Sunday, July 25, 2021

Are you or a member of your family/friend circle a stroke survivor?







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Are you or a member of your family/friend circle a stroke survivor?

Life is a journey...and sometimes there are unexplained and unpredictable changes. Some of the changes are immediate and others require a new beginning. Recovery from a stroke (or living with a stroke survivor) requires courage, patience, love, and support from family, friends, and the community.

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp strives to offer an enjoyable and fun-filled weekend with other stroke survivors, caregivers, and family members throughout the United States with the emphasis on education, socialization, relaxation, and support.

Welcome to the Retreat & Refresh family! We hope you and your family member(s) will visit our website often as you travel the ever-challenging post-stroke journey.

The Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp website https://strokecamp.org provides information and resources offering a better understanding of stroke while helping survivors move forward and begin anew.

Our website contains helpful information including:
        - Links to this blog
        - Video clips
        - Resources 
        - Recommended reading materials 
        - Calendar of camps and events
        - Registration form for campers and volunteers
        - Photo gallery from each camp

And much more that will provide a greater understanding of stroke and its continuous challenges. Online visitors will find value in this website.

Also, be sure to visit www.strikeoutstroke.com for stroke awareness events near you, and www.unitedstrokealliance.org for much more information.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Update To We are seeking interested volunteers

 








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If you have attended a camp in the past but don't find it listed today on our website please know we are working with our sponsors to organize and fund it, but due to the pandemic some areas are not yet ready to give us the go-ahead.

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We are seeking interested volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of others by joining us for a weekend retreat for Family Stroke Camp. This unique event is July 29-August 1, 2021 at Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Center in Oregon Illinois (just under a two hour drive from Peoria. The weekend will allow us to host families who are raising children and one parent has had a stroke. Volunteers do not need medical experience and will not need to do any patient care, but join us to partner with campers as they swim, fish, zip line, enjoy meals, enjoy walks, help with crafts, participate in discussion groups, play games, and enjoy socialization. Ideal volunteers simply love helping people. Volunteers are not paid monetarily, but their weekend includes accommodations, meals, camp t-shirt, participation in activities, and memories to last a lifetime. High School and College students qualify. Please consider joining us this year. For more information, follow the information on the flyer. The video linked here is a look into a Stroke Camp weekend, take a look and give it some thought.

Click here for video:  Stroke Camp Video

For more information:

   Call our office: 309-645-9258 or email marylee@strokecamp.org


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Sunday, June 20, 2021

35 Quotes for Caregivers That’ll Brighten Your Day


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


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The following is an article originally posted on https://www.mycaringplan.com. This web site was founded by Daniel Morris. His site addresses issues focused on senior living and home care for them, however, there are some articles on his site that can be useful for caregivers of stroke survivors also. 

Need something to lift your spirits on a difficult day or inspire you to be your best self?
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35 Quotes for Caregivers That’ll Brighten Your Day

Those who care for others are the backbone of a functioning society, and yet, sometimes they go unappreciated. For that reason, even the greatest caregivers need reminders that what they are doing is important, and their time spent giving is valued. These inspirational quotes for caregivers will help you remember your “why,” and send you on your way with a reinvigorated optimism. When you have peace and pride in your heart, you will be a light to others as well.

Throughout the ups and downs, there is hope to be found. Sometimes we just need a little reminder.

If that’s the case for you, you’re in luck. Here are 35 quotes all about the realities of being a caregiver that are sure to brighten your day:

Inspirational Quotes for Caregivers

Need something to lift your spirits on a difficult day or inspire you to be your best self? Look no further than these inspirational, motivational quotes!

“Each day brings new opportunities, allowing you to constantly live with love – be there for others – bring a little light into someone’s day. Be grateful and live each day to the fullest.” -Roy T. Bennett

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” -Dalai Lama

“Never believe that a few caring people can change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have.” -Margaret Mead

“Affirmations are our mental vitamins, providing the supplementary positive thoughts we need to balance the barrage of negative events and thoughts we experience daily.” – Tia Walker

Funny Caregiver Quotes

Caregiving can be stressful and tough. Sometimes, giving yourself the chance to have a laugh about your experiences is helpful. Other times, you may be in need of a serious pick-me-up.

