Sunday, October 26, 2014

September/October Camp Newsletter

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp
September/October 2014 Newsletter 

The mission of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp is to improve the quality of life for stroke survivors, caregivers, and families. This is accomplished through weekend retreats, as well as community stroke education and awareness events for the public.

From the Director's Corner 
Well, we have moved into our new office! Photos will be available in the newsletter link when it is added to our website   Click on the Media/News button and look for Newsletter in green type at the bottom. Keep in mind we're still a work in progress, but having everything under one roof is amazing. We have two large rooms that have been designated storage rooms. One is for long term storage (all those themed items and leftover crafts from the past several years) along with our logo-ware and adaptive bath items. The other storage room has our typical office supplies and such along with the things we will use for each camp season. It is a room where we can unload, restock, and get ready to reload for the next camp. 

Both rooms will get a face-lift during the off-season, which is getting shorter and shorter each year. We also have Lauren's open space office out front. There are three more private offices where Larry and I have chosen ours, and one additional office space that hasn't been identified yet. The suite wraps up with the huge room for our Chimers to rehearse as well as a place for our Board of Directors meetings. There's also a nice open space with a table and chairs for small meetings, lunch, etc. We have a little kitchen area and handicap restroom within the suite, as well. Outside there is a flat parking lot where we can pull up the van and trailer for loading with space to the back of the lot for long-term parking of those vehicles. (Mod Note: A flat parking lot is nice because now we can pull the trailer up to the door of the office without using a vehicle when it needs to be loaded. We don't need to hook it up to a vehicle to move it.)

While Lauren and I will take out the trash and such, I've designated John as our official custodian for the harder jobs. He loves to vacuum and clean things and will keep the space in top shape. So, thanks everyone for your support in helping make this happen. It took us a while but it is so worth the wait.
from the desk of Marylee Nunley Executive Director

Stroke Camp Cruise
Well we are getting some good results with reservations for our upcoming cruise that sails February 21st, 2015 from Port Canaveral Florida.  We will make stops in Cozumel Mexico and Nassau Bahamas before returning to Florida. The ship will dock at both stops which make it convenient for getting wheelchairs from the ship onto land. 

Thought I'd take just a bit of space to elaborate. Unlike camp, I won't be "in charge" of entertainment, activities and such on the cruise. The cruise line has that down to a science with lots of activities to enjoy on board, and optional tours on land. What John and I will be doing is relaxing and enjoying five days with some of the greatest people I've ever known. Three years ago we had about 60 people join us and we expect to exceed that this year. 

Our group will be seated together for dinner each night so we will have a chance to enjoy each other's company in the comfort of those who know and understand some of our challenges. We will enjoy the shows, activities, crafts, shopping and games that are available on board. Everything is optional, so if relaxing is your thing, that will be available, too. 

This cruise is not just for survivors and caregivers or folks who have been to stroke camp. It is for anyone interested in joining us. So, if you'd like to bring family or friends, feel free to join us for a great time. Johanna McCarty, a stroke camp volunteer, is handling the reservations and any questions you might have. She's a retired travel agent and helping us out so that we can cruise again. The flyer with dates and cost is posted on our website at (click on box with the picture of the boat bow to the right of the screen and below our advertisement for the "Now What?" DVD) or contact Johanna for more information at 217-246-2847. 

Strike Out Stroke(tm)
It has been a wonderful season for Strike Out Stroke(tm), kicking off May 4th with the Atlanta Braves and culminated September 10th with the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting 70 major league baseball games and several minor league games in between 

Our Strike Out Stroke(tm) staff has had the pleasure working side by side with Stroke Coordinators, Genentech representatives, stroke survivor groups, and community leaders while planning and executing all 19 different Major League Baseball Events across the country making this our biggest Strike Out Stroke(tm) season to date! 

