felt completely normal. My mind felt exactly the same, and I actually didn't realize anything was that much different at first.

Within the next 24 hours I started discovering what had actually happened to my body. A significant portion of my vision was gone. I couldn't watch tv. I couldn't see enough of the screen to see what was going on, and could only see one face when I tried. I was excited to send a text to my sister, but after sending it, and receiving one back, I realized that I could not read. I had no problem whatsoever typing the text, but I could not tell one letter from the next without significant effort when I tried to read her text.

When they brought me the menu I told them I couldn't read it, so they volunteered to list off the food to me. I soon learned that I could no longer do lists. As soon as she moved on to the next item I could not remember anything she had said previous to that item. I ended up just saying yes as soon as I heard something I recognized and wanted.

One important thing about my stroke is the miracle of trials. I had had very hard trials before, so I knew for a fact that if I allowed myself to complain or get down about anything, I would be ruined. It would be the end of me. I wouldn't have the strength to recover, and I would fall apart and sink into a deep depression. From that point on I prayed a lot, and did all I could to keep any negative or complaining thought out of my mind, and I actually ended up being very happy because of that. I would never list that as one of the hardest times of my life. Nothing compares to 9th grade.

Back to the first night, after talking to my parents for a few minutes, they just kept looking at me, and they finally told me that my hair was gone. By this point I knew it was a miracle that I was alive, so I just said, "Okay", then tried to brush it aside, and realize the miracle that I was alive and doing so well. After being told my hair was gone, I knew they would hesitate to tell me more, as I waited to hear that half of my face was drooping. After half an hour nobody said anything about my face drooping, so I finally stopped the conversation and bluntly asked them if my face was drooping. The right side of my face felt slightly numb. I was glad to hear that it wasn't. I wasn't completely sure they were telling the complete truth, but I knew by their responses that if it was drooping, it wasn't as noticeable.

The three things that helped me the very most after having a stroke were 1- Deciding to be grateful, and to be extremely careful and diligent to not think any negative thoughts, but to always fill my mind with positive thoughts. 2- Family and friends coming to visit me. Having so many people come and show their love and support for me really helped me to stay positive, and gave me all the confidence I could ever want, and all of the motivation I needed to recover. Even people I barely knew showed up, and showed me that they cared. That helped immensely. 3-Not giving up. I had become severely dyslexic, but after almost two years, when I am prepared, I can read in front of an audience and sound mostly normal, especially if I have read the content before. Two years ago, I couldn't read one letter.

One problem was that I looked and acted completely normal (besides my hair being gone), and my husband wanted life to get back to normal after one month, so I was basically back to being expected to take care of our son, clean the house, and make the meals, and it made sense because I seemed to be the same person. He also thought I needed to work out more when I was trying to cross a street and became completely out of breath halfway across. He wasn't being mean. He was uninformed, and so was I. All of the doctors said to take it easy- but sometimes we need more specific instructions, and even more importantly, an understanding of what is going on in my body, and why I should take it easy. We didn't realize how bad my stroke actually had been, and that it would take almost two years to get back to being able do to everything I had done before without becoming out of breath.

I also wish I had understood the benefits of therapy more. Physically, I hadn't lost the ability to move my hands or coordinate anything, but I had no visual memory. My visual memory is still terrible, and I believe that if someone had been able to do an assessment, tell me exactly what was lacking, and then tell me what they could do to help, or what I should do at home, that would have helped tremendously. Instead, I went to a therapy office, the therapist did some tests on me, had me do some exercises that I felt I could do much more easily at home, and then told me to come back in two weeks. I didn't understand what the exercises did, so I stopped going. Almost two years later I understand what they are for, and have now started doing exercises at home that are helping, but I wish I would have understood sooner that even though some of the activities seemed extremely basic, and to be for people with severe strokes, they would have helped me with my visual memory, my ability to connect thoughts, as well as my other deficiencies.

There is one more thing I would like to mention, and it's hard to balance between these two important things, but they are very important. I strongly believe that one of the reasons I recovered so quickly is because my husband didn't accept the idea that I was the way that I was, and that I couldn't recover, and constantly pushed me to do more. I know that was the biggest factor to my recovery, from pushing me to work on reading, to pushing me to exercise. At the same time, looking back, there were times he didn't recognize that my body was recovering, and wanted me to get up early with him, exercise, and thought I was weak because I didn't exercise enough. It's easy to forget when everything else seems exactly the same. There were several time I said that I didn't want to play a game because I could not remember what a card said as soon as I wasn't looking at it, but everyone always insisted that I play, because I would learn and it would get easier as I played the game. They didn't realize that that part of my brain was gone, and that you done just train another part of your brain in roughly 45 minutes to take over and do that function. Needless to say, all of us ended up being embarrassed and quiet by the end of the game, because it really just looked like I was stupid, but I really tried hard, and really struggled to remember anything visual about the game.

The balance is between doing everything for me because I had a stroke, and having me do everything for myself in order to recover quickly. There needs to be a balance. I needed to be pushed, but I really needed a break sometimes.

One important lesson I have learned is that there aren't really limits to my brain. It is constantly making small improvements, and that my be because I am still young, but as I work to get enough sleep at night, eat a good diet, and take care of myself, I believe that I am learning faster now than I ever did in Jr. High or High School. When I apply myself, I learn and improve, even if it's just a tiny bit. I believe that with continual effort to recover mentally, one day I will be completely back to normal.

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I was a cancer patient,suffering from Lymphoma type B. I had ascitis,a thick whitish liquid which accumulated up to 5 litres in ten days in my stomach. It was evacuated by inserting a syringe in my belly. I was fed up and I had to go to France for treatment. On my return to Mauritius, I had a stroke on the right side of my body.

I was paralyzed. The right side of my hand and foot was affected. I could not walk, nor could I hold anything on my hand. I was desperate. I left the hospital not knowing what to do. Fortunately, the doctor told me to do some physical exercises. I was a body builder in my young days. I started training with small weights, and today I can tell you that I have started enjoying life again without any sign of Lymphoma. I am working in my office,driving my car,running,cycling etc.

The advice I will give to stroke patients - never give up. WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY.

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A Stroke of Luck: A Girl's Second Chance at Life

by Juli K. Dixon
(Orlando, FL USA)

Notice the Caption on Alex's Shirt :)

Notice the Caption on Alex's Shirt :)

Notice the Caption on Alex's Shirt :) Alex Skyping with a therapist in Israel for therapy

At a critical juncture during brain surgery, Alex Dixon, age 12, had a stroke...

Alex was a normal, bright, and healthy little girl, when the sudden onset of a mysterious illness began to take over her life. Months of physical therapy and medication failed to provide relief from acute pain and muscle spasms. Doctors across the country were at a loss for answers. A last-ditch attempt at treatment - brain surgery - ended up stopping the spasms but with unexpected consequences. Alex had a massive stroke.

Now Alex's mother and younger sister have written a book about her journey. A Stroke of Luck is the remarkable true story of a close-knit family that meets challenge after challenge with resilience, hope, and love. Learn more and find a link to the book at

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Donna's Stroke Recovery

by Donna McIntyre
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

In August 2012, I had a stroke in the left hemisphere of my brain. I couldn't walk very well on my right leg, my right hand and arm were paralyzed, and my speech was garbled. A year later and I can hike for hours, use my hand and arm (though not back to normal yet), and my speech is better.

I am going to go get neurofeedback therapy to speed up my recovery on my speech and fine motor skills. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Arno Pieterse (53 years South Africa)

by Arno Pieterse
(Port Elizabeth South Africa)

My Road to Stroke Recovery
(Arno Pieterse 52 years – South Africa)
It’s 06 March 2012 in South Africa and the weather is awesome. I got up 06h00 this morning , make coffee for myself and my wife , Noëline – coffee in bed as usual. She showers and go to work at 07h15. I am at my desk planning a truckstop at Bronkhorstspruit near Pretoria. I make my porridge and eat at my desk. At 09h00 , while sitting , a muscle in my neck pulling like if you pull a hamstring in my rugby days , but it is NOT the normal type of hamstring injury. I walk to the sitting room and suddenly I lost my balance totally. I fall against the heavy leather chair and break a window. In a matter of seconds I have NO strength at all. I cannot get back on my feet. I know my brain does not function normally, but I am totally disorientated. I sit in the passage but I don’t know what happened to me. I look around, did someone hit me?