These quotes are sure to boost your mood:

“My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I’m right.” -Ashleigh Brilliant

“Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He’s a mile away and you’ve got his shoes!” -Billy Connolly

“By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” -Charles Wadsworth

“A failure is like fertilizer; it stinks to be sure, but it makes things grow faster in the future.” -Denis Waitley

Life as a Caregiver Quotes

Life as a caregiver can be challenging, but it can also be incredibly meaningful and empowering.

There’s a lot to be said about the ups and downs of caregiving, and these picks are a great start:

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.” -Tia Walker

“Offering care means being a companion, not a superior. It doesn’t matter whether the the person we are caring for is experiencing cancer, the flu, dementia, or grief… When our role is to be providers of care, we should be there as equals.” -Judy Cornish, The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” -E.E. Cummings

“My caregiver mantra is to remember: the only control you have is over the changes you choose to make.” -Nancy L. Kriseman, Mindful Caregiver: Finding Ease in the Caregiving Journey

Caregiver Appreciation Quotes

Being a caregiver is no easy task. When someone decides to take on the challenging, but essential, role of being a caregiver, they certainly deserve appreciation. Include these quotes in a thoughtful card, a text message, or social media post. Any caregiver who reads it will feel suddenly lifted and seen.

Whether you’re looking to acknowledge a caregiver in your life or trying to reflect on the value of your own caregiving experiences, these quotes are perfect:

“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” -Tia Walker

“One person caring about another represents life’s greatest value.” -John Rohn

“Caregiving has no second agendas or hidden motives. The care is given from love for the joy of giving without expectations, no strings attached.” -Gary Zukav

“Kindness can transform someone’s dark moment with a blaze of light. You’ll never know how much your caring matters. Making a difference for another today.” -Amy Leigh-Mercree

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” -Mother Theresa

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.” -Henri Nouwen

Thank You Quotes for Caregivers

Trying to think of a way to thank a caregiver in your life for their hard work and commitment? Or, perhaps you’re a caregiver looking to express your gratitude for others in your life. Whatever the case may be, take a look at these for inspiration:

“Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not to fix anything, or to do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.” -Anonymous

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” -Leo Buscaglia

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John F. Kennedy

“‘I wanted to thank you,’ I said. She wrinkled her nose and squinted like I’d said something funny. ‘Thank me for what?’ she said. ‘You give me strength I didn’t know I had,’ I said. ‘You make me better.’” -Ransom Riggs, Hollow City

“Practice to live a thank you and acknowledge your blessings. A new world will open up to you.” Anupama Garg, The Tantric Curse

Caregiver Burnout Quotes

Caregiver burnout (click here to read our guide on the topic) is a very real and challenging state to find yourself in.

It’s important to remember that it’s okay to take care of yourself too. Not only is it important to take care of yourself for your own personal and mental health, it’s also important when it comes to your ability to care for others.

These quotes are great reminders of not just how challenging burnout is, but also that it’s possible to overcome and learn from it:

“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” -Eleanor Brown

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” -Mother Theresa

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain: when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm’s all about.” -Haruki Murkami, Kafka on the Shore

“A healthy self-love means we have no compulsion to justify to ourselves or others why we take vacations, why we sleep late, why we buy new shoes, why we spoil ourselves from time to time. We feel comfortable doing things which add quality and beauty to life.” -Andrew Matthews

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” -BrenĂ© Brown

Dementia Caregiver Quotes

Dementia is (unfortunately) becoming increasingly common. According to The World Health Organization, dementia currently impacts nearly 50 million people worldwide. There are also nearly 10 million new cases every year. Remember that even when someone you love does not remember your name, they still do not forget the way they feel about you, and they still feel the love that you have always shared.

