Submissions from Readers
Angels on the ride home.
I did not know I was having a light stroke. I thought I was having a migraine headache. I did however take two aspirins for the migraine. This was at 9am. Then I went to work as a punch press operator knowing I was not feeling just right. I had a severe headache, eyes sensitive and ears sensitive. I was useless at my job, but no one noticed and I just wanted to stay my shift so I did not have to use a sick day, so I thought I would stay home the next day and rest or see a doctor.
It was dark driving home but I could see the right side of the road alright. Just needed to get home, feed my horse ,let the dog out and get in bed. I live 8 miles from work, not a busy two lane highway, but I had suffered a right lower brain stroke and I needed to turn left for my turn and guess what, my vision to the left was impaired and I could not see my turn. It was dark, no traffic and I was lost, somewhere only a couple of miles from home. I panicked, I cried and had no idea what was wrong. I had a car phone but could not read the numbers or even see to hit the phone button. I had to think - there was no way to get help. Ok, I could see to the right,so I started driving again. One mile east and I saw flashing yellow light hanging above the middle of the road. I knew where I was, I had to turn around and go back west to find my turn. I turned around in the intersection and I once again could see to the right and I crosses a bridge and drove 1/8 of a mile and there was my turn. I turned right onto my road, and turned right into my driveway. I was home. So relieved but still had no idea what was wrong.
I fed my horse, let my dog out, fed the cats, took two more aspirin and went to bed. The next morning I did my chores, but not feeling right I was going to call my son and the numbers on the phone all ran together and I could not remember his work number. I pressed numbers and got his place of business. I am not sure, it seems impossible. He came right away took me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a small right sided stroke.
It has been four weeks. My vision is good, and I can get around with a walking stick really well. I do have left hand coordination small issues, I am off balance to the left and sometimes I want to tip over back wards. I am getting therapy and hope in four more weeks will see a great improvement. I do not remember any coordination problem right after the stroke or no one said anything to me. The body copes very well and can hide issues. I think I only have psychological issues of driving home that night , and the fear of driving again. I know I will drive again. I will just rest, do exercise and enjoy life. Thank you for reading this.
Chrissie's stroke story(recovery)
by Christine Eliszabeth Eross
I had my first stroke at 52 years old it left me with my left hand clenched tightly all the time, I have had Botox to help my hand but it has not helped much. I then went on to have another 6 strokes with the last one in 2010, it was a big one I have had to learn to walk again 3 times.It was a very scary time, and I didn't know if I ever was going to be able to walk again.I hate not be able to use my left hand I'm lucky that I'm right - handed. When I had my last stroke I was in hospital when I had it. I was sitting on my bed and the next thing I remember is falling over on to the floor. It is hard to believe all my strokes come from my rheumatoid arthritis. I am still recovering from my strokes, and it is very hard to pick yourself up and keep going.
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Jen's lifetime stroke recovery
(west palm beach, fl USA)
Hello! I call this piece Jens lifetime stroke recovery because I look at my rehabilitation as a long term project. It is something I work on everyday because I do see improvements every day.
I consider my stroke experiences as almost unbelievable...unbelievable as to what happened, and unbelievable I survived. Ever since I was a very little girl I was taught the healthier you are, the less likely there is something, such as a stroke, that will happen to you. On that note, I decided to always keep fit and eat nutritiously. I was very active from birth until the age of 9, where I became a gymnast. I became so good at that, I began training every single day and I would travel to different competitions until I became elite and was good enough for the Olympics by only age 11. I was a natural at it. At age 12, I also began working out with weights at gyms. I loved working out so I began doing that every day. As an adult I became very serious about being lean and getting ripped. I trained at the gym everyday, and some days twice a day. At age 29 I contracted a bacteria that got inside my bloodstream and that spread septis causing me to have more than 16 strokes, 4 aneurysms, encephalitis, meningitis, and endocarditis. Mind you my immune system was extremely healthy that I NEVER get sick. Well let me tell you this was the mother-load of illness. Because this bacteria was septic inside my bloodstream, it spread to my brain blocking my arteries causing more than 16 strokes as well as aneurysms. From this I was left paralyzed. I also required 2 brain surgeries to drain excess fluid in the brain. A shunt was placed behind my ear to drain any excess buildup of fluid.