Take in account it is 09h00 in the morning, now what must I do, my wife will come home at the earliest 17h30. I cannot move to see the time on the big clock in the kitchen. While I wait for help, a voice , an angel or voice of God says to me, Arno you are going to be fine. It’s as if this is all a dream. I hope I dream. At last Noëline is at home - it’s 18h00.

Firstly she thinks I am joking – still laying in the passage but realizes here’s trouble. She cannot get me back on my feet and call the neighbours for help. Noëline phones my sister, a doctor at Greenacres hospital and she tells Noëline she must bring me to Greenacres hospital as soon as possible. On our way to the hospital, my eyes (brain) see that cars swirl from all lanes and now I know that I am in a very bad state.

At the hospital everyone is waiting for me. After MRI scans, I am taken to the high care (no beds available in ICU). The next morning I woke up with a pipe (feels like a 25mm hose pipe) in my mouth, a pipe in my nose for feeding and nurses told me I have a catheder for pee and I’m in ICU.

I have NO control over my body, even my hands are tied up. Why I don’t know, just to find out it’s to prevent me from pulling out the pipes. I cannot move a single part of my body. When the nurses changing shifts, I heard “I don’t know if he will make it” That made me say to myself, I must show them. Unfortunately I did not know how steep is this mountain that I must climb.

By the Friday my 2 daughters from Bloemfontein (700km from Port Elizabeth), my sister from Cape Town (1000km) and my brother from Pretoria(1200km) was at my bedside to say goodbye to me. I could only look at them and was not able to say a word. My tongue was totally dead. My brain is 100% functionally - my body dead. My sister told me that I had a brain stem stroke - 'Locked-in Syndrome'. I could only move my eyes. Brain stem handles many of the body's basic life support functions, such as breathing and heart rate. A brain stem stroke can be fatal.

I really did not have a clue what this all mean but was soon going to find out. Brain stem stroke is NOT a cold that will pass in 2 weeks. It takes months and even years to recover and you have no guarantee that you will recover fully. I almost didn't have anything left to live for. Why must I live? From super fit to paraplegic in ONE DAY. The recovery process is VERY VERY SLOW I was told.
Recovery is also very important because through therapy, a stroke victim can regain the physical skills he lost from the stroke like speaking, walking, and even eating.

Stroke don't ask about the colour of your skin, your bank account size, if you a man or woman. A stroke can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. This was no good news to me at all and I was wondering how I am going to cope in future. During this time I lost 15kg in the 1st month. I was weighing 100kg a month ago. I played squash 6 times a week and sometimes 2 games a day. My heart beat was 48 per minute and my blood pressure 135/80 a week before I had the stroke. I was in top condition for a 52 year old man. I never smoked before and I drink only by occasion.
From Greenacres hospital they transfer me to Aurora hospital. Aurora is a recovery hospital in Port Elizabeth and the only type in South Africa. Dr. Dippenaar said to me: “Arno, you are a perfect patient. Your fitness is going to pull you through”.
The stiff mountain climb has begun. I undergo occupational, speech therapy and physio therapy. Soon I had some movement in my arms, but none in my legs. The worst for me was the speech therapy, because I could not say a word – my tongue had no movement. Depression got hold of me and I cried every time I see a family member or when my squash friends visit me as if I never going to see them again. My 80 year old mom visited me EVERY visiting hour. She did not miss one visiting hour. I was deep down the dumps and I was wondering how I am going to back to where I was. The worst was to lay in your bed, cannot say a word when you need something. I had the alphabet sticked to my wheelchair wooden board to communicate to people/family. This was a slow method of communicating but that was the ONLY method I could communicate.
From here, I was transferred to home. For 2 months I had a caretaker every day looking after me. My caretakers, Nonna and Nontsame took care of me for 8 weeks at home. Nobody could have done the job better than these two beautiful women. I still attend Aurora hospital every 2nd day. After 3 months the (PEG) feeding tube was removed and I was able to eat again. I started drinking water by drinking a drop of water from a tablespoon. The brain is a remarkable organ that has the ability to rewire itself to some degree. Parts of the brain that have not been affected by the stroke may be able to take over the damaged areas, doing some of the tasks formerly controlled by the affected areas. Much of the improvement in motor functioning - walking, using your arms and legs comes in the early phase of stroke recovery. This is one of the reasons that it is so important to start rehabilitation as soon as possible.
The first stage of rehab usually begins 24 to 48 hours after your stroke, as soon as you are stable and while you are in the hospital. For most people, rehab begins with the goal of getting out of bed and into a chair. As you gradually regain strength and function, nurses or therapists will help you regain skills and relearn tasks that were lost because of the stroke.
1 ) Weakness on one side of the body. This may cause you to have trouble walking or doing other tasks. The side of the body that is affected is opposite from the side of the brain that was damaged by the stroke.
2) Trouble with walking and coordinating body movements.
3) Problems swallowing and eating
4) Problems with your sense of touch or your ability to feel hot and cold
5) Muscle stiffness or spasms
6) Urinary or bowel problems.
7) Speech and language problems
8) Memory and cognitive problems
9) Emotional problems. Fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, frustration and grief are common.
The problem with trying to recover from a stroke is that unless you want to recover and regain your facilities back, it will not happen. This part of having a stroke is very difficult because it requires a great deal of willpower and determination. After my stroke, I experience post-stroke spasticity which is a muscle control disorder that is characterized by tight or stiff muscles and an inability to control those muscles. It still impairs my mobility. Kate is my role model and I compare my recovery to hers on Microsoft excel. Physical exercise and stretching helps you to maintain the full range of movement and helps you to prevent permanent muscle shortening. Stroke causes big changes in the lives of survivors.
Recovering from a stroke can be very frustrating. It is common to face depression and have some setbacks. You may make strong improvement at first and then feel like you have lost some of what you gained. Overcoming problems with speech and language may seem very slow, because it may be hard for you to measure your progress. But a stroke rehab team is there to help in as many ways as possible. Discussing your frustrations with the team and your family will be an important part of your recovery. Building a network of support outside your family may be helpful.
For most people who have had a stroke, rehab is a lifelong process that also includes taking medicines to prevent another stroke and lifestyle changes to improve overall health and prevent future strokes. Controlling other risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, is also important.
Your family backup is very important and building a network of support outside your family may be just as helpful. Any negativity like negative e-mails or negative sms’s must be deleted. Keep yourself busy with POSITIVE stuff.
Also to Jesus Christ our Lord that stood by me when I was down to the ground and also when I start getting back onto my two legs. By all means the ride up to here was not easy at all and still not going to be.
Port Elizabeth
South Africa

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you r my role model
by: Anonymous

I am 2 and half months post stroke with left side paralysis. I can walk with a cane but striving to walk unassisted. I have no functional movement in my arm or hand. My occupation is a secretary so I need to get my fingers working. I hope that I can post a success story such as yours. Thank you for sharing your story.

U r a super star
by: Anonymous

I am a therapist in California. I read your bio and am thrilled to know that you understand how important perseverance in the stroke process. God bless you.

god bless u
by: norma limon tolentino

just do your daily exercises,god will help us ,dont care what people say, god bless

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My Mum's recovery

My Mum had a severe stroke 11 months ago, aged 84, out of the blue. Fortunately it was on the right side of the brain so language etc was essentially unaffected but she lost all movement in her left arm and leg, couldn't swallow safely for several weeks and was on a pureed diet for several months.

We were told she would certainly not be able to live alone at home again. But since January she has been living at home, although with caregivers going in several times a day (I live closest of her 3 children, 2 hours drive away, and she would not want to move if she can avoid it as she was very active and has loads of friends, so family care is not an option at present). She is still improving physically - a month ago she still could not lift her left foot off the ground unaided, but then last week she walked 30 steps, turned around and walked 30 back again (with a quadropod for support).

So my message is -don't believe the notion that not much recovery occurs after the first 3 months! If you keep working at the physio, you just never know. She is now also able to bend her arm although cannot straighten it again yet, but that is how her leg began to recover (she could extend it but not bend it or lift it). I would also recommend a pedal exerciser for anyone with a similar condition. Initially my Mum needed someone to help her keep her foot on the pedal and could manage only 10 revolutions with the lowest resistance. Now her foot stays in place and she can cycle for 10 minutes or more on the highest resistance. It all helps.