Dementia can sometimes feel like a grief impossible to carry, both for the ill and for loved ones/family. These quotes reflect not just upon the challenges dementia present, but also the hope we must try and hold onto throughout:

“The journey of dementia is a journey like no other. Dementia makes you realize that there’s no time to waste. Each moment is precious, a treasure in its own way. We all know the last chapter in the book. Dementia taught me that all any of us really have is today.” -Leanne Chames

“Remind yourself every day: ‘I am in charge of my happiness. I will not let anything outside of myself control me. I am creating a life that feels good on the inside and it will turn into experiences that are good on the outside.” -Unknown

“It is a strange, sad irony that so often, in the territory of a disease that robs an individual of memory, caregivers are often the forgotten.” -Karen Walker

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Those with dementia are still people, and they still have stories, and they still have character, and they are all individuals, and they are all unique. And they just need to be interacted with on a human level.” -Carey Mulligan

Sources

Monday, June 7, 2021

How to Downsize Your Home: A Guide for Stroke Survivors, Caregivers and Seniors



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A new article on sleep by Cindy Page will be available on this blog 6/21.

Andrea Needham is the creator and editor at Elders Day. A lifelong writer, she created her website to share information and resources with other seniors who love living it up as they age. Andrea believes our golden years don’t have to be a time to slow down, and she looks forward to sharing the many health-boosting, fulfilling activities and experiences that are perfect for aging adults.

Editor's note: The tips mentioned in this article appear here because the author (and this editor) feels the issues facing stroke survivors can be similar to those retiring and recognizing the need to downsize their living space in order to better manage their day-to-day lives.

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How to Downsize Your Home

A  Guide for Stroke Survivors, Caregivers and Seniors

by Andrea Needham

                  Image via Unsplash

For many of us, moving becomes much more difficult as we age. In addition to the physical challenges of packing, unpacking, and hauling our belongings from one home to another, the mental and emotional obstacles of relocating may prevent us from moving in the first place. But despite these challenges, moving is oftentimes necessary as we age — especially for those of us who wish to downsize homes. This guide from Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp a division of United Stroke Alliance will help to make the downsizing process as easy as possible!

Find the Right Type of Housing

After making the decision to downsize, you’ll need to compare housing options to find the right home for your senior years.

● Determine whether renting or buying will be best for you.

● If you’re selling a home during the pandemic, learn about
some precautions you should take.

● If community housing is right for you, decide whether you’ll need independent or assisted living.

Prepare to Sell Your Home

Finding a home to grow old in is just the beginning. If you own your current residence, you’ll also need to start preparing your home for sale.

● Look for an experienced real estate agent to help you throughout the process of selling your current home, and if necessary, buying a new property.

Start preparing your home for selling, like making any necessary repairs and decluttering your furniture and other personal belongings.

Donate unwanted items to soup kitchens, shelters, and other charitable organizations in your community.

Move Into Your New Home

Once you’ve received an offer on your current home and found a new place to live, you’ll need to start planning the move into your new house.

● Decide whether to hire professional movers or recruit a few family members on moving day.

Protect your back when packing and moving to reduce your risk of injury.

● Look out for signs of relocation stress syndrome, which often includes changes in weight or eating habits, depression, anger, and anxiety.

● If you’ll need to modify your new home for accessibility purposes, you may be able to finance your renovations with a reverse mortgage, government loan or grant, or personal loan.

Downsizing may seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to focus on the benefits of moving into a smaller, more manageable home. In many cases, you’ll save on living expenses, reduce stress, and have a lot more time and energy to enjoy your favorite hobbies and activities. After all, your senior years are meant to be spent with the ones you love and the activities you enjoy most!

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp can help improve the quality of life of stroke survivors and their caregivers. Call (309)688-5450 to learn more.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Do You Know How To Recognize A Stroke?







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How many of you know how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and know what to do? Maybe you've seen our acronym:

BE-FASTER!

We even have BE-FASTER! copyrighted and it is a registered trademark owned by United Stroke Alliance.