Doctors told my family I would never walk or talk again and that Id be a vegetable for life so put her into a long term home facility. The doctors guestimated Id get maybe 60|% use of my body back. It was extremely depressing to hear that. And, because they didn't have much hope for me left, I decided to prove to these doctors that I am an exception to the rule. I am a special case. Don't be negative to myself or my family. I was brought to a nursing home after an extended period of time at the hospital. I was ignored and left for dead by these care facility staff. Once I was able to leave there in a wheelchair, I was able to stay with my father. One thing from my gymnast days I did acquire was being determined. So, after my strokes that happened, one after the next, I became extremely determined to try to rehabilitate myself from full paralysis. What a project this was going to be. I was still so young with my whole life ahead of me. I wasn't married yet nor had I had children yet. Those are things in life that I still desired. One day I was left home alone while my dad had to go to work. I had to use the bathroom. I had no way I could wheel myself in the bathroom. At this point, I had gotten use of my left arm and left leg back. So, I threw myself on the floor and army crawled there. I then told myself If I could do that, maybe I can get more use of my body back by forcing it. Day after day I worked on using my body parts until I no longer needed a chair. From this point, I missed the old days. I wanted to run again. I saw physical therapist after physical therapist, some of the best there are where I live. The therapists and doctors told me I'd NEVER run again. I was extremely sad. One day I was asked by a stranger if I had had a stroke? The stranger said I know an excellent therapist you could go see. I was hesitant due to all the negativity that flowed between these therapists. I gave it a shot...what did I have to lose but time? So, I went to see this therapist. He was not only a therapist, but a doctor of physical therapy. Hes a super-smart person. I began seeing this doctor. This was my smartest decision I have made since I had my strokes. I asked him if I could ever run again. He looked at the way I walked. My knee hyper-extended now, I had foot drop, I walked now with a limp. He said absolutely. This doctor is amazing. Thanks to him, I now have a walk where nobody can tell I had a stroke, let alone 16. This doctor got me running again. I still have a few handicaps but I was one happy person, after being totally paralyzed to running again!!!! We have to force ourselves to use all of our body parts, even the areas that are extremely hard to move, in order to rehabilitate as well as you possibly can.
I was not the only person that was affected by this certain bacteria. Two other females from the gym I went to also contracted this bacteria. They also had strokes. One female was only 24, the other was 39. They are still wheelchair bound to this day. Its an unfortunate event. I wouldn't wish a stroke on anybody. What a horrific ordeal to have to go through. I lost all of my friends because I went from super-fit and energetic to quasi-modo leg braced limpy gimpy person that could no longer walk so well. Nobody can handle seeing that. After having had a stroke, I realized I needed more help from people than Ive ever needed in my life. At that time nobody seemed there for me. I felt alone in the world. I was hard on myself. The world became a sad and scary place with no one to turn to.
Having had all of these strokes brought on a ton of challenges for myself, I spent so much time trying to rehab my physical self. I should have been spending time rehabilitating my mental and emotional self. I was overwhelmed. Just me rehabilitating myself was so difficult. I didn't know how to re-path, rewire my brain. What if I do something wrong? Afterall, isn't the brain a really important and crucial organ to work with? When I began brain rehabilitation, I realized I had a heck of a lot wrong with me now mentally. I had more behavioral problems than you can imagine. These problems were extremely frustrating and it caused me many super-embarassing public episodes. Also, I lost my hearing in one ear which caused a lot of problems between my boyfriend and myself. I have a long, lifetime journey ahead to constantly and consistently improve my physical and mental health. I do with I had experienced doctors to guide me through my mental health conditions. I am very willing to work on myself, I just would like the proper tools.
by Laura Ann Garren
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
(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.
