Sunday, October 15, 2017

Stroke Specific Things I Wish I’d Known Sooner

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp

a division of United Stroke Alliance   www.unitedstrokealliance.org
The following was written by our Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp director Marylee Nunley. I first posted it on this blog in 2012. I think it is worth re-publishing. Her husband John suffered a stroke and these are her thoughts based on her and John's new normal journey.
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by Marylee Nunley

Hearing early on (in a kind, gentle, and positive way) that this is a permanent condition, but still not to lose sight of great possibilities. To be informed that recovery takes lots of time and patience by all.
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The brain is injured and it may take up to six months or longer for it to heal and recover. After that time, the patient will be working with the undamaged parts of the brain through a lengthy but rewarding relearning process.
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Understanding that each time there is a new environment, the survivor may need to re-learn things (shower at home different from the hospital, bed not as convenient, meals served differently, TV remote different, etc.)
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How to find the handbooks from www.strokenetwork.org (online support group) or www.stroke.org (NSA) at the onset. The internet and Facebook is full of things that help families understand the different parts of care and rehab that will be happening. Find Facebook support groups, attend a support group, there is lots to learn and you'll benefit from connecting with others.
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Being given a list of stroke specific terminology would help, too.
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Stroke survivors may seem to understand way more than they actually do. My impression was that if he heard it, he understood just like I did. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Receptive aphasia means that the person with the brain injury doesn’t hear and process the words the way they are spoken and may not understand what is said or completely misunderstand what is said. This gets better, but for us, has never gone away.
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Progress will be in terms of months and years and for the rest of your life, not in just days and weeks.
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More about the caregiver role and what will be expected once going home and about burnout. No matter how much energy and commitment we have, there will be a time we’ll just get tired of the responsibility.
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More about aphasia----look at the person, go very slowly, know that even though they hear what you say, they may not fully understand.
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Support groups—both survivors and caregivers need them.
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What to look for with regard to depression (often comes out as anger or crying) from isolation and loss of parts of their life.
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Understand how frightened the patient is and how lost they are in the world and may not understand what’s really going on.
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Routine should become your best friend for a very long time.
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ADL equipment, gadgets and gizmos. There isn’t time for the medical community to provide all this information and they don’t have the means (financially, insurance runs out) short of funding of some sort of program following discharge. Here is where support groups can help.
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Understanding Health Benefits can be a challenge and making friends with a good social worker, discharge planner, or the insurance billing clerk can’t hurt.
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Disability application is long and tedious. There are books that can help. Make the adjudicator your friend and follow through with their requests.
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Well, that's my list. Undoubtedly you will have other items that you've encountered. If you want, go ahead and share them by leaving a comment. That way we all learn just that much more.
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Journey to Self-Acceptance

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp

a division of United Stroke Alliance   www.unitedstrokealliance.org
The following is an article from the American Heart Association Support Network blog: 
by Angela Hager




Angela currently resides in Hoover, Alabama with her husband and two daughters. Her passions include stroke advocacy, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, writing and the art of Calligraphy. Sneak peeks into her personal and family life can be found on Instagram at angeladcalligraphy (Angela Dawn).

Stroke rehabilitation. Whether your stroke was diagnosed as major, mild, or somewhere in-between, rehabilitation is often a frustrating journey filled with every emotion imaginable. While each post-stroke journey is unique, I believe true healing begins the moment a Survivor not only acknowledges, but accepts, the one realization that we all must face no matter which area of our brain was affected: We are not the same person we once were nor will we ever be that person again.

For me personally, facing this truth was undeniably soul-crushing. I adamantly rejected the notion at the beginning of my rehab journey, as do many fellow Survivors. The mere thought of being permanently altered was enough to blanket me in a cloak of anger and bitterness. Denial became a daily crutch that I desperately needed; without it, I found it almost impossible to function.