It is always a humbling experience to witness the passion, care, and concern the caregivers and volunteers show to the stroke survivors. It is even more humbling and incredibly inspiring to meet and witness the strength, courage and progress from year to year of the stroke survivors. They are always willing to volunteer, greet the public and share their stories with grace, poise and energy. The Strike Out Stroke(tm) events would not be the same without our stroke survivor volunteers. They are the real heroes of Strike Out Stroke(tm).  It is for those survivors we are committed to continue the effort to create awareness nationwide and spread the F.A.S.T. message. We know that if we can educate more people to know the signs we will SAVE lives. We are all "first responders" when it comes to knowing the signs of stroke.

Would You Recognize a Stroke 
If You Saw One?
Learn the meaning of F.A.S.T.

 Survivor Spotlight 
David Loger had his stroke in December 2012. Prior to his stroke, he was on the Volunteer Hennepin Fire and Rescue Department for 21 years, and on the Volunteer Putnam County Ambulance as an EMT for 22 years. Since his stroke, he continues to attend the monthly meeting with the other volunteers of the fire department.

In July of 2014 David received the Larry Wilt Citizen of the Year Award, which is an award that is given to a person from Hennepin, Illinois in appreciation for his continuing civic service and for making Hennepin a better place to live. David has always been one of those people who does all that he can to help others.

While serving on the volunteer fire department / ambulance, he was also working full time at a wastewater treatment plant. Even when he was volunteering on the night shift, he would respond for a fire, ambulance call, accident, or to someone's home to help them, and went to his full time job with little to no sleep. Neighbors would frequently call him at all hours and ask for his advice and assistance.

David has come a long way since his stroke almost two years ago. He is still receiving physical therapy and working hard to someday walk without a cane. He has been walking primarily without a wheelchair for about a year. He looks forward to continued improvement and his message for other stroke survivors is: "Don't Give Up!"
 Do you know a stroke survivor or caregiver who should be featured in our next newsletter?
email: or call 866-688-5450.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp at Oregon, IL

One of the camps I attended this year was near Oregon, Illinois at the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center. This is a large facility with very nice motel style accommodations. It even has a zip line but we didn't get a chance to try that.

This camp was sponsored by: OSF St. Anthony Medical Center, Rockford Health Systems, Swedish American Health System and Van Matre Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital.

I'm including a few pictures here to give you an idea of what we do.

This is a group picture of the stroke survivors, caregivers and volunteers who attended the camp.


Kyle and Lindsey Wilhelm were our co-directors this year.

And Stephanie Super was our Music Therapist.

Karrie, one of our volunteers, is showing off our camp welcome banner.

This is one of the lodge's out-buildings that housed some of our camp attendees and also served as one of our meeting places and one of our craft centers.

This year we celebrated our 10th anniversary of conducting camps throughout the country. We started in Lewistown, Illinois with one in 2004 and have since grown to 20. Next year we are expecting to have 25 camps. 

We conducted camps in: Monticello, Iowa; Prescott, Arizona; Princeton, Illinois; Woodland Park, Colorado; Ridgecrest, North Carolina; Red Lodge, Montana; Merkel, Texas; Long Valley, New Jersey; Crandall, Georgia; Ashland, Nebraska; Allens Park, Colorado; Elmhurst, Illinois; Green Lake, Wisconsin; and Lewistown, Illinois.

We do skits.

And play games.

We do crafts.

These are called Touch Paintings. The idea is to put on paper what you are feeling inside of you, and the survivors can turn out some pretty interesting art with only using their one good hand.

These are coffee cups that you draw on and then take home to bake-in the design.
Then there is the pampering...get your nails done, a massage,

How about a manicure?

Ok guys we also do some fishing. This is Randy, a recent survivor, and he knows fishing.

Maybe you just want some alone time to relax or perhaps some time to chat with new friends.

This year our theme was American Bandstand. Everyone enjoyed this. We dressed as car hops and served dinner 50's style.

Even "Dick Clark" and his studio hands were there to emcee the show.

And how about a bubble gum blowing contest.

Well that pretty much wraps up a perfect weekend.