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?
My Husband. My Hero... Frank & Elia's Life After Stroke
(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.
Len's Stroke Recovery
by Leonard DeSalvo
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.
Becky's Recovery After AVM Stroke
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.
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 :)
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 www.astrokeofluck.net.
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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.
TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST – TOUGH PEOPLE DO
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
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.
Gerald L. Finch, Ph.D.
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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.
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.
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 stroke-rehab.com: 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 ...man 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 shoulder.....my 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 ..it'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 is..how 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.
If you have any questions you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
6 mo. After the stroke, numbness and tingling in my hand and leg....
(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!
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.
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
BE STRONG FOR YOURSELF
ACCEPT THE STROKE as NO: 1 PRIORITY
Be RELAXED, CALM & be in a GOOD PLACE in MIND & SPIRIT
Be INSPIRED by others GIVING TO LIFE
Be PERSISTENT, PERSEVERE & PATIENT
Read SCRIPTURES or DAILY PRAYER
( Either WALK or EXERCISE - land or pool regularly on alternate days )
Respond with KINDNESS & GENEROSITY
Right ATTITUDE with POSITIVE THOUGHTS
REST & LISTEN TO BODY FOR COMFORT
Be Pro Active in your BELIEFS
NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP
Its ONLY a HICCUP - RELAX
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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
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 up...now 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 me...so 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.
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Mario, a young stroke hero
by Francesca fedeli
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My Stroke Improvement
by navnath shrikhande
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.
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
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 lumosity.com, 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
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
(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
(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
(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.
by Mary McCrohan
I HAD A STOKE ON 08/13/2015 @ 57 YRS. OLD, IN MY SLEEP. TRYING TO GET BACK TO NORMAL AFTER BEING IN HOSP. & REHAB.
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Nancy's road to survival with Jesus help!
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!!!
Deborah's story of being a stroke survivor or victim?
by Deborah Raber
Please visit me at: http://stroke.zohosites.com/
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.
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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.
Morgane's stroke recovery!
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 all...so 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
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 ...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 Stroke-rehab.com 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
(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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Bhaskar's stroke recovery
by Bhaskar Vezhavendhan
(Chennsi, TN, India)
Hi there, this is Bhaskar here and I am from Chennai, India and I had a stroke and survived on Jan 16, 2016. I was in the hospital until 28th Jan. I couldn't walk, raise my right hand and my speech also was gone. But I didn't want to give up. On 3rd Feb, I started my first foot to walk and that goes on by on.
I've gone to Andhra pradesh, palamanir for 45days in total. I need to be on diet for 45 days. That had brought me some positive results where I was able to speak my first word.
Since then, I've doing my physio exercise in home with the physiotherapist till June 2016. Later on I did it myself ie., DIY.
Now, it is 2018. I am still doing my exercise myself and now I can talk, walk and write some words for sometime...
Never ever give up!!!!!!
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Right foot pain.
I suffered a Hemmorragic stroke almost 2 years ago. I feel very blessed and fortunate that I recovered well but still experience pain in my right foot. I feel like I’m walking on pins and needles which is very uncomfortable. I still walk with a limp and my doctor doesn’t know when or how long this pain will continue. I’ve been looking into some exercises that may help ease the pain but if anybody can offer suggestions it would be greatly appreciated. God bless u all!
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Steve's Stroke Story
by Steve Taucci
(Ephrata PA USA)
I first noticed my legs got real weak, then while I was at work I dropped two plastic containers then I dropped my chef's knife, so I just thought I was tired. I went home and dropped a can of soup twice then tried to write a check for the rent and had a hard time with that too, so I went to bed. The next morning when I went to get up my right arm and leg did not function. I am right handed to so that made matters worse. I had trouble dialing 911. I am 60 yrs old this happened on May 10, 2017, and I am still having trouble walking.