However, as the days turned into months, I slowly began to realize that despite my best efforts, I was a different person. I began to accept my new challenges and limitations instead of continuing to fight what I knew in my heart to be true. As I learned to redefine a new sense of normalcy for myself, my focus also changed. Rather than fulfilling the role of a stroke victim, I became the hero of my own story; after all, I was a Survivor. I survived an experience that sadly, many do not. I had graciously been given a second chance and my eyes were finally opened; each day truly is a gift and tomorrow is never, ever guaranteed…

This past June marked my fifth-year post-stroke. My rehabilitation journey has been filled with ups and downs, tears of frustration and tears of joy. I have learned to take each day as it comes and to celebrate even the smallest of victories. When self-pity or depression tries to rear its ugly head, I simply close my eyes, put my hand over my heart and soak in the precious feeling of a beating heart…

No matter where you are on your own journey, I just want to encourage you to live your life to the absolute fullest. The first step in doing so is learning to love the new you, no matter how broken or damaged you may feel. Once you shift your perspective, you’ll find that life is in fact still beautiful, just as you are and always will be.

Wishing you all the very best,
~Angela
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Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association,Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to the American Heart Association News. See full terms of use.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Stroke Can Happen at Any Age

These videos were originally posted by the American Stroke Association in previous years. https://news.heart.org/
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May 2015

Four teen stroke survivors who share a special bond are graduating from high school this weekend. Over a 2-year span, four KC-area highschoolers suffered strokes. Finding each other helped with their recovery. And this weekend, they’re all graduating - right on time.
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August 2014
Alex's Story

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXiCOKwGxo0


The International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association are teaming up to spread pediatric stroke awareness. Watch Alex’s inspiring pediatric stroke story to learn more. We encourage you to support this awareness campaign by sharing this video with your friends, family and colleagues. With your help we can reach our ultimate goal of increasing research to better understand how to recognize, diagnose and treat strokes in babies, children and the unborn. To learn more about pediatric stroke and other ways you can help, visit: http://www.iapediatricstroke.org
http://www.StrokeAssociation.org
Thank you to our videographer and film editor Peter Soby of SobyVision! Contact: 402-670-2490
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August 2014
Rhys’ Story
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Dqtbo5_W6w

The International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association are teaming up to spread pediatric stroke awareness. Watch Rhys’ inspiring pediatric stroke story to learn more. We encourage you to support this awareness campaign by sharing this video with your friends, family and colleagues. With your help we can reach our ultimate goal of increasing research to better understand how to recognize, diagnose and treat strokes in babies, children and the unborn. To learn more about pediatric stroke and other ways you can help, visit: http://www.iapediatricstroke.org 

http://www.StrokeAssociation.org 
Thank you to videographer and film editor Peter Soby of SobyVision! Contact: 402-670-2490
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Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association,Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to the American Heart Association News. See full terms of use.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Visually Unimpaired

This essay was copied from the web site of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago with their permission and with the author's, Cari Biamonte, permission. Cari participated in a study done by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on enhancing the quality of life of stroke survivors.

This study was done to assess how writing in different ways about the experience of recovery can help physical and psychological health and activity after stroke.
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By Cari Biamonte
© May, 2006

To look at me is to think I am the picture of good health. I am a 45-year-old Caucasian woman, five feet three inches tall, 103 pounds with an athletic build. I don’t drink, smoke, or do recreational drugs. I go to church regularly, work out at the gym, and floss my teeth before bedtime. I thought I was in control of my ever-challenging health issues. You see, I have a long history of health issues, none of which include heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or obesity. Most people assume I am a runner. Indeed I am, or was, and will be again. I have no outward physical defects that say, “Look at me I’m a stroke victim,” but I am, or was, and NEVER want to be again.

Other diseases tested my character: childhood nephritis, ulcerative colitis, steroid induced osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, and chronic fatigue. Stroke was a word I was unprepared to hear. I have no family history of it, nor do I fit the profile for such a condition.

Apparently the onset of my stroke was blurred vision. Who knew? My eyesight went from focused to double to unconscious to enlightened. I guess you could say, “I was blind and now I see.” 

This is my story.

My eyes were closed and my body frozen in fear to the bed. I remember the doctor at the foot of my hospital bed talking into his voice recorder about my condition. He described me as one would an unremarkable specimen. I distinctly remember him saying that they wouldn’t know anything for three days. Three days? I opened my eyes and saw my mother. “GOD!” My insides screamed. “Not again. Holy Mother of God!” I thought. “My mother has seen me fall countless times before. Surely you must know the fear and pain she is feeling, for you too have watched your Son fall, suffer, and die. I just can’t put her through this anymore. I can’t stand to see her frightened. I want to live and take care of my parents, not have them continue to babysit me into adulthood.” That’s when it happened. That’s when things changed for me. There was this sudden awareness that all is well. And indeed it was.