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My Moms Recovery from Stroke

by Carol

Determined to visit the rose park

Determined to visit the rose park

My Mom, who was 7o years old at the time, recovered from a stroke, against all odds! She went to the ER while having a heart attack, and because her arteries were blocked so much, the procedure they did to unblock them caused her to have a stroke! (she was told at the time that it could happen)
She spent months in the hospital, and several weeks in a Rehab center where she learned to eat, talk, walk, (you name it), all over again.
The skills they taught her were incredible. The simple things we take for granted like getting up from a chair, she couldn't do on her own, until they taught her to gently rock until she could do it.
She soon gave away the wheel chair, the walker, and even the cane!
My Mom was determined to get through it and "get on with her life" She said she couldn't possible stay like that, because she had to many things she liked to do!

I'll never forget the women at Rehab in the bed beside her, she had been their for a week or so with no improvement,she had no determination to get better, so eventually they sent her home.(Like the nurse told my mother, if you don't want to help yourself, we can't do it for you), that other lady was only taking up a bed that someone else could use that DID want help!

Recovering from a stroke takes determination and work from the victim, but it CAN be done. My Mom is proof of that. Seven years later, she spends most of her day working in her greenhouse or garden, enjoying what she loves to do! (I wonder what that other lady is doing today?)

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Questions I asked my wife's doctors

by Gerald L. Finch, Ph.D.

Stroke Patients: Questions to Ask Your Doctor
By Gerald L. Finch, Ph.D.

Welcome to all stroke patients and their caregivers. Before I begin, I must clarify my credentials and motivation for creating this web page submission. I have a Ph.D. in management with a concentration in psychology and I am a Certified Grief Counselor. I am a professor of management and psychology at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. Although I have spent countless hours over the last 3.5 years studying ways of helping stroke patients, I have not had any formal medical education.

My motivation for writing this is straightforward. A year after I married my wife, Paulina, she suffered a massive stroke (AVM hemorrhage). Paulina, a physician, was in near perfect health before the stroke. Being a physician she had many physician friends and many offered help during the initial weeks of her stroke. She did not have a high chance of surviving the initial shock of the stroke. But she did survive and spent five months at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Following this, she continued with daily physical, speech, and occupational therapy. She has realized many improvements during the last 3.5 years and I am certain that most of these improvements were not only due to her excellent medical and therapy team, but because of the quality of questions that have been directed to this team. This site is to highlight some of these questions to help you help your medical and therapy team do a better job.

The quality of your questions can make all the difference in the world; in fact they can result in a new and better world for the stroke patient. I can’t overestimate the value of questions that are posed in a tactful and persistent manner.

SWALLOWING. Some stroke patients suffer the risk of food entering the lungs (aspiration pneumonitis) and tests such as video swallow tests can detect when this risk is high. Often these tests are useful to help decide the kinds of food and liquids that can be consumed via mouth versus via PEG. Many times professionals recommended that my wife should consume only foods with the consistency of cream of wheat and mashed potatoes via mouth and thin liquids such as water should be via PEG. Your questions should be directed at the position of the patient’s head during the video swallow test. Does it make a difference during the test if the head is bent (chin close to the chest) while swallowing? If a patient can safely drink thin liquids with the head bent, should those liquids continue to be given only via PEG? The other critical question relates to drinking water when aspiration is possible. Ask if the patient (with a very clean mouth) should drink water as a way of practicing swallowing? Ask what is the risk of lung complications including pneumonia if clean water enters the lungs? Some physicians may answer that the benefit of “swallowing water practice” outweighs the risk of lung complications.

If the swallowing difficulties are related to motor control problems including spasticity, ask if some medicines could help relax the various body components involved with swallowing to reduce the chances of aspiration. Specifically ask about Baclofen for spasticity. Motor control problems complicate swallowing so ask if certain medicines such as Prozac and L-Dopa can improve motor control functions?
Some stroke rehabilitation centers use Occupational Therapists for swallowing therapy. Ask your physician if he supports this approach or if demands should be made for a speech pathologist/therapist.

Finally, ask your physician if you should add a dietitian to your team who has experience with stroke patients. Most dieticians do not have such experience and have difficulty suggesting appropriate diets.

Spasticity. This is certainly a main obstacle for stroke patients. You need to ask if the physical therapists are fully qualified to help a stroke patient. Neurorehabilitation is very different from standard physical therapy, and yet many standard physical therapists will not disqualify themselves from offering services to the stroke patient. Ask all the necessary questions to ensure that your therapists are fully qualified.

Some hospitals/stroke rehabilitation centers rotate physical therapist every 2-3 weeks. Some patients have many and complex issues and it takes a long time for a therapist to learn the patient well enough to help them. Ask your physician if she supports this practice and if she does not, advocate for more consistency in physical therapy or move the patient to another facility where such consistency is available. (This was an obstacle in the rehabilitation of my wife.)

Some physical therapists do not use splints for arms, hands, and feet. Indeed they can be essential as part of the rehabilitation process. Ask enough questions about the use of splints until you have clear, logical answers.

Most neurologists and rehabilitation physicians who I have met do not know how to administer Baclofen. Many physicians want to stop Baclofen if low doses such as 20 or 30 mgs are not successful in reducing spasticity. Some physicians want to stop increasing Baclofen doses once the patient becomes weak or drowsy. You should ask what dosage is likely to reduce spasticity and how can the patient try to get to that dosage. For example, if a patient appears to have reached the maximum dosage because of weakness, ask if dosage should be decreased for a few weeks and later slowly increased again. Every patient is different, but my wife did not see any relief from spasticity until she received 60 mgs a day and it took over six months for her body to accept this amount with frequent changes in dosage.

Botox could be another useful tool in rehabilitation. I have found that many physicians are willing to inject botox to temporarily relieve spasticity, but you must ask enough questions to determine who is the most qualified to do this. My wife has had the same amount of botox injected in the same muscles by three different physicians. Two physicians obtained no results at all, but one achieved dramatically positive results. It is important to find a truly qualified physician. Other important questions must be asked to determine if the physical therapist and physician who will inject the botox are willing to work together. The physical therapist often knows where the botox should be applied and is the best person to explain this to the physician. Also, the physical therapist knows the right therapy to apply after the botox treatment.

Finally, sometimes all the right medicines and therapy are insufficient and surgery should be investigated. My wife had such problem in her right leg. Normal orthopedic doctors and neurologists did not have a clue as to what to do. But a neuro othorpedic physician was able to reverse a muscle and had her leg moving at least 200% better within 24 hours without even one night in the hospital.

DEPRESSION. If the patient is taking an antidepressant and is having a negative reaction or is not obtaining substantial relief from depression, ask your doctor what other kinds of antidepressants could help. There are several good options available depending on the patient’s condition. (Some very highly credentialed neurologists and rehabilitation physicians gave up on antidepressants for my wife after she had a negative reaction to the first one. This mistake caused years of needless depression.)

SPEECH. Two very well-credentialed speech pathologists from a leading hospital said that because my wife was not speaking six months after her stroke that probably she would never regain her speech. Ask your physician to what degree spasticity and lack of motor control is hindering speech. Ask about combinations of such medicines as Baclofen, Prozac, and L-Dopa to reduce some of these obstacles.

Lots of good questions is one of the secrets to improved rehabilitation for a stoke patient. You should be tactful but persistent in your questioning. Your questions will help everyone find better solutions.

Best wishes,

Gerald L. Finch, Ph.D.

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Darcy Stewart

by Darcy Stewart

I had three mini strokes three weeks ago. The first two I was in denial but I went to the hospital and with no treatment I left the hospital on a Thursday and on the Friday I fell over in the bathroom and was taken to a doctor and he put me on me aspirin, clopidogrel and apo pentoxifylline and I am not doing too bad but still tired and unbalance . I am in Jamaica at the moment and i live in England. I want to go back so badly but my doctor recommend I stay for a while before flying back. That makes me feel so frustrated, but I will have to wait and try to take things a bit easy and follow the diet and get my cholesterol down and my should be OK in a few weeks time so i could go home. Thanks.

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Stroke recovery from a therapist's perspective

From a therapist's point of view, I think one of the most powerful rehab tools is the patient having a positive outlook and determination. I've seen patients with severe paralysis on one side of their body learn to walk and care for themselves, and I've seen others give up and become totally dependent on caregivers (even when they had potential to improve). Mindset can make a big difference with recovery.