We show it a lot to help people remember what the majority of symptoms are. Do you know what the letters represent?

To help you know and understand what BE-FASTER! means we have created and made available in the USA an app, free of charge, for Android and Apple devices. These apps do not collect, store or download any information on or from your phone.  

Google Play Store(click here --> BE-FASTER! This should take you right to our Android version for downloadng.) If this doesn't work, go to the Google Play store and use the search outlined below.

Apple's Apple Store: (You have to use their store app and use the following search. Apple doesn't have a direct link to it.)  


Search for these letters, BE-FASTER! on the store of your choice. Include the dash and the exclamation point to make sure you find it, and download it to your device. With this always available to you on your device you won't be under pressure to remember all those letters.

Each letter and its symptom on the screen is a button that when tapped will give further explanation of that symptom.


Once a stroke begins to present itself, BE-FASTER! and dial 911 immediately - the more time that is wasted, the more functioning a stroke survivor could lose as a result of the loss of 1,900,000 brain cells a minute. As described above, BE-FASTER! represents the majority of the signs of stroke. Most people in America do not know the signs and do not respond quick enough to receive early treatment to minimize post stroke challenges. One or more of these symptoms could indicate a stroke. And especially if multiple symptoms are present.  

United Stroke Alliance recognizes that each year 700,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke. Approximately 543,000 survive the stroke, many experiencing significant physical limitations as well as emotional and cognitive challenges. For almost everyone, the stroke was not a planned or wanted event. In fact, 80% of Americans that experience a stroke do not respond quick enough because they did not know the signs of stroke. It struck without notice and changed the lives of the family forever.

According to Monroe Clinica national survey commissioned by Ronald Reagan, UCLA Medical Center revealed the startling findings that 75 percent of respondents under age 45 are unaware of, or underestimate, the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Because of this they do not respond quick enough to reduce the effects of the stroke. The web site geisinger.org states the same thing.

With this app, we hope to improve the awareness. Please use it and let your family and friends be aware of it. They could save your life.

















Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Self-Denial A Hallmark Of Christianity by Pastor and Stroke Survivor Phil Bell








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Editor note: Beginning with May, automatic email notification will be discontinued. Today, I received this message from Blogger support: You are receiving this information because your blog uses the FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner).
Recently, the Feedburner team released a system update announcement , that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021.
After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported. 
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Phil Bell is a retired Baptist pastor and stroke survivor. He writes articles for his home town newspaper and permits us to pass them along. This article was meant for the Lenten season but came too late to make that timeframe. There is still, even now, a lot that you might gain from his writing. 

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Street & Steeple for March 26, 2021

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By Phil Bell, retired, pastor, University Baptist Church
“Self-Denial A Hallmark Of Christianity”
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We are in the period of the Christian Calendar known as Lent. Just exactly when is that? It begins on Ash Wednesday (Feb, 17 this year) and lasts for approximately six weeks, ending the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. During Lent many or most Christians give up something they normally would enjoy! The day before Ash Wednesday is sometimes called Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is a day of indulgences before the many days of denial.

Self-denial of the physical is a way to emphasize the Spiritual. In fact, fasting, which has been practiced since Bible times, is for just that purpose. It is intended to be a time in which we stop eating to be devoted to prayer and meditation on the Lord our God. Please note I’m writing of self-denial, not self-degradation. God wants us to have a healthy, humble respect for ourselves! Self-denial starts with Jesus as do most things Spiritual! Consider the words of Paul beginning with Philippians 2:5, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond –servant, and being made in the likeness of a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Here, Paul explains that we, also are to have the same attitude of Jesus, who existed in heaven the second person of the triune God. The Trinity is clearly identified in Scriptures although the word, itself, is not used. We mortals have tried to come up with an analogy to help us try to understand it better, but have never done so successfully. One I like is the player in a baseball game. A Cubs player is a tremendous hitter, artful base runner, and gold glove defensive fielder, but this analogy fails in the sense that not even a Cubs player is all of those things at the same time, as is God is, the Father, God, the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!