If you think you'd be interested in volunteering to help at a camp next year or want to attend as a stroke survivor and caregiver, drop us an email at or go to our web site: for more information.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I Know The Love Is There

The following news article is about a wonderful and very loving couple who attended our Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp near Lincoln, Nebraska, September 26-28, 2014. I got to talk with them and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with them for three days at camp. The photos are mine taken at camp. 

by: Sarah Plake, news reporter and anchor for WIBW Topeka, Kansas

Steve an Liz Andersen
TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) -- Through thick and thin, in sickness and in health -- Vows couples are supposed to remember when the unexpected happens.

After one Topeka couple suffered through a stroke, they still keep those vows. It is a love that has withstood all.

"It was a wonderful day. A wonderful day."

As he hold's his wife's hand, Steve Andersen thinks back on their wedding day 13 years ago. It was in June, it was 72 degrees, and perfect.

Their marriage has remained that way throughout their many adventures. Auctioneering, boating, taking their RV across the country, and lots of love and laughter along the way.

"We just had the fun of our life."

In 2010, the life they knew changed.

"We were camping all week, we came home, and she had the stroke," Steve said.

Liz agrees next to him and in mumbled speech says, "It was awful."

Steve nods his head. "Yeah."

It was a severe stroke that almost took her. Not just that, but she suffered a brain bleed as well. It didn't look too good.

"They just told me, she's not going to survive this, you need to go home and start planning the funeral. And later on I found out she died twice on the table," Steve said.

But, Liz fought to live.

The four years of hospital stays, rehab, a move to Topeka and definite ups and downs have not been easy.

"My wife was not the same person I knew."

But, because of his constant care around the clock and being around her kids, Steve says the sassy woman he fell in love with is starting to shine through.

And she is still good on the drums.

"The results I see in her, her attitude, her zest for life, she's got her sense of humor back, she's got hope. She's just doing so much better."

She moves a little slower now, but it's still Liz. Right down to her fingernails.

Steve holds up her purple painted fingers.

"Just to make sure she was the way she was before the stroke. She always liked her nails pretty."

He said she always wore fake nails, and made sure she had them at the bedside. When one would pop off, he'd stick another one back on. Now he paints them for her. He files them, buffs them and paints them.

"Her toenails match her fingernails too. She loves her hair, loves makeup, she loves looking pretty. I try to duplicate that now. I'm not quite good at it, but I'm trying. Makeup is next."

Liz getting made up by Deniece, a Physical Therapist
and camp volunteer. I hope Steve was taking notes.

Liz said jokingly he's not sure if he can do it. But he'll certainly give it all he's got.

Liz said it's a little "different" that Steve has to take care of her in every aspect of her life, even the more personal tasks. But it makes her feel good.

"I know the love is there," she said.

It's a love story in its truest form.

"To the moon and back. Times..? Times?" Steve says to Liz, trying to prompt a saying they share.

Liz says, "Ten."

"Infinity!" Steve reminds her. "I love her to the moon and back. She's my best friend, she's everything to me. I wouldn't change it for the world. Right? Would you change it for the world?"

Liz shakes her head.

"I wouldn't either."

Proof she can still dance.

Liz's recent accomplishments are being able to walk 900 feet with her walker. Her biggest fear however is falling because her balance is not quite where they want it to be yet. Steve said she's starting water therapy.

She and Steve still go on adventures like they used to and are thinking about buying another RV. He'll have to make sure it's wheelchair accessible of course.

Since moving to Topeka, they've joined a stroke survivor group, and said he wants to get the message out there about what it's like surviving a stroke and his role as a caregiver.

Go here to see their WIBW video interview:


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Uncontrollable Laughter or Crying from Stroke Survivors

This article by David Wasielewski was posted in the September StrokeNet Newsletter the same time as Walt Kilcullen's article on "Dealing with Five Disabilities After Stroke" article in July 2014.

The StrokeNet site is an excellent source of information. 