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Hi Would you be willing to fill out a questionnaire for me
by: Anonymous

I am 45 and a stroke survivor finishing up my degree in accounting. However, I am writing my thesis research project on Recovery and Rehabilitation for stroke survivors and I am lacking the professionals perspective.

If you would not mind filling a quick online questionnaire I would so appreciate it.

Why I chose this topic as their research project:

This project is important because I had a stroke at the age of 31 in 2001 and the idea of being stroke survivor is still a new concept to me after 15 years. I always thought of myself as a victim. A victim of circumstances, a victim of hereditary, a victim without a perpetrator except my own body.

I now look at recovery as like the transition from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Two important and beautiful living creatures that can accomplish things in two very different ways. I learned that I can still do the same things I use to do; I just need to learn how to do them differently. More on me can be found at my website:

Professional significance of this study?

Researching the rehabilitation of stroke survivors is important because it brings to attention the problems facing stroke survivors, but explores the experiences of those affected.

Thomas Edison Liberal Arts Capstone Research Project
LIB-495 Liberal Arts Capstone is a research project where students select an area of interest related to their academic studies and engage in an activity leading to a research project, creative project or applied project reflective of comprehensive knowledge gained in undergraduate studies and demonstrate their knowledge of the outcomes of the Bachelor of Arts degree.

Thank you

Stroke recovery from a survivor's perspective
by: BB Martin

I agree 1000 percent with this, and thank you for bringing this point into focus.

I had a stroke which left me unable to walk in 2001. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn't recover that ability; even when doctors told my husband I would never walk again (Thank Gawd I didn't hear that until years later, then I laughed.)

I know that my outlook on life has helped me survive not only the stroke, but a heart attack and congestive heart failure. Yes, I have days when I just don't feel great, but I have new goals that I'm working toward and frankly, too much sympathy gives me the creeps!

I focus on the positive and productive things in my life. One great result of having all these health issues was my necessity to really learn what the body needed to be healthy. I now write articles for a web site that I own about what I've learned that's helped me continue to improve my health.

Granted, there are a lot of negative things that I could get sucked into, and sometimes I do, but eventually I get my head screwed on the right way again. I have things to look forward to and I'm learning every day to fully experience and enjoy the present.

I am able to walk now, thanks to a wonderful physical therapist's help, my husband's support and yes, my own decision to keep going and continue to create my life.


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Ros's Stroke

(nsw Australia)

I WAS TOLD AFTER MY STROKE that I had to go straight to a nursing home but one day I discovered I could lift my affected leg to the amazement of all. After rehab I now can walk unassisted. Still work to do on the hand but please God it will happen. Faith got me through. I'll get there!!!

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Chimanga's Stroke Recovery

by Chimanga Williams
(St.Louis, MO USA)

In 2005,at age 31 I suffered a stroke.Up until this time I had a very good-paying job that was also very very stressful.I was not taking good care of myself at the time and eventually imploded in July of the aforementioned 2005.I stayed in the hospital for 29 days, and at the time I was discharged from the hospital I did not have medical insurance and began my own rehab which included reading voraciously to assist with my speech impediment,lifting weights at the local gym and doing the same occupational therapy exercises I did at the hosptial. I came across the Physicans Desk Reference book which had valuable information in a cross-reference style regarding drug interactions. Seven years later I still lack fine motor function on the left side of my body, but I will continue to work at it!

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Dennis & his stroke

by Dennis Gideon
(Joplin MO )

I really had 2 stroke's & I was dead for 23 min. What did I do so wrong? I feel like I am one half of a man. I can't carry in the groceries. I feel like a real pain in my wife's ass. I cant even dry my self off after my shower. I have limited movement on my right side. I have been lazy!!!!!!I need to be in control of my self. I have a lot of pain in my neck. I get shots for that. It only helps for a few days. I am in pain all the time. I take a couple of pain pills. They don't help much but my doc won't give me any thing stronger. He's afraid I will get addicted to them. I would like to trade bodies with him for a day then he will know how I feel all of the time. Constant pain!!!! Help me some body please.

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Try Something New
by: valerie

Please consider the option of two products I will recommend. One is called stem-kine, and and the other is called biostem. Both are relatively cheap, around 40 dollars for biostem, or 80 for the stem-kine. Both are designed to heal your body, and help the body produce new stem cells naturally. Overtime pain will slip away as the body begins to actually heal.

Note from Please note comments are from visitors to this website and are for readers to share their opinions or experiences. The comments are not endorsed by nor should they be used as medical advice. Seek advice from your MD for any medical issues or before trying any new remedies/medications/vitamins/supplements.

by: Geoffrey Moreira

Dennis..Please read my story and hopefully lift your spirits & motivate you for better results.
geoffrey moreira

by: Anonymous

You need to try and remember what it felt like to be whole. Create a memory and stop feeling sorry and try something different. My husband had a stroke a year ago. Positive thinking and the will to get better is getting him through. He is doing acupunture now and it has helped tremendously. Look for anything to get your mind off the pain. The drugs are masking your recovery. Don't let them take over and fight.

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Olga's Story

I wanted to share my story, and hopefully get a feedback from Karen, so that other people avoid a stroke.

In our everyday lives, we are not trained to recognize the signs of the stroke. This is unfortunate, because a stroke can happen to the young people, not only the elderly. It is also unfortunate because quick reaction, diagnosis and treatment could save so many people from a misery of living with the consequences of stroke.

I had a chiropractic incident. A chiropractor "cracked" my neck to help me with the pain in my jaw ( which, ironically , was later diagnosed as a root canal problem).

Next day my ear became numb, and this numbness slowly progressed to my left cheek and left side of my chest. I was debating whether or not to go to the hospital. I was walking and talking and working, so this numbness was just an inconvenience for me. My family members persuaded me to go.

I often think of people like me, people with many responsibilities, people who work hard to support other people and have no time left to pay attention to their own health. Men, especially, won't pay attention to such a minor inconvenience.

At the hospital, a doctor told me that the artery in my neck, the one that supplies blood to the brain, has damage on its lining. It seemed that by it got stuck in between two vertebrae as a result of chiropractic correction. That's when I started feeling that numbness. And when it was let go, lining was not as smooth anymore. So blood, which comes under pressure, could swirl and clot and cause a stroke. I went on anticoagulants, and several months later the problem went away as my body healed.

I wish more people knew of signs of the stroke that can be deadly. It can change your life in an instant... Beware of that..

Note from Olga, thank you for this submission. Those who may be at risk for stroke do have to be careful about having their neck manipulated or participating in activities with excessive neck extension. There is even a term called "beauty parlor syndrome" which refers to ladies who experience stroke from damage to their arteries when having their hair washed at the beauty parlor. The damage can occur when they lean their head back extending their necks. Though chiropractic manipulations and "beauty parlor syndrome" are not commonplace, they do occur. Symptoms to watch out when the neck is extended include dizziness, nausea/vomiting, and headache.

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Stroke and Shoulder Recovery

by Robert Thornton
(Bunker Hill, WV 25413)

Hello My name is Robert and my girlfriend's name is Sharon. Sharon had a stroke April 4th, 2012 This is where my story begins. That crazy day in April when our lives changed forever.

The ER what a scary place...not much compassion there they deal with death every day and it shows they do what they can but honestly how would you like the job of trying to calm down family members of a patient on the brink of death..that's gotta be hard on your heart and soul: She was in ER for a week. The doctors told us not to expect her to recover and said if she did recover at all she would have total loss of her left side...ok with that news shocking the family, what was I supposed to do? This is my soul mate, and I knew If I gave up she would too. There was no way I was going to let that happen. So first things first, I taught her to eat so they wouldn't put a feeding tube in her(tough fight there they kept ordering a tube and I kept telling them to wait I knew she would eat on her own given the chance). Ok now we're off to recovery center......