Paul was writing of God, the Son, who, in heaven, has existed always and participated in creation with His Father. Why, then, did He choose to come to earth as a mere man? Love is the answer. Love for and obedience to His Father and great love for you and me! Didn’t He give up an awfully lot, I ask you. Yes, you say, but He knew He would be returning to heaven when His work on earth was done, you answer. Yes, He certainly did, but He also knew that while fully a man and fully God, He would endure physical torture both before and on the cross! I hope you’re getting the picture of just how great was and is the love of God for you!

While I can’t give you an example of the trinity I can give you an example of someone having the same attitude of the Christ, the example is my own dear loving wife, Nancy. When, following my massive stroke in January, 2012, I found myself in Heartland Healthcare for nursing and rehabilitation. I was being quite well taken care of, but, Nancy, took me home to be my sole caregiver, knowing she was giving up a life of her own, because she thought that was what was best for me! She even did this even before my insurance coverage for assisted living care had been exhausted. You might say, “Well, that’s what any spouse would do.” Tragically, that isn’t the case. While in Heartland I met a woman, there because of a stroke, like I, whose husband, not only did not take her home to care for, but left her on the day after their twenty seventh wedding anniversary! “Unimaginable,” you react angrily. Yes, but, all too common, I tell you. The attitude and actions of Nancy are those of an obedient Christian, knowing a good deal about self-denial and love!

I guess the opposite of self-denial is probably the overestimation of the importance of oneself. There have been many negative consequences of my disabling stroke nearly ten years ago now. The one I hate most is an insidious one. I find myself thinking and acting as if everything is all about me. I don’t want to have that attitude, but I have come to believe that, most likely, anyone who has lived through a catastrophic event is prone to that syndrome. Of course, we probably all know someone who thinks that, even though having not suffered anything catastrophic.

This clearly cannot be the attitude of an obedient Jesus follower! If you aren’t familiar with the practices of Lent this is still a good time to ask your pastor to tell you more about Lent and prepare for Holy Week; the remembrance of Holy Thursday, thankfulness of Good Friday, and celebration of Easter Sunday! Perhaps, by participating in Lent next year you will, indeed experience for yourself that self-denial is a hallmark of Christianity, just as much as participating in Holy Week is!

Why do we Jesus followers make such a big deal about Holy Week and Easter anyway? Jesus rising from the dead validates what He said about Himself and what was said about Him! Christianity is the only of the world’s major religions with a living leader! That should be evidence enough to believe Him when He said what John records in John 14:6, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus made it clear that there is no other source or religion in which a person can have a relationship with God the Father except by way of Him! Then, all He did to prove it is defeat death by rising from the dead on what we call Easter Sunday!

- Phil Bell, retired, pastor, University Baptist Church

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Police and Tactical Flight Officer's Story

  







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MEDTRONIC ARTICLE

As an active and healthy police and tactical flight officer, 49-year-old Marc Geiger understands that being a first responder can come with its fair share of stress. So when he started experiencing symptoms of atrial fibrillation in early 2020, Marc knew he needed help.

Marc was mid-flight when he felt nausea and arm pain. After landing, medics determined Marc’s blood pressure was high and brought him to the ER in case of a heart attack. Marc’s doctor originally diagnosed him with thoracic impingement syndrome, meaning that some of his blood vessels could have been compressed - likely from a prior shoulder surgery - causing his arm pain and nausea. Marc brushed it off and continued his life.

About a month later, Marc was on another routine flight when he experienced his next incident. He recalled being frustrated as he tried to radio the communications center, “I knew what I wanted to say, but I just couldn’t get the words out. My speech was delayed, and my partner knew something was wrong,” said Marc. He doesn’t remember being taken out of the helicopter by the medics.

Back at the hospital, Marc’s doctors began neurological tests. After days of exams, the official diagnosis came in – Marc had experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a ‘mini-stroke’ that lasts only a few minutes. His doctors talked with him about next steps.