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Agus's VAD and stroke update
Update after 18 months vertebral artery dissection and cerebellar stroke
(44 years old, Male)
After 18 months of my vertebral artery dissection and cerebellar stroke I'm feeling very well, just some dizziness if I sleep less than 8 hours for 5 days in a row or if I over exercise. My artery didn't heal because I was diagnosed 2 months after the first symptom, and I didn't take aspirin during this time except for the first 5 days when I felt a strange and new pain in the lower back side of my head. Now, I try to sleep 7-8 hours from Monday to Thursday but it is not
easy when I get up early to work, then I sleep on the Friday evening about 4 hours (a long nap) and 9-10 hours at night. My fitness training is now Pilates 2 days/week and some spinning (around 25 min/week) under 80% of my max. heart rate.
The good news is that I'm able to do a short hike in the mountains even at very steep paths. I've been traveling by plane, visiting cities and noisy places. I still feel a little confused when walking in mall corridors or brightly lit rooms where the vertigo triggers are always present (a lot of light and noise).
My conclusion is that it is very important to rest as much as possible and to move the head slowly to avoid sickness and nausea,
but the tangible improvement is real even 18 months later. I hope it will be a huge encouragement for everyone.
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Marys Recovery from two Strokes and Two bouts of cancer
by Mary A,
I had a hemorraghic stroke on the left side of my body. I also was diagnosed with skin cancer, both carcinoma and a melanoma. I was on copious amounts of medication but the medications were making it so I wasn't able to walk and was gaining weight. I ballooned up to 200 pounds. After rehabilitation, I weaned myself off all the chemicals and started to take holistic medication. I did by trial and error and have been able to begin doing yoga and regain my balance. I work out for almost two hours a day and have lost thirty pounds and am continuing to lose. I sleep eight hours a night exactly and wake up exactly after eight hours. I do have a issue with the soles of my feet getting red after I have been on my feet for a long time. I decided to turn away from the mainstream, as I don't believe that high blood pressure is a disease. I do however believe that it is a symptom of something taking place in my body and it is my body's response to an issue taking place. I am slowly ruling out things, such as orthostatic intolerance, and adrenal fatigue, and elevated levels of alderstone, of which I wasnt even made aware that it was a stress horomone until I started asking questions and researching. I am now checking out whether it may be from my thyroid. As I do not have a family doctor, I am doing this by myself. I would love to discuss it with someone who is going through a similar situation. Feel free to drop by and tell me your story too, Mary
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Rushita' Stroke story
by Rushita Goti
(London, ON, Ca)
1 year ago, I woke up and went to a bathroom. I realized that I had a severe headache but I had an exam so I went for an exam. At that time, I felt that I could see a black spot in my visual field. It happened before whenever I got a headache, so I thought it was the same but when I sat in front of the computer, I had lost vision in the central part of my left eye. I completed the exam in 1 hour instead of 3 hours. I came home and slept because I thought that it happened due to lack of sleep. When I woke up after 2 hours of sleep, still the same. I told my friend about my condition and she told me that because of sleep it had happened. The next day, I woke up with the same condition then we went to see the doctor. The doctor referred to an ophthalmologist. I did so many tests but nothing changed in my vision. I was so stressed because of this incidence. Furthermore, I was living far from my family in another country. I took days off from my work but I realized that this is a permanent gift from god. I could not stop working, I started working. In the initial stage, I could not measure the height between two things now I have become used to that.
Sometimes I make a mistake, nobody knows what it is because of this condition and I am living a normal life.