In-patient rehab....These people do great things and they’re very positive and encouraging(what a refreshing change). The therapy she received helped her leg, her speech,her eating and swallowing - just about everything but her arm and hand...this is what i would like to talk about....I have been by her side since her stroke. Every therapy she got I repeated it in her hospital room and her recovery was amazing, but they couldn't really do any thing for her arm(mainly due to the pain). I asked them about a sling to hold her arm shoulder joint in place(they said the pain and swelling was from pinched nerves in the shoulder) they said that she just had to work through the pain because there was no sling that really worked for the subluxed answer to that bull*&^%...I watched her therapist hold her arm in place and her pain went away....I started searching for a sling ..and sadly they were right every sling I found caused more harm then good..and they wouldn't let me put any on her..(they did try the Giv Mohr sling but it just didn't work - every time she bent her arm her shoulder fell down)..Well I didn't stop there. When she got home, she had in home care and I started making different slings while her therapist kept telling me what was wrong with each sling (made 10 kinds). Finally, they started liking where I was going with number 11. When I finished it, her therapist loved it and her pain level dropped to where she no longer takes pain meds. The recovery of her arm jumped 80% in two weeks. Now all of her doctors and therapist require her to wear the sling I made when she is up moving around.

Well here it is's August 2/2012. We got back from therapy this morning, and they said she has no dropping of the shoulder any more(after her stroke you could fit 3 fingers in the subluxation). Now she uses her left arm and hand more and more every day( I'm so proud of her).

All of her doctors and therapists kept telling me to patent the sling and get it out to the public because there were so many people out there that needed one so I applied for a patent, put together a work shop to make them, and now have to get them to the people that need them. We have donated many slings to hospitals and therapy centers (the first one we made we gave to the rehab center Sharon was in) around here (WV,VA,and MD), and as of Monday there heading to California. There is a case study being done now in WV on the affects the sling has on patients. The doctors and therapist in VA are trying to help us get it researched also.

Well there it this sling came to be(short version of a long journey). I don't know how many people it will help. If it only helps a few people stop the intense pain then it was worth the trip.

Thank You for letting me tell my story...Maybe just maybe this sling may help you or your loved one.

Robert Thornton

If you have any questions you can e-mail me at

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more sling info
by: Anonymous

here is a link to my web site about the sling

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6 mo. After the stroke, numbness and tingling in my hand and leg....

by John
(Chula Vista, CA)

One thing I have not heard mentioned before, was how some days I seem to have numbness or tingling in my hand or leg and if this is normal or should I be running to the hospital.

My Dr. told me, that since part of my brain is dead, other parts of my brain have taken on the job of the dead section. That makes the other parts have to work 2 jobs instead of one. So in times of stress, or sickness the other parts of my brain are going to go back to their first function, and they may drop or reduce their second function they have taken on.
Thus giving me some feeling of numbness like during recovery.
This is normal and not something to worry about. (Unless you have numbness in your right arm, that can be different, see a dr.)

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My Hemorrhagic Brain Story!

by Heidi

My Surgery

My Surgery

My Surgery My hemorrhage in deep parietal lobe, above thalamus

2 yrs ago I was working hard as an ER RN, just had my 2nd boy 2 yrs prior to the bleed, so i was a busy girl but I loved it! All my life I have had trouble with atypical severe migraines. The leg weakness started in 2007, it would come and go. Then I started getting some pretty bad fatigue, ear ringing, trigeminal Neuralgia and more migraines too. Back up to 2010 and working full time w/ busy life. I started getting my weakness again, mental fog, blurry vision, tripping, then it progressed to head pressure, neck ache and falling! This is when I realized something is really wrong.

I went to see my Primary Doc and he ordered a Brain CT which showed the Mass??? They didn't know what it was! I was put from there in the ER and transferred out to Sacramento where after a week of tests was found to be stable, they did a Cerebral Angiogram (YUCK- was not fun) and I was not a good patient! I had a seizure after it was done. It was to rule out AVM or Aneurysm, well it made my bleeding worse but not right away. I was sent home, they said it was inoperable becuz of it's location, in my basal ganglia at the time 2.6 cm and lot's of swelling and an associated DVA in occipital parietal are with a feeder vessel. I went home terrified, I had a hard time walking, my legs would buckle and my head hurt.

The night I went home from Sacramento I had a seizure and was back into our local ER and was kept over night. They thought it was stable and that my brain was just irritated. THey put me on a dilantin drip and I was ok. The next morning I had a Brain MRI w/ contrast and they found it was bleeding more, now over 3cm and I could not move my legs now. I was paralyzed but could still feel them and stand w/ assistance, also could not pee on my own, had to be cathed.

That night I was transferred out to UCSF in San Francisco, they said to get me there asap! They tried to fly me out w/ helicopter but it was bad stormy night so Code 3 I went 3 long hrs to UCSF! My Husband was beside himself and had to try to follow and it's now midnight, got there at 1am. I was going down hill and don't remember much I started fighting off people from touching me and was irritated. At 5 am the top NS arrived and they took me right in to surgery. I was told they did not know the outcome, so basically I didn't know if I would survive or be in a coma or what.
I woke up 6 hrs later able to move my legs and here I am today. I was in the hosp. over a wk. Have been suffering from leg weakness since then and CPS (central pain) from the hemorrhage/surg I get burning pain and weak legs. Cognitively I have improved. I am not working and every day is still a struggle and I have extreme fatigue. I just went for a walk so this means I will be resting a lot today.

I am on Keppra 1500mg per day, we just reduced it from 2000mg to see if it helps w/ the fatigue. I am hopeful that things will continure to get better. I praise God and am thankful to be here and see my 2 little boys grow.

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Always HOPE
by: Anonymous

Hi, just read your post on your husband. From experience, I am telling you there is hope. My husband suffered a severe right sided hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 46. We spent 62 days in the hospital of which 27 were in ICU. Then on to 5 months in acute rehab. We are 11 months post stroke, he can now walk with assistance, think a lot better, and do many activities of daily living, although he is still dependent on me for most things. We stay positive together, applaud even the smallest improvement and just keep going forward. I wish you all the best in dealing with this and have hope for you and your husband.

Is there hope?
by: debi

Can you tell me what kind of surgery you had? My husband had internal cerebral hemorrhage in basal ganglia, 3.8 cm and they could only do surgery to relieve swelling (i.v. surgery) but nothing else. It has been one month and he is still paralyzed on left side, leg and arm. Is there any hope?

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Geoffrey Moreira Stroke Victims Story

by Geoffrey Moreira

My name is Geoffrey Moreira. I am 61 years of age having worked all my life commencing from age 19 as a Swimming Coach in Sri Lanka where I was born. A family man having 2 daughters, Sophie now married to Nathan with their 1st born Caleb. Adele been the younger of the two now 29 is super confident, travelling the world when opportunities arrive and studying Event Business Management. I relocated to the Gold Coast in December 2006 to work and enjoy the sunshine and of course the water.

Life dealt a cruel blow whilst working for Telstra Big Pond in March 2010 when I felt my left side in both arm and leg feeling numb. I discontinued my responsibilities and walked home having discomfort and lying down in bed. I tried to lift myself off the bed to suddenly realize I could not and had no balance. Fearful of the next chapter of my life, I shouted to Tania my Partner that I couldn’t walk and cried uncontrollably. The ambulance was obviously contacted to transport me to the Gold Coast Hospital Emergency. My fears were confirmed when I was advised that I had suffered a stroke. Well I presumed after an extended stay in hospital I would be back to normal. But alas I was totally wrong in my assumption. For 9 weeks being relocated to intensive Physiotherapy ward, I succumbed to daily upper and lower body exercises.

A combination of frustration, isolation, anger, tears and emotional up and downs followed during that period. The Rehab: Unit staff and patients became my “ family “. The stroke victims were on the “ same boat “ as me so to speak and gradually my feelings eased to positive thinking processes and exercise eagerness. Laughter and joking were the order of the day interspersed with a strict diet. We even became encouraging of others to pursue their goals even minor. Exchanging life stories were encouraged to the point of exhaustion. Sleeping became a problem as home responsibilities took priority, missing loved ones especially my 2 daughters living in Melbourne and Tania my partner for her patience, understanding & love. My 2 daughters visited me to offer LOVE and ENCOURAGEMENT with which I am eternally grateful. Tears and emotional pain were sometimes unbearable at night that left unimaginable stress, however dawn brought many other challengers to accept, like new exercises which were challenging.

2 years later I am progressing quite well walking a kilometre, exercising on a stationery bike for 30 minutes and pool exercise routines alternatively over the week. I am continuing to have a positive attitude having listened to my loved ones both in Sri Lanka, Queensland and Melbourne. I encourage those people that have a disability to engage in all capacities of daily life to its fulfillment to achieve in no uncertain manner to regain faculties for a good, healthy, mobile life. I have accepted my fate and to live accordingly. I pray and encourage with you.