Go to:

To contact David email to:


By David Wasielewski

Pseudo Bulbar Affect Disorder and Stroke Survivors

Many stroke survivors deal with the obvious challenges that stroke presents. Loosing physical use of one or more body parts, the ability to speak and or understand language. These losses are all readily apparent to caregivers and social contacts. But there are also a number of less obvious challenges that confront some survivors. One of those is Pseudo Bulbar Affect Disorder (PBA).

The symptoms of PBA are inappropriate outward or physical responses to emotions that the individual experiences. An affect is the physical manifestation of an emotion. The error in the affect defines the disorder. PBA has a range of effects and each survivor has their own experience. In its most severe case the survivor will display an affect that is opposite of the emotion experienced. A person hearing a funny joke may begin to cry, or a death in the family will bring the survivor to a hearty laugh.

In other cases the physical display varies in degree to what is appropriate or normal. The accidental breaking of a dinner plate might cause the survivor to cry uncontrollably or a slightly funny comment might cause prolonged loud laughter. The degree of the response is not appropriate. There is no difference between being slightly sad and uncontrollable crying. The response is always extreme. The inability to manage one’s emotional responses in day to day activities can be quite challenging for the survivor.

Not knowing what may cause an outbreak of crying or laughter may cause the survivor to isolate themselves to avoid embarrassment. In some extreme cases the survivor might even lack the personal insight to recognize that this is happening. It is also uncomfortable for caregivers and other social contacts. Others who do not fully understand the situation will tend to avoid the survivor in order to eliminate the uncomfortable situations. There is the perception that the survivor is mentally unbalanced. In any case, this invisible disability tends to isolate the survivor and make care and support more difficult than it already is.

I was stunned when I initially experienced this disorder. When I woke up in the hospital after my stroke I found myself crying uncontrollably when speaking to my family. As I expressed my concerns to the nurse she carefully explained that the overly emotional response was a result of the stroke. While this explained why I was so emotional she offered no advice as to how I might deal with the condition. I needed to develop some strategies on my own.

Over time (years) I have learned how to partially manage my reactions to events. If I’m aware that my emotional responses might be inappropriate in certain situations I will simply withdraw. I find myself leaving funerals when overcome. I often avoid telling funny stories or jokes as my laughter prevents me from completing the tale. If a situation is unavoidable I will try to explain the condition so others can understand.

The condition is particularly frustrating when I am involved in serious discussions. In situations where I should be mildly angry or upset my body reacts with laughter. This makes such discussions difficult for me, the person I’m dealing with and continuing on almost impossible. Often I need to withdraw instead of continuing on, leaving the topic unresolved.

So what is the survivor with PBA to do? Fortunately, there are some strategies to practice. When one feels an event coming on the survivor needs to find thoughts to distract him/herself from the topic. Imagining oneself in a calm place can be effective. Counting slowly to ten can distract the survivor from an emotional response. Deep, slow breathing often helps alleviate one’s reaction. Recently, several medications have come to the markets that are designed to manage PBA. Nuedexta is marketed for the condition. More information is available at:

It is most important for the survivor to identify the condition and explain it to friends, family and caregivers. This may not prevent the uncontrolled emotional response but it will allow others to recognize this somewhat unusual behavior as part of the effects of the stroke. Recognizing this as a condition and helping the survivor deal with it can help them overcome the stigma of PBA as they work to maintain their social relationships during their recovery.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Emotions - Dealing with the Five Disabilities Resulting from Stroke Part II

In last week's article written by Walt Kilcullen you read about two more of the five disabilities caused by a stroke. This week's article concludes the series and deals with the remaining disability: emotion. Part 2 was originally posted in its entirety in the September issue of the StrokeNet Newsletter at:

If you wish to contact Walt, he may be reached at:

by Walt Kilcullen

Part 2.

V. Problems with Emotion

V. Problems with Emotion: Many people experience a range of emotional changes after a stroke. These changes can cause the person’s personality to change and can be disruptive and problematic.