Finding peace of mind – and Atrial Fibrillation

After identifying the TIA, Marc’s physician was concerned he might have atrial fibrillation (AF), a common condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat very fast and irregularly. As a result, blood is not pumped effectively to the rest of the body and may pool and clot. If a clot dislodges, it can travel to the brain and result in a stroke. AF increases the risk of stroke more than five times, but it often goes undetected since it can happen infrequently and without symptoms.

Marc’s physician recommended he receive a Medtronic LINQ IITM insertable cardiac monitor (ICM). LINQ II is a small, wireless ICM for patients at increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms. The device is one-third the size of a AAA battery, placed just beneath the skin in a minimally invasive procedure. By continuously monitoring the heart, LINQ II gives physicians relevant data to help diagnose and define treatment for underlying, infrequent heart conditions like AF.

With the LINQ II ICM continuously monitoring Marc’s heart, he finds peace of mind knowing his physician is recording the data to ultimately figure out next steps for treatment. He feels confident that his LINQ II device will help unlock even more answers to his heart health.

To learn more about ICM’s, visit Medtronic.com/UnexplainedStroke

Sunday, April 4, 2021

GEORGIA'S STORY

  







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Georgia has been a valuable, active member of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp since it's beginning. She has also participated in many other of United Stroke Alliance's activities, especially as an active volunteer at our camps.
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Now take a look at Georgia’s story.

My husband, Larry and I attended the first stroke camp in 2004 as a stroke survivor and caregiver. We enjoyed the camaraderie of being with other survivors and caregivers. It was a phenomenal life changing weekend. The next year we volunteered so we could encourage other survivors and caregivers. The difference I saw in my husband after one of those weekends showed that his life had a purpose. We decided this was our new mission in life. We took a negative experience of Larry’s stroke and made it a positive.

After my family saw our enthusiasm for camp, it quickly became a family affair. In 2008 our youngest daughter, Cheri, joined the staff of volunteers and experienced how camp impacted our lives. Even though Larry is not with us anymore, another daughter and her daughter (our granddaughter) have started volunteering at camps too. In addition, my son-in-law serves as President for the Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp Advisory Board. One life changing weekend led to three generations of volunteers.

Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp is a family mission that has improved all of our lives. We continue volunteering in Larry’s honor because we hope that other stroke survivors and caregivers will find joy, fulfillment, and a purpose as well. Larry would be very proud of our family and pleased to know of the growing list campers who attend camp.

At the end of a camp weekend I am exhausted but inspired and proud that I have the opportunity to share and give hope to at least one attendee, if not many more. I go home grateful for this opportunity.
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Editor's Note: If you are curious about camp, go to rrscb.blogspot.com and look toward the top right of your screen and you'll see printed in red: What Goes On At Camp, Camp Preparation, Day One At Camp, Day Two At Camp and Day Three At Camp.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Message from the United Stroke Alliance CEO








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A message from Larry, the CEO of United Stroke Alliance, a national organization and parent organization of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp (RRSC), Stroke-Out-Stroke(SOS), and Youth Education on Stroke (YES).  
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In the last newsletter, I described the story of one person creating a wave of positive change for thousands of people when Marylee created and implemented the concept of a weekend retreat for stroke survivors, caregivers and their families. After her husband, John, had his stroke in 2001, Marylee searched for resources that could help her navigate the potentially long road to stroke recovery for her and John. After exploring and talking with many people, she thought a weekend retreat would be a great opportunity to meet and support other stroke survivors and caregivers. The first stroke camp was held in 2004. At the end of 2019, 265 stroke camps were coordinated in 25 states. In addition to the stroke camps, stroke awareness programs evolved such as Strike Out Stroke (tm), Youth Education on Stroke (tm), Stronger Than a Stroke (tm), and a video series called, You’ve Had a Stroke, Now What (tm)?

In 2004, she had no idea her initial idea and effort would connect thousands of stroke survivors and their families as well as educate millions of people on the signs of stroke. Most of us would agree that one person creating a national impact is quite unusual and unique….…….or is it?