My Daily Routine
( Either WALK or EXERCISE - land or pool regularly on alternate days )
Strict DIET
Be Pro Active in your BELIEFS


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by Jules

Had severe right side stroke and much brain damage. I could not read or do my favorite activity...but can use my right hand for all my needs. I have great electric scooter to get around. Tingling in left hand hanging around, but I consider myself lucky as to how bad it could have been. Have great wife.

Age 72. Seven years post stroke

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Wish I...
by: Jules

Could be of more help at home.. Tough accepting ones
Handicap. There is a crippled. Juvenile goose outside my
House that I feel for and relate to ..but, I can read watch tv and use computer and have compassionate family and can see others much worse than me and I can write about my experiences and appreciate what I once had.. Oh to be able to relive it.. That is my message for healthy people
Maintain it and make every day count. If
I could still type w both hands, I think I would do a book. My mom always said man plans..god laughs. How true

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Homer's Recovery Journey Continues

by H.C. Lee
(Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.)

On November 28,2007, I was on my way home from work, and suddenly my whole left side of my body went numb. I panic and stop and tried to get out my truck. I realize I couldn't stand so I used my right arm and pulled myself back in on the seat, I then called my girlfriend and told her what had happened. I managed to drive home, I struggled to get in the house before the EMT's arrive. Within 20 minutes I was being accessed by the EMT's. My blood pressure was 200 over 100 and something.

My girlfriend took me to the emergency room, they did a cat scan and MRI and they admitted me that night. The next morning I awoke and tried to get out of the bed to go to the bathroom and fell on the floor. I was paralyzed on my whole left side and the nurses put me back in bed. As the days went by I had different specialists coming to access my condition. I had a little speech damage, I was cognate of everything...I had no problem swallowing.

After several weeks, the PT started working with me, but there was no progress, but I did tell the PT, "this was not my destiny" and he looked at me strangely like he didn't believe me. I came home in a wheelchair, and after 1 months I had my brother to put my exercise bike in my bedroom. I struggled at first getting on the bike. I exercised until I was totally burned out. Sometimes I slid down the back of the bike and crawled over to my wheelchair. I started to get some feeling back in my left leg, because it would tremble as I paddled....I finally tried a walking cane...I did fall several times in the house, but I didn't give I can use my left arm and hand....I continue to workout...eating right foods, praying and staying positive. I don't want to minimizes the PT sessions I went to...but after about a month they told me they couldn't do any more for that's when I took control of my rehab...with the bike and rubber bands, 5 and 10 pound bar bells. Who ever reads this...don't give up....believe in yourself to get back as much mobility as possible.
God Bless

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Mario, a young stroke hero

by Francesca fedeli

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My Stroke Improvement

by navnath shrikhande
(Pandharpur (India))

Hi, I had a stroke 6 years ago, and per my Doctor I couldn't recover from this disease. I was then determined, and with good effort (with physiotherapy & will power), I am now above 80% improved. I am working at a school job independently & drive a scooter. I want to tell other stroke survivors you will improve, so try your best, do physiotherapy, and improve from this disease.

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God heals
by: Anonymous

Hi, I'm Albert. In 2013 I suffered a stroke. I was assigned at US Samoa, my uric is high. I went back to Philippines for a rehab passing four airports on a wheelchair. Today I am working again in a realty, designing residential plans and subdivisions.
God is great.

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Fatima Monroy

by Fatima Monroy

On June 30th, 2013, I had a stroke. I don't quite remember what really happened on that day, and it still is mind boggling to me. How I wish I could know what truly happened on that day. I remember on Feb.7, 2013, under the doctors care, I felt so weak, but at that time I was still able to talk. I don't know if the scope that they placed inside my nose to check on something, started the stuttering. It's a scary feeling, but I thank God that nothing else is wrong with me besides my speech impediment. I feel I am not the same person as before the stroke. I am broken in so many pieces, and how I wish I could turn back time and do things better. I lost a job and now I am not working and it's hard and I am tired of staying home.

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What is Recovery?

by Alan Trombetta
(Vancouver, Washington)

Recovery from a stroke is a some what nebulous term.

Recovery compared to what?

As my wife's father, an MD, used to say, 'Comparisons are odious'.

Statistically fewer than 13% of all stroke survivors fully recover.

Sadly it is not revealed which type of stroke those 13% had.

Do those statistics include TIA's (tansient ischemic attack)?
Often called a 'mini stroke' they leave no permanent damage.

Most other Strokes, be they ischemic (a clogged artery) or hemorrhagic (a broken blood vessel)
leave some degree of damage; all to often permanent)

After having had a serious PONS stroke 3 years ago
my recovery is still taking place.

Located near the brain stem the PONS is the transfer station of super fast signals
from the spinal column to the brain and is responsible for coordination and balance of numerous body functions

The inability to use the entire right side of my body, couple with much cognitive loss, being barely able to talk, form words or articulate is
what I have been recovering from.

Basically I started at zero.

So any improvement in ability is considered recovery.

I was blessed to have had a stroke while on Medicare; wherewith one qualifies for as much therapy as desired as along as 'progress' is being made.

This is in contrast to those who have a stroke and rely on an insurance company to pay for therapy. Most companies cut people off after 6-8 weeks.
Medicare paid for me to have 9 months of therapy.

Therapists teach and suggest movements that one must And by practice, I mean many hours per day.

Only by the consistent imprinting of movement on the brain can new neuro connections be made. No practice - no neuro memory of what you want the brain to do.

In short, without intense, consistent, practice and exercise, no recovery can take place.

However, full recovery, is a term I can not use because I am not certain it can ever take place. This is disheartening and
a crushing blow to a once very active person.

I can now walk without a walker or cane. But it is obvious to the casual onlooker that I have a disability.

My toes and right calf muscle are not coordinated.

My right hand, fingers and arm are about 85% normal

Cognition and what is called 'executive' thinking are about 80% of normal.

Nonetheless, I have made great progress.

Brain games, like, help make significant mind and brain connections.

Attending a gym with personal trainers who understand how neuro connections are progressively made was very valuable.

Yet, nothing surpasses, the daily implementations of what the therapy staff taught me to do.

Today, after 38 months, I am still doing many of the basic exercises taught to me by those therapists.

Is full recovery possible? I am not certain. The realization that one will never again be the same is tough to process. However, I am determined to keep exercising.

For a blog I wrote for a fitness web site Fitness and Life after a Stroke) please visit:

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Katherine's Story: The Day Lightning Struck

by Katherine Leslie
(Baltimore, Maryland)

Hi every body. I was laying on the couch, my favorite pastime looking at TV. I stood up to go to the bathroom and boom! Something silent but powerful hit my head, and I felt so weak and dizzy, then my left leg gave out,my left arm couldn't grab hold of anything, and I fell to the floor in slow motion about a couple feet from the couch. I could not believe this. Somehow I crawled and inched over to my beloved couch. I was not going to let anyone catch me lying on the floor as I was still in denial. I clawed my way upon to my right side where I promptly vomited. Then lo and behold my daughter comes home, I garbled her name. She took one look at me and said mom you are having a stroke!! I stared at her like she was crazy! Me? No not me! Oh yes I forgot I peed on myself too. Will the humiliation never stop? She called the ambulance and I went
on a journey I will never forget. I would continue this story, but my back hurts. I'll be back soon. Until then God bless every one of you who had the strength to write. It helps to know we are not alone. Thank you.

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Deanna and Bella A True Bond

by Deanna
(Ellwood City, Pa)

I'm a 43 year old female RailRoad Conductor. On May 2nd, 2014 I had a massive stroke in my sleep. My dog Bella sensed it and saved my life by waking me up in time to call for help.I lost my peripheral vision from the stroke. I have trained Bella to help me do some fun eye exercises at home. My recovery and journey has made our bond to each other so much tighter. She is very spoiled and I am so grateful to have her in my life.