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Find a good neurologist
(Grover Beach, CA. USA)
Its important that you find a Neurologist you can communicate with. The Dr. we had after my Husbands stroke was very hard to talk to so we went elsewhere.Glad we did as the first Dr. went out of business shortly after we stopped seeing him.Theres alot of good Doctors so dont settle for one you dont feel comfortable with AND always research drugs before you take them in case you experience a side effect, then you will recognize it. Remember this is about the person with the stroke and not you. Get your emotional support elsewhere.
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Steve Lamontagne Recovery
by Steve Lamontagne
(Dale Texas USA)
Back in February 2019, my daughter and my wife urge to have my testing done. After red flags the Doctor urged that I should go to Kyle Hospital for testing, so I was to stay the night and make sure all the tests were sufficient. I was just carrying on like normal when it hit me. My wife was screaming to get a Dr and I don’t remember much. There were about 20 nurses and Drs trying to get a helicopter flight to Austin. After 3 hrs the clot in my brain was relieved.
It’s almost been a year and I’m still taking speech therapy but I’m getting better.
I can’t express my Love for God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit.This is my own personal miracle.
I would like to share my experience with anyone and tell that God is real.
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36 healthy and on a plane
by Damon Ash
We were leaving New Jersey, me my wife and at the time my 2 1/2 year old boy. I hate flying and remember being a little stressed out. My son was being a little wild and I was putting his special belt on as we where told we need to have it in order for him to fly which they did not even check go figure! The plane took off and I remember taking as we were going up the left side of my face started to tingle a little bit. The next thing I felt was nothing - the left side of my face went numb. I Looked at my wife and said does my face look weird?. I don't think she was taking me seriously as most of her attention was taking care of our son. I took my phone out looked at my face and was like omg my left side is limp my eye lid mouth and face was just hanging there. I did not know what to do so I took one of my anxiety pills and took some deep and calming breaths and just closed my eyes and sat back in my seat hoping by just relaxing it would go away. After about 7 or 8 min I opened my eye lol the only one that worked it was still there. As I went to tell the flight attendant she didn't hear me because we where in the back of the plane. I put my head back again and was trying to feel my face all of a sudden it was coming back and it did...after the flight we went home and went to sleep. The next day I was feeling fine and never dealt with it. A couple of years went by know and I just told my doctor. I started losing losing feeling in my arms about six months ago and told my doctor in Orlando, FL. He sent me to a hand and arm surgeon. He gave me cortisone injections in both wrists after that it took a couple weeks and my arms didn't fall asleep anymore...I could use some advise on what yall think. I have a 4 year old that needs me. I dont want to die.
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Debby's nightmare post stroke
by Debby Correa
(Leland N.C. USA)
I suffered a bad stroke in 1975. I recovered but was left with receptive aphasia. I moved to N.C. in 2017 and I am treated terribly and bullied. I need an advocate and don't know how to get someone to help me. PLEASE HELP
For Brunswick County North Carolina:
ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES
Adult Protective Services (APS) are provided to disabled adults, 18 years of age or older who are alleged to be abused, neglected, or exploited and in need of protection. APS Social Workers receive reports, evaluates the need for protection, and provides intervention when needed. To report suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a disabled adult call 910-253-2077 or 910-253-2415. To make reports on weekends, holidays, or after-hours call 911 or 910-253-7490 and ask to speak to the on-call social worker.
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Wife's stroke recovery
(Agate Colorado USA)
Remove ALL throw rugs. Shuffling feet are common and so is a fall from a rug. Each time this happened it was always a head injury which pushed back any gains to the beginning of recovery.
Attempt to bring to light paying attention to the feet always ends up in a argument.
My question, who to turn to when the victim completely gives up?
I.E. stays in bed until afternoon, refuses any form of exercise, refuses to get off the couch?
Sitting or sleeping all day is causing loss of leg strength, any attempt to motivate her always ends up in another fight.
Tried outpatient physical therapy of 4 flavors and ended each due to lack of interest.
It's almost like she's enjoying having a caregiver at her beckon?
Considering therapy for me, not her.
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