My recovery was complete. Short of a three-week headache, neck and shoulder pain, fear of being alone and uncontrollable emotions, I was on my way to a new and exciting life!

What I didn’t know was how this sudden “relationship” with God would change my life and existing relationships. Suddenly I was struck with a conviction of all I did that wasn’t so “good.” My religion just flew out the window and my relationship with God was a sharp reality. The fact is my relationship was lost behind the trappings of religion. I didn’t have a relationship with God. In order to have a relationship, you need to spend time with someone. If I only spent one hour a week with my spouse, we would have a less then happy marriage, and so it goes with our Creator. I had a lot of work to do and a lot of forgiveness to seek.

For what purpose had I received such grace? I was feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude and responsibility to fulfill God’s will in my life. My sole focus quickly became just that. After all, I was spared from any visible impairment or death—it’s the least I could do. I felt oddly encouraged about the future, yet misunderstood by my fiancé. A faithless man, a scarred and bitter man, an alcoholic who was wounded by the Vietnam War. Visually unimpaired like me, yet damaged goods still the same. What a team we make. Oil and water.

It took a great deal of soul searching and much needed prayer before I felt at peace with my decision to marry this man and thus, began exploring the new me, as did my loved ones. I could see both wonder and confusion in the faces of those who have known me. In less than two years, I had lost my job that I held for 13 years, suffered a stroke, got married, and moved 140 miles from my home. Perhaps it was unfair of me to expect anyone to understand what it was I had been feeling. How do you explain a spiritual rebirth? A sudden wisdom into other’s circumstances, a deep familiar empathy with strangers, an unconditional love for those who’ve wronged you, and an “ooohhhhh I get it now” when reading the word of God. Finding that every waking moment is spent in constant prayer. Wanting nothing but solitude. Having nothing in common with the things of this earth any longer. Who can blame my husband for feeling left out and confused?

What my husband does have is a wonderful gift for providing for and protecting me. It was as if God placed him right there to physically catch me when I stroked. That’s when the Lord began his work in me. This new and different life of mine has given me the opportunity to seek the presence of God, discover who I am, and to focus on using my talents for the sake of others. Interesting stuff. Scary stuff too.

So I suffered a stroke. Others have suffered more, some less, each one differently. No one goes through this life unscathed. What matters most is not what we learn in the midst of our suffering, but that we persevere through the suffering learning to trust and believe in the greater good that is to be revealed. This is a very abstract concept for those with no faith, for faith itself is believing in what is not seen.

I come away from this experience with this advice. When faced with unbearable pain and burdens, get up in the morning, get dressed and get out of the house. If physically possible, walk to a coffee shop or restaurant where you could meet people, read and reflect. Spend time acknowledging your circumstances, accept what cannot be immediately changed, develop a strategy for recovery, and most importantly remain hopeful in things yet to come. Do not fear.

All material is the property of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago All rights reserved

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Awardee has seen stroke treatment transform


By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
http://news.heart.org










Jeffrey Saver, M.D., accepts the Meritorious Achievement award at the American Heart Association’s awards ceremony in June. (Photo by Tim Sharp)








The patient, young and pregnant, arrived at the hospital with a severe stroke. She couldn’t speak, comprehend or move the right side of her body.

When Jeffrey Saver, M.D., started his career decades earlier, there would have been little he could do to help the woman. But now it was 2006, and a lot had changed. The patient was treated with one of the first clot retriever devices designed to open a blocked artery in the brain, Saver said. She went on to function normally and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

“An outcome that before was unachievable is now completely achievable,” said Saver, who has seen the world of stroke transform since he became a director of UCLA’s Stroke Center in 1995. “When I started, there was no proven treatment for stroke. I have been privileged to have my career occur in the first effective therapeutic era for stroke.”

Saver was recently honored in Dallas with a Gold Heart Award, the American Heart Association’s highest volunteer honor. Widely published, Saver’s contributions to stroke care, including systems of care and performance metrics, are immense. He has been the global or site principal investigator for more than 50 clinical trials. One of the most ambitious and groundbreaking was FAST-MAG, a first-of-its-kind study showing that paramedics can safely give intravenous medication to stroke patients in the ambulance.