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Ross's Stroke Recovery

by ross
(Concord NSW Australia)

Hi, my name is Ross from Sydney Australia. On the 20th of Dec 2012, I admitted myself into Concord Hospital with cardiac pain . It turns out the scan showed two blocked arteries that required immediate bypass surgery. When they opened me up,there were five arteries blocked. The operation went well, but two days later I had a stroke, which made for a lousy Christmas. When I was first admitted to the hospital, I had my son take a photograph of me (just in case I didn't make it). Since then, I have continued to take photos and videos to keep track of my recovery and progress. This has been a good project and a morale booster, since I can look back and judge improvement. To date, Nov 2014 I have recorded 15 minutes of video with voiceover and keep adding to it every 5-6 months.

With regard to rehab, I don’t know if you have heard of it, but I tried BOWEN THERAPY. I tried it out with a lot of skepticism . Before starting the therapy, I had the usual, drooping mouth, unable to blink my right eye, couldn't wriggle ear, and speech was a bit slurred. After 24 hours of therapy, it had all cleared up. I was pleasantly surprised. It was not a miracle cure for everything, and it was a bit expensive at $100 a session, but along with physio it helped. Apparently it was developed by a sports physiotherapist,and I thought if they can get a football player back in the game after injuring a hamstring muscle, they must have some skills.


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Judy's Stroke Recovery

by Judy
(Arlington Heights, Illinois, U.S.A.)

I am a 75 year old woman, a former occupational therapist, and I have had 3 strokes. And boy, am I SICK AND TIRED of them! The first one happened on a beautiful early summer day, when my husband & I had been outside doing simple gardening. I came inside to get ready for lunch, bent over to put away a pot lid, and experienced a HUGE head rush! I managed to get to a chair, and YELLED for my husband, who came inside & called the paramedics. I was in the hospital for 5 days, and in the Alexian Brothers Rehab Hospital for 2 & 1/2 weeks. It was a brain stem stroke, and my balance was badly affected. It was a terrible struggle, and continues to this day. I continued with out-patient therapy for 6 months, and then,the very next month (December) I woke up one morning with a stroke in my right occipital lobe. This left me with no left-side peripheral vision. MORE outpatient therapy! I finished there, adapting as well as I could, and then, this May (on Mother's Day!) I woke with my entire left side numb & tingling! THIS time it was a Thalamus stroke. Balance & walking problems again. Back to a brief bit of therapy, again. Now I just do it on my own. I remain impaired,but, using my O.T. Education, I get along pretty well. My husband has been my 100 percent supporter and helpmate, thank God. I walk with a walker or a "Rollater", and can even get around in the house unaided, for a while anyway. It continues to be a struggle, and I get discouraged and depressed., but I keep on "keeping on".

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I Thought I Was Going To Lose My Husband, But God Said Different

by Chantell& Robert
(Baton Rouge, LA)

One day my husband came home from work. He was normal, took a shower, ate, and we sat on the sofa talking and smiling like we normally do on a daily basis. I decided we should go lay down because it had been a long stressful day for him at work. We laid down and started to cuddle, then all of a sudden he grabbed his head telling me that his head was hurting. I went to get a cold towel to place on his head. This had never happened to me. I was in total shock, but I still managed to do my best trying to figure out what was the problem. When I came back out of the bathroom from getting the towel, he was lying on the floor. Now I was like OMG! As I tried to lift him up, he was fading away. I knew I had to get help right away so I called 911, and the dispatch asked what was the problem, and I told them I really didn't know.

Once they arrived, he was already fading away slowly as I was praying that nothing major happened. Once we got in the ambulance, his pressure was 300/180, and his heart rate was 200. Then I knew things were very serious. On our way to the hospital, he was vomiting, and things were getting worse. They started IVs on him to try and lower his blood pressure.
They requested a CT and found bleeding on his brain. They told me that he had a really bad stroke. He had a tube placed down his throat to help him breath, and they placed a drainage tube in his head to relieve the pressure from his brain.

He has to learn how to walk, talk, and swallow again, but now he's doing better than he was. He's very alert now and understands me. Now we are just waiting on a bed at the rehabilitation center to come available then he will be transported there to finish recovering.

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Hang in there
by: Anonymous

My husband had a stroke over two years ago, he is still rehabilitating and making progress. They said he would be a vegetable - he walks, talks, swallows, no trach and had surgery to reconstruct that....etc.. I was told everything negative under the sun and kept on the medical community and the rehab center. He is home and is given a ride to therapy daily - three days pt/ot and two days speech. Make sure you track and or on top of your insurance company and what is being charged by all involved facilities. It is overwhelming, but, you would be surprised.

His stroke included a significant bleed on almost his whole brain and damage. For the first time, he wrote his name with his right hand a few months ago. Don`t stop and if the therapist has limited experience and capability, find another one that has experience. Do not select someone that timelines your husband - umm in two years, he is where he is at, we no longer can do anything - is hogwash. Everyone is different.
If the therapist is not encouraging the person and putting it all on the patient (why have them, right)then find another one.

I had a head therapist at a rehab facility telling me he may never walk and worked on him living in a wheelchair the rest of his life. They don`t know everything.

Also, even doctors do not know everything, since the one at the initial hospital told me to consider pulling his plug and there was a team agreeing with it. I am arranging in the next few months to have him walk in there, shake their hand with his recovering one and tell them "thank you."

On this planet it is all about insurance and money, however, you need to do your homework, surf the net, ask around and most of all, ask for help.

The social service personnel at the hospitals, sorry, but, making empty beds and moving the person on to facilities - they don`t care once your husband leaves. The first time, my husband almost died, just made it to the hospital, after being put in a neglectful and abusive facility. The second time, I refused to sign the paperwork, until I found and selected the facility for him. Know your advocate laws and hold the hospital responsible. Some social workers may care, I did not meet any through our journey to rehab centers.

Complaining after the fact to the state, let`s say, I had not heard from Maryland yet on anything submitted to them from me and my family - over two years. These businesses have loopholes and know some of the government personnel - ours actually worked in the hell facility, prior to moving on as an eldercare ombudsman job.

Stay on top of them all, ask your family to help, don`t do it alone and hang in there, you are not alone. There is hope and I truly believe in GOD.

Thank you
by: Anonymous

My mom just had a similar situation to your husband , and knowing that he is ok gives me hope for my mom as it has only been 1 week

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by Mary McCrohan


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Nancy's road to survival with Jesus help!

by nancy

Omg didn't see this coming! The aneurysm was in the brain, big as an egg,filled with blood clots, sitting on the cerebellum, first, coiled, then platinum wires, one of 7% of population. The internet referred to it as a chromosome from dutch heritage. I'm French, Dutch, Danish and Irish. Blood poured on left side - doc turned it off, caused left side stroke. I am a fighter and believe in God and am walking, talking,using all body parts and won't give up, you either!!!!

First time 2% survival, second they called in the family said not going to make it,look at me how!!!

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a bad headache
by: peter

I had reached the end of my long, 15 hour shift which I had done many times. I'm a hgv driver, truck-driver. I parked in this truck-stop for the night. Suddenly, I got this headache from hell!! I was sweating, I couldn't talk properly, and I collapsed when I tried to walk. I had no strength in my body whatsoever. I managed to scramble on my bed in the truck got some well earned sleep. I woke up in the morning. I still had a bad headache, couldn't walk in a straight line, and I couldn't talk properly. I carried on driving my truck. I made my delivery with dangerous chemicals in a tanker. The next night I got home, I still had this awful headache! My wife took me to the hospital, and I had a CT scan which revealed I had a bleed on the brain. I was hospitalized for 8 days and given paracetamol & codeine tablets 4 times a day. I was told by the driving agency that I couldn't drive my truck for at least 12 months. I was depressed. It was an aneurysm that had ruptured & burst on my brain. I made a good recovery, I've got my truck license back now, and I drive a truck for a living again. I'm not depressed anymore, and my headache went after 6 months. It was a horrible experience, but I'm ok now, thanks for listening.

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Deborah's story of being a stroke survivor or victim?

by Deborah Raber
(New Jersey)

Please visit me at:

As a stroke survivor, I am doing a research project that will examines the importance of rehabilitation process for stroke recovery. The
significance of this project is to: identifying the needs of a stroke survivors, change societal perceptions, discover solutions to improve the rehabilitation process, and locate the meaning of recovery.

Why I am doing this research project?

This project is important to me because I had a stroke at the age of 31 in 2001 and the idea of stroke survivor is still a new concept to me. I always thought of myself as a victim. A victim of circumstances, a victim of hereditary, a victim without a perpetrator except my own body.