Depression is a common condition after a stroke. It can be mild or it can be all consuming. Although depression is a normal part of grief after a stroke, if it continues for the long run, professional help is
called for.

Anger is also common after a stroke. In my support group, once every two months we split into two groups; one for survivors and one for caregivers. Many times I have heard a caregiver complain about fits of anger from their loved one for no apparent reason.

Emotional Lability is a condition of the brain that causes sudden, uncontrollable crying or inappropriate laughter. Of course this can result in embarrassing situations for both the survivor and the caregiver.

Apathy is not the same as depression even though the behavior is similar. The survivor, who is apathetic, cannot seem to get motivated. He stays in bed too long, sits or lies on the couch for hours, and often will not leave the house.

Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling which often includes nervous behavior such as wringing the hands or pacing about. It is a feeling of fear or distress over something that is unlikely to occur such as a heart attack or car accident.

Treatment options for problems with emotion:

● Antidepressants, drugs that control mood, psychological counseling, and psychiatric therapy are treatments for depression, anxiety, and anger management.

● Apathy is more difficult to treat because there are no drugs available to treat it. However, therapists and counselors have had success by developing a routine for the patient to follow. This includes getting up every day at the same time and scheduling events or activities at certain times each day. The focus is on action which will later lead to motivation toward everyday life.

● I could not find any treatment for emotional lability, but fortunately after a few months, it usually (but not always) fades away.

I wrote an article in the September, 2012 issue of on anger and aggressive behavior. There are drugs that are sometimes successful in treating this problem, but there is much the caregiver can do to lessen anger.

● Remember that anger and aggressive behavior are a result of the stroke. Your loved one cannot always control this behavior.

● Stay calm. Do not over react to your loved one’s outbursts. Speak slowly and softly without raising your voice until your loved one calms down.

● Avoid arguing or confrontation with your loved one. Redirect her attention to something else.

● After you identify things that create anger in your loved one, avoid them as much as possible. For example, if you observe that being around a large group of people sets her off, avoid that environment.

● If you as a caregiver become angry or frustrated, back off and cool down. Chances are she will also calm down after you step back and remain calm.

● Stay safe. If your loved one becomes violent, back away keeping a safe distance, and seek help if need be. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Language and Memory - Dealing with the Five Disabilities Resulting from Stroke Part II

In last week's article written by Walt Kilcullen you read about two of the five disabilities caused by a stroke. This week's article deals with two more of the remaining disabilities he addressed, and next week I will conclude the series with what Walt wrote about emotions. Part 2 was originally posted in the September issue of the StrokeNet Newsletter at:

If you wish to contact Walt, he may be reached at:

by Walt Kilcullen

Part 2.

III. Problems with language
IV. Problems with Memory and Reasoning

III. Problems with language: Language difficulties include the ability to speak, understand, write, read, add and subtract. All of these problems occur as a result of a left brain stroke.

Aphasia, which has many components, can be simplified by using just two terms. Expressive aphasia is the lack of ability to verbally express thoughts. The survivor can understand what is said, but response can be one word, or just a few words. Sometimes speech can be extremely slow, while other patients speak so rapidly, it is difficult to understand them. The second category is receptive aphasia. Sounds are heard but the patient cannot understand what was said.

Alexia simply means the lack of the ability to read. My experience is that both expressive and receptive aphasia patients experience difficulty in reading.

Agraphia simply means the lack of ability to write. This usually, but not always, goes along with Alexia.

Acalculia is the loss of mathematical ability including addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication.

Treatment options for problems with language:

An article that I wrote for the June, 2009 issue of the newsletter deals extensively with aphasia. I recommend the following:

● Join an aphasia support group. Check to find one in a location near you.

● Investigate the use of computer software and speech devices to see if they can help you with speech therapy on your own.

Bungalow software, Parrot software, Communication Script Inc, and Lingraphica are examples.