It’s not surprising that Saver wound up in a medical career. Both his father and paternal grandfather were general practitioners. At age 3 Saver would go on house calls around Boston in his grandfather’s “1950s doctor’s car.”

Still, it was a challenging heritage, Saver said, because his love of math and science, a natural fit for medicine, competed mightily with his philosophical and linguistic interests. After some soul searching, Saver eventually found his home in neurology, where he has carved out a reputation for his tenacity and innovation in investigating stroke.

Saver said he was drawn to the intensity and emotional rewards of acute care and making a difference. The challenges were huge, and still are.

While stroke was the No. 3 killer in the United States when Saver finished his stroke fellowship in 1992, it has since moved to No. 5 thanks to increased awareness and treatment advances in recent decades.

“Clot-busting tPA — the ‘Drano drug’ — and clot retrievers are two therapies to open blocked arteries that have occurred over last 25 years,” he said.

“Once we proved that tPA worked, it was the effort of a generation to translate it into practice,” Saver said. “Emergency physicians were understandably reluctant, because it had risks and they didn’t have [all the knowledge] to make decisions on their own. And neurologists weren’t used to coming to the ER in the middle of the night and making those decisions.”

It was a 20-year effort of the AHA and the American Stroke Association to create a set of tools and policies that transformed the practice of stroke medicine in the United States, Saver said.

“Even more important was the notion of having designated stroke center hospitals and specialized stroke neurologists, with everyone working together to provide organized care,” he said. “Before it was Russian roulette whether or not a stroke patient got the best treatment, because an ambulance would deliver the patient to the nearest hospital instead of the one best equipped to treat the patient.”

Because of these and other efforts nationwide, the treatment rate for stroke patients with brain-saving clot-dissolving therapy tripled between 2004 to 2010. But the victories are mixed. One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetimes, and it’s the No. 2 cause of death worldwide, and a leading cause of serious disability.

With nearly 800,000 each year in the United States, “stroke is unfortunately still very common,” Saver said. “Although the per capita rate of stroke has been cut in half since 1990, the number of strokes is still increasing, taking into account people’s age — two-thirds of people who have a stroke are 65 or older.” Generally, stroke developments lag behind heart innovations, he said.

“It takes 10 years longer to develop something comparable for the brain. First, the brain and the brain vessels are more complex; we have a much more narrow margin of error,” Saver said.

“Second, there are somewhat fewer strokes versus heart attacks in the U.S. so it takes longer for us to recruit people into randomized trials and get definitive evidence of what works or doesn’t work.”
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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Look Beyond U.S. Borders

The following is from a July 2017 American Heart Association report.

http://news.heart.org

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Traveling to hospitals in the United States is difficult for Yomi Ogun, M.D., a stroke researcher from Nigeria.

A clot-busting medicine to treat stroke is always in stock. In his native country, it’s a rare commodity. Ambulances in America can get patients to hospitals quickly, an underappreciated result of good roads. In Nigeria, Ogun said, stroke victims often die before reaching the hospital.

But although the care of stroke patients clearly differs, Ogun has noticed similarities in how stroke risk affects African-Americans and sub-Saharan Africans from countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.

More than two-thirds of African-Americans can trace their ancestry to those countries and others in the region. It will take collaboration between researchers in Africa and the United States to better understand how stroke and its risk factors affect their populations, Ogun said.

“You compare, you contrast, see areas of similarities, areas of differences — and then see how [to] improve,” said Ogun, a professor of neurology and internal medicine at the College of Medicine at Lagos State University.

The same could be said of studying stroke in Latin Americans and the nearly 57 million U.S. Hispanics.

Mexican neurologist Antonio Arauz, M.D., Ph.D., said considering that most strokes are preventable, U.S. and Latin American researchers must team up to figure out how behaviors, social dynamics and living conditions play a role in risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Such insights could lead to more effective prevention strategies to reduce stroke rates.

“A Mexican in the United States… doesn’t have the same eating habits as he does in Mexico City or his place of origin,” said Arauz, a doctor and researcher at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery Manuel Velasco Suárez in the Mexican capital.

But although lifestyles may differ dramatically, what groups still have in common is genetics. A shared ancestry for populations living different lives in different countries may offer the most valuable clues to preventing strokes — both the United States and abroad.