The idea of "Survivor" never came in the picture, because then I would have to see myself as overcoming something I could not describe to anyone else, that did not share the experience of a stroke. Survivor meant I am seeking to recovery and have hope of one day being who I once was. Survivor seemed to be an impossibility to me, so I owned my victim status.

I was wrong.
I am a survivor because I had a stroke and I lived.
I am a survivor because I had a stroke and I get tell other people about my experience.
I am a survivor because had a stroke I still have hope to gain the things I lost.
I am a survivor because had a stroke I still have dreams.
I am a survivor because had a stroke I still can still learn.
I am a survivor because had a stroke I still love myself and others.

This research project is a way to come to terms with what I went through and define what "recovery" means to stroke survivors collectively.

Please read my story and participate in my survey or questionnaire if you want to. There are also links to online support groups.

Thank you.

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Joanna's stroke story


I had my stroke at 30 years old. All of the doctors were shocked to see a healthy 30 year old with no risk factors for stroke. I had just gone downstairs to make my two year old son a bottle of milk per our morning routine. I could see my hands, however, I was confused as to whose hands they were, as I could not feel my hands. Then I started drooling and knew that something was very wrong. I got to the ER and the cat scan showed a blood clot causing a large stroke. As it turned out the location of the stroke allowed me to be able to have movement, speech, etc., most of my deficits are sensory related i.e. pain sensitivity with touch and some disorientation and clumsiness. However, I feel very lucky to escape with these minor complaints. Of course, because my stroke occurred only 2 weeks ago, I am still adjusting to my new stroke ravaged brain. I am happy to be alive and to be able to see my son and kiss him and tell him I love him and feel him in my arms. I have a lot of anxiety because the doctors have not been able to find a cause for my blood clot. I did have a heart test that showed a PFO. I am now exploring options such as having this opening closed. The neuro told me that they do not recommend closures for PFO stating that it does nothing to improve my chances of not having another stroke. So I am left with taking an aspirin every day and lipitor and Pray. I know that worrying will not help me, but it scares me that a stroke could happen to me again. I have always taken care of my body eating healthy not drinking or doing drugs etc. I have been referred to a therapist to help deal with this oppressive anxiety.

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PFOs and stroke
by: Anonymous

I Had 2 strokes At age 39. No risk factors. A PFO was found but cardiologist deemed it unrelated. 2nd stroke 8 months later. Had 2nd cardiologist review the heart tests. He was positive that PFO was root cause and recommended closure which I did. Read up. National stroke association says now there is a link between stroke aand PFOs. There is a link.

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Morgane's stroke recovery!

by Morgane

I had been really sick for the whole month before my stroke; extremely high temps(104/105) spasms in my legs, and extreme headaches. I had been back and forth to the doctor and emergency rooms, tut no doctor could tell me why! They would give me antibiotics, but as soon as the meds were gone, the symptoms came right back. Finally, they admitted me to the hospital. All the tests they were running came back that I had a blood infection, but they kept telling me it must have been contaminated because I wasn't sick enough to have a blood infection. After a week in the hospital, they sent me home. And of course when the antibiotics got out of my system, the symptoms came back. I finally texted my sister and said if we didn't figure out what was wrong with me I was going to die! So she came and got me and took me back to the hospital I was released from! They gave me a shot of pain medicine which knocked me out! My sister was kind of worried because I was so out of it. The nurses needed a urine sample and came in trying to get one, but they couldn't wake me up, so they gave me medicine to wake me up, however, I couldn't use my left side. I couldn't have the medicine that could bust up the clot because they had done a spinal tap a few days earlier that hadn't healed all the way and it could make me bleed to death, and my sister couldn't make that choice. So they flew me to Little Rock UAMS. By the time my family got there, they were able to tell us what had been wrong the whole time I had endocarditis which is a piece of bacteria attached to my mitral valve and would throw a piece off when my heart would beat! So one month after having my stroke, I was having open heart surgery and put on restrictions which meant no therapy. I couldn't put weight or pressure on my chest so I stayed in the bed for close to six weeks!! My left leg is so tight, and my hand stays in a fist.

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Cherokee Stroke Women Survival

by Kimberely Smith

As of last year until October 3, 2014, I was previously a normal person until I decided to take a short nap in the daytime for a little while then wake up and head back to the library. I noticed the right side of my face felt funny like I really didn't know what was going. My hand I couldn't even get up and had no kind of feeling in my leg at I called 911 to take me straight to the hospital I lost all mobility in my leg.

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1 week after a mini stroke (TIA) 30YearsOld,Healthy Mom

(NJ. EeUu)

Today March 14th,2016
It was the first week of Feb 2016. It started with headaches and neck pain...I thought it was stress. On Weds,March 3rd,my heart beat started to sounds abnormal, I was feeling tired, and that night I got dizzy with blurry vision. However,I thought it was normal. I had 3 jobs, I have 1 kid, I work, I was finishing my business certification. On Thursday I was feeling exhausted. I called to work, and I postponed a project for Friday! On Friday my headache was horrible! I called my Dr. They scheduled me for the following Weds. On Saturday as soon I woke up headache was so brutal that I couldn't even open my eyes and walk. That day I sent my boyfriend to the pharmacy to try different pills for strong headache. I took it didn't provide relief. My boyfriend took me to the hospital, and a CT showed I was having a mini stroke, dissection of both vertebral arteries, and they put me on blood thinner. I was sent to a neurological hospital in ambulance..I stayed there for 3 days. Symptoms didn't develop. Thank God!

Now,there is 10 days later,it didn't affect me physically or mentally. However, I'm still having neck pain and slightly headache.
I'm 30 years old, healthy, not a smoker, never drank, rarely took medicine...Drs still don't know what caused my stroke, but I have concerns regarding birth control pills I used for many years. Thanks for reading my story.

Comment from Vertebral artery dissections can be caused by injury to the neck. Sometimes these injuries aren't so obvious and can involve things like having a chiropractor adjust your neck, riding amusement park rides, sudden neck movements such as those caused in car accidents, and even leaning the head back at a salon for washing the hair (though this last one would usually happen to older more frail individuals). Many people are not aware of the dangers of vertebral artery dissections so if you have participated in anything that has recently involved jarring or manipulation of the neck, and you begin to get a severe headache or neck pain, get to a doctor or ER immediately.

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Never A Noun

George was 50 when he had his first stroke. None of the risk factors in the long list fit him. He was fortunate to be taken to a hospital that had TPA as a protocol for ischemic strokes. George survived the left brain stroke and learned to speak again. Those first weeks and months were a challenge because he couldn't share what he couldn't share. It was thrilling to hear him finally call out my name.

A chaplain and minister, people called him from across this nation to hear his laughter and to gain his counsel. He regained his speech and was as articulate as he had always been. The encourager. He returned to active duty in the Navy as a chaplain, preaching, teaching, and counseling and was physically fit as ever. He took Plavix and a baby aspirin. Then one early December morning in 2002, he couldn't keep his balance while dressing, his responses became gibberish, and we rushed to the hospital. The neurologist and hospital we went to in our new hometown didn't have the TPA protocol and the neurologist on duty thought he was just having a seizure...but he wasn't. He left the hospital in a week, just like the first time, but without any nouns and as time has passed, a marked slowing of his gait, and a need for many hours of sleep or naps.

The connections in his brain that connect nouns to meaning have been permanently disrupted. He can no longer preach, teach, drive a car, or comprehend consistently the content of conversations. We spend hours figuring out what the subject of the sentence is. Life is an adventure. I praise God that George is still an encourager.

Disability is a familiar word with new depth of meaning for him and for us. Remember that life is a precious journey and give your stroke victim as much freedom as you can. We sometimes just get in the car and I just follow hand signals ....we can always turn around if I haven't understood correctly. Laughter is a precious gift to give each other. Don't worry about the future hurdles, there are enough in the day you are living. Smile a lot and pray even more.

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David's stroke experience

by David
(Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

When I was six weeks of age I had a stroke. I have hemiplegia of my right hand side. I am now an adult, and had physio therapy as a child, but not the kind to loosen or strengthen, or get proper use of my right hand side. Because of this when I try to stretch my muscles on my right hand side they all are fighting with one another. When I try to stretch all the muscles on my right hand side the muscles cramp up and it feels like a charlie horse whether it's in my leg, arm, fingers.... the main thing is though I have learned to modify on how to do mostly everything that I do.

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