● Investigate clinics and community groups that specialize in aphasia. Again visit to see what is available in your state. Be sure to get details such as cost, and success rate before you invest your time and money.

I also wrote an article for the July, 2011 issue of the StrokeNet dealing with alexia. Although there are numerous exercises available, none to date have a high success rate.

Hope for the future

● Pharmaceutical companies are testing drugs such as Piracetam, amphetamines, and Bromocriptine to improve speech for aphasia patients.

● Neural Regeneration has also shown promise. Researchers have used cell transplantation which is designed to restore brain tissue after a brain injury.

● Constraint Induced Aphasia Therapy has also shown positive results. During CIAT, the speech therapist spends three hours per day, five days per week, for three weeks giving intensive speech therapy targeting the patient’s specific weaknesses.

IV. Problems with Memory and Reasoning: Stroke can result in problems with short term memory, judgment, and also the ability to plan, comprehend meaning, learn new tasks, and solve problems.

Apraxia is the impairment or loss of ability to carry out learned movements despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform the movements.

Anosognosia is a deficit of unawareness. The patient seems unaware of the existence of his or her disability.

Treatment options for problems with memory and reasoning:

● Most stroke survivors recognize their short term memory loss and are able to adjust to it. Cognitive therapists develop strategies such as keeping a daily planner which focuses on organizing activities one day at a time.

● There is little consensus on assessing apraxia but treatment includes speech, occupational and physical therapy. Some patients show significant improvement while others do not. Unfortunately, those patients that do not respond to therapy may not be able to function independently. There is no drug available to treat apraxia.

● No long term treatment is known to help anosognosia, however, the condition usually disappears in time.

Next week, I will post what Walt wrote about emotions. I thought emotions deserved a posting by itself. Stroke survivors can experience very strong emotions such as anger and depression and they and their caregiver must learn how to own these emotions rather than let the emotions own them. I would also like survivors know that they are not alone with these emotions and that other survivors are dealing with them also. The survivor and caregiver must come to realize that these feelings are the result of the stroke and not always under the control of the survivor yet they can be dealt with to some degree with medication and therapy. Walt addresses these issues next week. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dealing with the Five Disabilities Resulting from Stroke Part I

By Walt Kilcullen

The following is Part 1 of a 2 part series titled Dealing With Five Disabilities Resulting from Stroke by Walt Kilcullen.  Part 1 deals with two of the five disabilities. 

Part 1 was originally posted in the July issue of the StrokeNet Newsletter at:

If you wish to contact Walt, he may be reached at:

Part 1.
I. Movement dysfunction and paralysis
II. Sensory dysfunction

The degree of motor damage and cognitive damage as a result of a stroke varies greatly from patient to patient because of the part of the brain affected or damaged and how badly the brain was damaged. In this article, I have examined the first two of five categories of disabilities and how a survivor can deal with each. The other three will be discussed in September.

I. Movement dysfunction and paralysis: If a stroke happens on the left side of the brain, it will affect the right side of the body. A left brain stroke will affect the right side of the body.

Paralysis can be on either side of the body. It can be of the foot and leg, the arm and hand, or both. If there is total paralysis, there is no treatment to improve or reverse that condition.

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, occurs in some patients but is usually greatly reduced or cured early on by a speech therapist.

Ataxia affects the body’s ability to coordinate movement which leads to difficulties with body posture, balance, and walking.

Spasticity or tone “is a condition where muscles are stiff and resist being stretched. It can be found throughout the body but may be most common in the arms, fingers or legs. Depending on where it occurs, it can result in an arm being pressed against the chest, a stiff knee or a pointed foot that interferes with walking. It can also be accompanied by painful spasms.” (Stroke: A Stroke Recovery Guide, a publication of the National Stroke Association, p. 52).

Treatment Options for partial paralysis, ataxia, and spasticity

● A combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medication is standard treatment.

● Exercises for strength, balance, coordination, stretching, or range of motion can be helpful.

● A brace on the affected leg to provide support and to correct foot drop is often prescribed.