Such investigations could help determine, for example, whether black Americans are genetically predisposed to strokes, said vascular neurologist Bruce Ovbiagele, M.D., chair of neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina.

“Even after we account for higher rates of diabetes or hypertension, even after we account for lower socioeconomic status for African-Americans, there’s still about a 30 percent higher risk of stroke [compared to U.S. whites that] we still can’t explain,” Ovbiagele said.

Studies could also help researchers understand how acculturation affects the health of immigrants compared to that of their U.S.-born children and grandchildren, said Jose G. Romano, M.D., a professor and stroke division chief in the department of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Stroke is the nation’s No. 5 killer and is a leading cause of disability. Worldwide, stroke is the second-leading cause of death. Estimates from the World Health Organization show the burden of death and disability from stroke is seven times higher in low- and middle-income countries, such as Nigeria and Mexico, than in high-income countries, such as the United States and Germany.

In the United States, stroke prevalence is higher among African-Americans than among whites and Hispanics. Yet both African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans face a greater burden of risk factors for stroke: They are more likely to have diabetes, obesity and uncontrolled high blood pressure compared to whites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is a top killer among Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans, ranking at No. 4 and No. 3, respectively. By comparison, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death for Americans overall.

Plus, statistics from the American Heart Association show African-Americans — the country’s second-largest racial group — are nearly twice as likely to have a first stroke and are about 30 percent to 60 percent more likely to die from a stroke compared to white Americans. Yet Hispanic-Americans are less likely than both black and white Americans to die from a stroke.

But seeing how U.S. data aligns with the experience of sub-Saharan Africans and Latin Americans presents a challenge, experts say, because reliable statistics are hard to come by.

For years, Ovbiagele said, researchers in Nigeria used data from a 1970s-era population study to estimate present-day stroke statistics. In Latin America, researchers long relied on statistics of U.S. Hispanics to calculate figures in their own countries, Arauz said.

Better, more current local data is now available, both experts said, but it is mostly from patient hospital records and doesn’t accurately reflect a country’s overall population.

Ovbiagele and his colleagues recently analyzed strokes in nearly 2,000 native Africans, African-Americans and European-Americans. The findings, published last month in Stroke, suggest race plays a role in the predisposition of certain risk factors for stroke, and possibly even the type of stroke.

Diabetes was more common among native African and African-American stroke patients compared to European-American patients. And nearly all — 93 percent — of native Africans had high blood pressure, as did 83 percent of African-Americans. Among European-American patients, 64 percent had high blood pressure.

The study also showed that hemorrhagic stroke — a type of stroke that causes bleeding in the brain and is strongly linked to high blood pressure — was much more common among native Africans than African-Americans.

“The nature of how you prevent strokes, the emphasis of that, should probably be a little bit different [for native Africans versus African-Americans versus European-Americans],” Ovbiagele said.

Even among U.S. Hispanic ethnic groups, a one-size-fits-all approach to preventing strokes may not be the best approach given that stroke and some of its risk factors appear to impact groups differently. For example, a 2016 CDC report found Puerto Ricans were more likely to report multiple chronic conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure or diabetes compared to people of Mexican, Cuban and Central American descent. Other research has reported that diabetes is more common among Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans — the two largest U.S. Hispanic ethnic groups — compared to Hispanics of Cuban and South American heritage.

“Although there are genetic factors involved in disparities, we believe the predominant factor in disparities is access to and use of health care, in large part mediated by socioeconomic factors,” said Romano, a co-investigator of the Florida-Puerto Rico Collaboration to Reduce Stroke Disparities project.

In Latin America, researchers have observed that high blood pressure is more common among Venezuelans, Chileans and Argentinians, and diabetes is more common among people from Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile.

Partnerships have already developed between U.S. researchers and international colleagues. Ovbiagele said the Medical University of South Carolina has ongoing projects in Nigeria and Ghana. Arauz and Romano recently worked together on a study comparing risk factors in stroke patients in Mexico City and Miami. But the researchers said collaborations between U.S. and Latin American scientists tend to be between scientists and not institutions.

The biggest hurdle researchers now face is money. Funding for international projects is hard to come by, said Ovbiagele.

But that hasn’t deterred Ogun, who feels a sense of urgency. His mother and a brother died from stroke, and another brother recently had one. Researchers worldwide have an obligation to share experiences, he said.

“If we don’t document all that we’re seeing now, how will those that come after us? What will they fall back on?” Ogun said. “We need to do research across the board. It cannot be unilateral.”


Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association,Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to the American Heart Association News. See full terms of use.
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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Simulation Event Tracks Time it Takes for Stroke Treatment

Included here is a link to help you survivors and caregivers find the stroke group in your area. Eventually it will be a permanent link with the ones on the left of your screen. All you need to do is enter your zip code and the search radius in miles and it will tell you if there is one and where. Just click on this following link to get started: Find a Stroke Group in Your Area.


By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
http://news.heart.org


When the stroke code is called into his station, Fire Chief Quinten Randolph will be watching to make sure his crew gets their part just right. Randolph knows firsthand the importance of a stroke-ready system – it saved his own life two years ago.

While sure to bring back a lot of memories for Randolph, 56, the code is part of a simulation event on Thursday with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to increase public knowledge around stroke treatment. Similar events are taking place across the country in May for American Stroke Month.

The St. Louis drill begins with a 911 call from a public location where spectators track the time from the onset of stroke symptoms to the moment the patient arrives at the hospital. There physicians follow guidelines-based evaluation and treatment protocol.

The faster a patient receives medical treatment, the better the chance of recovery.

“What is most important for any stroke victim is time,” said Jacqueline Randolph, the chief’s wife and a veteran paramedic who quickly recognized her husband was having a stroke. “You can’t mess around with time. I know that’s what contributed to Quinten’s success in being able to get back to work and a lot of the normal functions he was able to restore.”

Quinten had met some friends for drinks on Jan. 18, 2015, and didn’t feel right on the way home. He was nauseated and had to pull over to throw up. He then called his wife, who stayed on the phone with him for the remainder of his drive. The two hung up as he pulled into their subdivision.

“As soon as I walked through my front door, I collapsed. I hit the floor,” he said.

A few minutes later, he heard his wife calling him from the second floor. When she came downstairs, she found him lying on his back, speaking clearly, but confused and unable to move the left side of his body.

“He goes, ‘Hey, is that my arm laying there?” Jacqueline recalled.

She immediately asked her husband to squeeze her fingers with both hands. He could only hold on with his right. His wife then lifted up his right arm and let it go. As it flopped to the ground, Jacqueline immediately stepped over her husband to get to the phone and call 911.

An ambulance arrived and took Quinten to the nearby hospital, where he was quickly evaluated and started on IV r-tPA alteplase, medication commonly used to treat clot-caused strokes. He was then taken by helicopter to a larger hospital nearby.

Quinten spent a month in the hospital, undergoing rehabilitation. He returned to work several months later, although he still felt weakness on the left side of his body.

Today, he has regained much of his original strength and considers himself to have “almost 85, 90 percent” of the quality of life he had before his stroke.

While he normally shies away from publicly sharing personal stories, he said this one is different because of the lessons that can help educate the community.

Quinten said he hopes Thursday’s drill will teach people the common signs of a stroke and emphasize the need to act urgently.

“Just like if you think somebody’s having a heart attack, the first thing you think is, ‘Call 911,’” he said. “But people who think somebody is having a stroke will instead call someone and say, ‘Can you come over and check out Uncle Bob? I think he may be having a stroke.’ You hear those stories.”

Jacqueline said she hopes the drill, and her husband’s story, will let people know that strokes can happen to anyone.

“We need to help the community and people understand that this doesn’t have to be somebody who is older than the age of 60 or 70,” she said. “I certainly didn’t think that a healthy firefighter, who can bench-press 300 pounds, would be a candidate for stroke.”

Jacqueline said people should not take chances when wondering whether a friend or loved one is suffering a stroke.

“We need to convey the message of quick recognition. Time is of essence,” she said. “It’s just better to be safe than sorry.”

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Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association,Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to the American Heart Association News. See full terms of use.
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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Coping With Aphasia

I'm going to do something very different this week. I'm just going to give you links to articles and videos of Stroke Survivors coping with Aphasia and Apraxia. As you brows these you will see more videos on the pages you link to. I encourage you to view these also to gain additional insight into this issue many Stroke Survivors face. 