● Injection of Botox into the affected area to relax the muscles by blocking the nerve activity that creates the stiffness has proven to be helpful in some patients.

● Baclofen Therapy has been successful for some patients in treating severe spasticity. Baclofen is injected into the spinal fluid using a surgically places pump.

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy has been under experiment and has shown great promise. It is designed for patients who have arm weakness and spasticity, but the patient must have some ability to move the hand. If you are interested in this research, Google: CIMT Edward Taub.

● Research is in progress using stem cells, and transcranial magnetic stimulation with the goal of reversing at least some of physical damage done by stroke

II. Sensory dysfunction: In some stroke patients, pathways for sensation are damaged resulting in pain in the side or the limb being blocked. Decreased feeling in the limbs, numbness or burning in the limbs and pain are examples of sensory dysfunction.

Decreased feeling usually in the limbs can occur but is not common.

Tingling, numbness, or burning usually in the limbs can occur but is not common.

Pain is the most troubling sensory problem because it is more frequent than the other sensory problems and it is usually more debilitating. Pain is often caused by nerve damage, or sometimes from lack of movement.

Treatment options for sensory dysfunction:

●  Decreased feeling, tingling, and burning in the limbs is very difficult to treat especially because what works for one patient may not work for another. Some patients report that continuous light exercise brings relief. Acupuncture, heat application, meditation, and prescribed medications are also reported by some to give relief.

● Pain is also difficult to treat because pain after a stroke can occur in various parts of the body. I wrote an article in the July, 2013 issue of the newsletter where I give tips on reducing pain. Yoga and meditation can help relax and teach the patient to breathe properly.

● Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a step-by-step technique that helps the patient become aware of muscle tension and reduces the tension through a systematic approach that reduces pain. You can look at the PMR web-site to see visuals that will walk you through the PMR exercises.

● The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Treatment Guide For Pain Relief by Clare Davies has received nothing but good reviews on Amazon. Readers should give this a try.

● Chronic pain deserves treatment by a pain management specialist, and/or acupuncturist.
Part 2 of this article will be published later in the September.

Areas covered will be:

III. Problems with Language
IV. Problems with Memory and Reasoning
V. Problems with Emotion


Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Old Barn

Here's a story that has been on a few internet sites that I think many of us oldies can relate to. As far as I know the author is unknown. If the author happens to read this, let me know and I'll see that you get due credit.

A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking. He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway. I told him right off he was crazy. He was a city type, you could tell by his clothes, his  car, his hands, and the way he talked. He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale. I told him he had a funny idea of beauty.

Sure, it was a handsome building in its day. But then, there's been a lot of winters pass with their snow and ice and howling wind. The summer sun's  beat down on that old barn till all the paint's gone, and the wood has turned silver gray. Now the old building leans a good deal, looking kind of tired. Yet, that fellow called it beautiful.

That set me to thinking. I walked out to the field and just stood there, gazing at that old barn. The stranger said he planned to use the lumber to line the walls of his den in a new country home he's building down the road. He said you couldn't get paint that beautiful. Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and scorching sun, only that can produce beautiful barn wood.

It came to me then. We're a lot like that, you and I. Only it's on the inside that the beauty grows with us. Sure we turn silver gray too... and lean a bit more than we did when we were young and full of sap. But the Good Lord knows what He's doing. And as the years pass He's busy using  the hard wealth of our lives, the dry spells and the stormy seasons, to do a  job of beautifying our souls that nothing else can produce. And to think how often folks holler because they want life easy!

They took the old barn down today and hauled it away to beautify a rich man's house. And I reckon someday you and I'll be hauled off to Heaven to take on whatever chores the Good Lord has for us on the Great Sky Ranch.

And I suspect we'll be more beautiful then for the seasons we've been through here... and just maybe even add a bit of beauty to our Father's house.