                                         What Is Aphasia

                                4 Things Aphasia Taught Me

                                 David Coping with Aphasia

                                    Ivan Coping with Aphasia

                              Interviews with Aphasia Sufferers


I hope this not only helps you see but to understand what Aphasia sufferers are experiencing. For those of you who are suffering from Aphasia I hope this shows you that you are not alone and there is hope.  For those who do not have Aphasia I hope this teaches you to be patient, to listen, and to let the person express themselves as best as they can. Patience, understanding their frustration, and respect is what need from us.
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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Helping Others Recover

Included here is a link to help you survivors and caregivers find the stroke group in your area. Eventually it will be a permanent link with the ones on the left of your screen. All you need to do is enter your zip code and the search radius in miles and it will tell you if there is one and where. Just click on this following link to get started: Find a Stroke Group in Your Area.

This week's post come from the StrokeNetwork web site:
http://www.strokenetwork.org written by David Wasielewski

David had a stroke in 2005 ending his career as a logistics consultant. Since the stroke he returned to college for a Sociology degree. He is a peer counselor, facilitates a local stroke support group, volunteers at the local United Way and writes for The Stroke Network.
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By David Wasielewski

Role of a Good Support Group
I recently became the facilitator of our local stroke support group. Our last leader had to retire to take care of an ailing family member. I had taken the lead on occasion, but now had to carefully consider my new role. Old members accepted the change without issue. Truth is, no one else wanted to do it. It was the arrival of new folks that caused me to more carefully evaluate my role and exactly what my obligations were to the group. How was I to manage the arrival of new folks?

How much advice was I obligated to give? How are the inevitable questions from new members to be answered? Although I find I have no issues sharing advice about stroke recovery and post stroke life with others I determined that I needed to take a less active role in dispensing my ‘wisdom’ to these new folks.

As new folks come into the group they receive a warm welcome and an opportunity to explore the group at their own pace. A discussion with folks who have been around for a while led to an agreement that this was appropriate. It is not our job to show the new folks the paths that we have successfully traveled but rather to help these new folks find their own post stroke path.

Often, questions from the new folks are difficult to answer. “How long until I get better? When will I be able to walk again? When can I drive again?” Fortunately, our group is large enough and diverse enough to provide a variety of answers to these questions. Often the answer from each member is simply to relay our personal experiences with recovery.

We’ve all heard the standard answers. “It all depends.” “Everyone is different.” And the most difficult, ”It’s probably not going to happen.” We can’t and won’t give you the answer but we can help you to realize that it all depends on you and you own situation.

We simply relay our own experience and let the new folks come to their own conclusions. The variety of answers is usually enough to spark the realization that we don’t have the answers that these folks are looking for. The point is for them to realize that wherever their recovery path takes them we’re here to support those efforts. We might not all end up in the same place but we all get better in our own way. And we’re all here together to celebrate our journeys.

We can all advise new folks about the tools available to them, PT, OT and speech / cognitive therapy, medical and holistic treatments. We are all aware of these tools and how to use them. Teaching someone how to use a tool does not determine what they will build with those tools. The life each of us builds with those tools is up to us. We advise these folks how to use the tools, not what to build.

Finding the tools is difficult for new survivors and inevitably takes some time but continued encouragement usually pays off as these folks relay their adventures at each monthly meeting. The stories are often as funny as they are extraordinary. But, all important nonetheless as folks move on. The best stories are often told by a survivor and caregiver. The survivor will relate an experience as they remember it, while the caregiver often has a slightly different, maybe less flattering take on the situation. We all learn to laugh at our failures and celebrate our accomplishments.

While every survivor is different, each support group will be different as well. Hopefully these words of wisdom will be useful to other folks on their recovery journeys.


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Copyright ©June 2017
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chattanooga Stroke Camp

Included here is a link to help you survivors and caregivers find the stroke group in your area. Eventually it will be a permanent link with the ones on the left of your screen. All you need to do is enter your zip code and the search radius in miles and it will tell you if there is one and where. Just click on this following link to get started: Find a Stroke Group in Your Area.

Last October (2016) we held another weekend camp (Friday-Sunday) in Chattanooga, Tennesee. Here's a look at the people and some of the activities we enjoy. We provide camps for stroke survivors and their caregivers throughout the country. Please call us to see if we have a camp in your area. 800-688-5450. To learn more about us go to our website: www.strokecamp.org.