May today there be peace within you.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Laptop Larceny, Tablet Travails and Cell Phone Creeps

This article may seem like a departure from the norm but you will quickly see that it is very appropriate since we have gone nation wide with our camps. We are at risk of our media devices being hacked by unscrupulous miscreants.

We, at Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp, are traveling cross-country frequently going to camps and working with hospitals and sponsors in other states plus the MegaBrain exhibits we organize and attend throughout the country. As we go, we sometimes must stay in motels and use our laptops, tablets and cell phones for business as well as personal communication. However, what I'm addressing is appropriate for anyone who travels and stays in hotels and motels and other public places, including restaurants and airports. I will refer to laptops, tablets and cell phones as media devices in this article.  I have taken some of this information from a newspaper article called Cyber Speak, hosted by Kim Komando, This is an extremely useful web site for computer, tablet and cell phone usage with tons of useful information, utilities, apps and programs for these devices. 

When we stay overnight in motels during our travels to camp, we like to use our media devices for many reasons. We use them to plot the next days route, keep track of weather, pass time with games, read novels, and keep in touch with family and friends. This includes searching web sites, sending emails and using FaceBook or Linkedin. Even Nooks and Kindles are vulnerable if  used to access the internet.

The biggest danger of using our media devices on public Wi-Fi is hackers on the same network. I'm talking about motel/hotel Wi-Fi specifically but this also applies to restaurants and coffee houses and any place where you use a public Wi-Fi network.  Hackers can be in their motel rooms, the motel lobby, the motel bar, and even in the motel parking lot. Sometimes they can even connect from another nearby building if it is within range of the Wi-Fi router you are using. I should also add here that you are even vulnerable at home if you don't password protect your personal Wi-Fi router.

Hackers can capture every single thing you do on the internet. There many internet vulnerabilities even in your own home not just public Wi-Fi ones that we must be careful about but in this article I'm addressing only internet usage over a public Wi-Fi router. Also, this does not pertain to cell phone usage over cell phone towers. There are other issues calling on cell phones but I'm not knowledgeable enough about that to address those issues. From what I understand you're pretty safe using cell phone calls to do really sensitive tasks like banking as long as you're not using their internet feature.  Today's cell phones can use the internet through 3G or 4G connections. 

Hackers are getting more and more proficient at hacking media devices. Yes, even cell phones that use a public Wi-Fi connection. They can easily read your passwords, emails, and more as you send and receive information over the internet. Some hackers even set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots with names like "Hotel Wi-Fi" or some name permutation of the place where you are staying. If you connect to it, hackers not only see all your traffic, they can send you to malicious websites that steal your information right off your device.  


As I said, use cellular for any really sensitive tasks like banking. And, for tablets and cell phones, be sure to use your bank's app as well, because that will be more secure. For laptops, type in the bank's web address yourself. Do not click on any link you didn't create yourself or type in your user ID and password on any popup window you didn't initiate yourself. 

Make sure you absolutely trust any emails you get that contain links you are asked to click on, especially if they don't tell you anything about the link or use strange verbiage. Do not trust just the sender's name. I have received emails where the sender name was the name of someone I knew but when I looked at the actual email address it was not theirs. This has happened to me more than once and you should learn how to recognize this ruse. All browsers give you a way to display the actual sender email address. If you don't see it, delete the email immediately. If you get a popup window you didn't ask for, close it out by clicking the small x at the top right of the box. Don't click any buttons in that popup window no matter how they are labeled. Only click the little x at the top right of the popup window. And sometimes that's not even good enough. You are probably better off not doing anything and re-booting your computer. If it pops up again either ignore it or shut down until you can get professional help.

Kim also suggests using an encryption app like Avast! SecureLine VPN or HotSpot Shield VPN to encrypt your traffic. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to snoop what you are sending. These are free apps and can be found on her site. 

I hope I didn't frighten you, but instead made you more cautious. Many times it's hard for me to understand the motives behind hacker attempts. Mostly it's financial gain they're looking for but a lot of it is just plain malicious. I wouldn't be surprised if this particular article draws more spam than most.