Sometimes we have specific intent as we connect with people. In these connection we want to express our feelings, good or bad, and other times we have a desire to share ideas or beliefs. However, in some situations we have no idea of the impact. For example, imagine the difference it could make when giving a homeless person a ten-dollar bill, or sharing a kind word with a colleague or just making pleasant conversation with a stranger. Most of the time we do not give these gestures a second thought. Consider the outcome when the homeless person shares a portion of the ten-dollar bill with someone or shares a kind word with another. Suddenly, a single positive gesture becomes two and those two become four. All of us have the capacity to change the world with kindness, respect, and generosity. Now, more than ever we need each person doing their best, in their own way, to change the world.

Some would say, the mountain is too high to climb, but remember the story of small town woman changing the world with one idea. Imagine the world if everyone had their own story.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Living Options for Seniors








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The following information is provided by Harry Cline creator of NewCaregiver.org  The New Caregiver’s Comprehensive Resource offers advice, tips, and solutions from around the web.

Harry Cline is also an author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.
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Living Options for Seniors

How to Make the Right Decision for You

Living options are more plentiful for seniors than ever before; many older adults find that they’re able to stay in their own home and age in place rather than moving to an assisted living facility, while others want to age in community with like-minded adults. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot to think about if you’ve been recovering from a stroke, including how to budget for living costs, whether to sell your current home or rent it out, and how to make your place more accessible and
safe.

Now is the Time to Start Planning

You need plenty of time to weigh your options, prepare for a possible move, and figure out what your next step should be. With such big decisions knocking at your door, it’s important to have a support system in place, so talk to your loved ones to get their opinions and help. This is a great way to reduce stress and make the process go a bit smoother. 

Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market fluctuates quite often, so it’s imperative to get familiar with where it is currently in your area if you’re ready to buy and/or sell. Take a look online to find out the the details about the market details about the market, such as what the average down payment is, update trends, how much homes are going for in your desired neighborhood, and what you might expect to get from your current home. This will not only help you budget if you’re going to downsize, but it will also help you figure out what buyers are looking for so you can make a quick sale.

Consider Accessibility

No matter where you choose to live as an older adult, it’s imperative to consider your home’s accessibility and make sure it’s safe and secure. Think about where your health will be a few years down the road; if you have another stroke, are injured or become sick and mobility is a factor, will you be able to navigate your home safely? Stairs, outdoor steps, and certain types of flooring can quickly become fall hazards for seniors. If you know you want to downsize, you might look for a home that already has accessibility features in place, such as wider doorways and open space to allow for equipment like a wheelchair. If you’re aging in place, you’ll want to 
make at least a few simple modifications to ensure your continued good health. Keep in mind that the average national cost for these modifications is approximately $9,000, though that number can go up or down depending on how much work your home requires.

Consider Assisted Living

These days, there are many different types of assisted living options for older adults. Whether you need home health care, a facility that will help you with daily tasks, or a community where you can remain independent but living among other seniors, there are plenty of choices depending on your needs. Think about your budget, and take a look at your healthcare plan to see if it will help cover the cost of any of these options.

Think About Renting Out Your Home

For many seniors, the cost of downsizing is the thing that makes them wary. However, it’s best not to wait to make a move, as you never know what state your health will be in — in fact, waiting might make things more difficult on you. If cost is a major factor, think about renting out your current home so you’ll have a source of income. Ask a friend or family member to help you set it up; it may take a bit of work to make repairs or updates that will attract renters. 

Making the Right Choice for your Needs

Making the right choice for your needs when it comes to senior living can be a challenge, so think about which option will benefit you the most. Talk to your loved ones during the process so you can get their feedback and support, and give yourself plenty of time to make decisions.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A word of wisdom!

 








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A word of wisdom!

Keep Practicing Your Writing!
by Gopi A. Tejwani, Ph.D.

I suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke, at the age of 62, more than twelve- years back. An AVM in my brain stem ruptured. I was in a coma for two weeks, seven weeks in the hospital, three months in a wheelchair, six months on sick leave, and three years in professional therapy. With the grace of God, family, and friends' support, rehabilitation, and hard work for years, I survived. I am 75 now, still, teach part-time at a major university in Ohio.

While in the rehabilitation hospital, I realized that the stroke has put my body in deep trouble. My all right side of the body, from foot to hand has become very weak. I am right-handed, and all fingers in my right hand are curled up! I could control the thumb in my right hand but none of my other fingers will listen to my command. I could not touch my thumb with any finger. I could not hold a pen in my hand. How can I write? What kind of a teacher I will be who cannot write on a blackboard? These thoughts crossed my mind. I thought my life was over if I cannot write, walk, drive, use a computer or not take care of my daily essential functions. I had so many of these problems, and I will tackle them in other essays. This essay mainly focuses on the writing aspect.

Instead of griping about these problems, I decided to tackle these problems simultaneously. I thought if I cannot write with my right hand, let me practice writing with my left hand. My idea was to write 1,2,3…..,98,99,100 and a,b,c……x,y,z., daily three times on plain paper. I kept writing for over a year with my left hand. I became comfortable writing short sentences with my left hand. I was ecstatic! I could write checks and pay my bills! At the same time, I also started writing with my weak right hand, occasionally. In about two years, my index finger in my right hand started gaining strength. I started practicing writing with my two fingers, my thumb and the index finger, of my right hand. Soon, I noticed that writing with my right hand was neater and more comfortable than my left hand. Nowadays I write with two fingers of my right hand.

Meanwhile, after 7-8 years after my stroke, even the middle finger of my right hand has gained strength to a point that I can control its movement at will. The movement of two little fingers also I can control, but they move always jointly. I cannot control separately the movement of my 4th or 5th, little finger.

Writing with two fingers, thumb, and index finger requires grabbing the pen carefully and writing is not as firm-handed as with three fingers. Now that my middle finger also has gained strength, I am practicing writing with three fingers of my right hand. I aim to be able to write long letters. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Remembering who You’ve Been Is Key to Knowing Who You Are








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+++++++Street & Steeple for February 26, 2021 By Phil Bell, retired, pastor, University Baptist Church

“Remembering who You’ve Been Is Key to Knowing Who You Are”

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How very appropriate is the naming of Macomb’s first black Chief of Police coming in the month of February although he won’t assume the position until later this year when the current chief retires. I congratulate Jerel Jones on his very significant honor and achievement. I have not had the pleasure of meeting him, though I can’t say for sure because I don’t recall all the fine officers who have pulled me over to compliment me on my wonderful driving or some other reason of which I was not guilty!

February is, in fact, Black History Month. Before its end, this European American would like to congratulate all African Americans for their rich heritage of achievements! My personal hero is George Washington Carver. That is because of my love for all things peanut, including peanuts themselves, extra crunchy peanut butter, chocolate covered peanuts & peanut clusters, dry roasted peanuts, peanuts in the shell at Cubs games, princess chicken, and Payday candy bars!

If you aren’t aware, Carver, a black man, was one of this country’s foremost nineteenth century scientists, seeking to discover new crops, for the South, to replace cotton, which would not deplete the soil nearly as much, one of them being peanuts, for which he is best- known. He discovered 300 different uses for them. Interestingly enough, peanut butter was not one of them! Carver is just one of a multitude of African Americans who’ve contributed to this nation’s greatness, a great many of them being legislators, judges, and educators, as well as, more than one of them a pastor, perhaps the best known of all the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!

We in Macomb claim yet another, also deceased, C. T. Vivian. Today, surely Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman are among the few very best actors, as was Cicely Tyson before her untimely death. Our vice president was a very effective senator before embarking upon her current gig.

We who are Asian, European, and Latino Americans, as well as any Antarctican and Australian Americans, ought to be celebrating black history alongside our brothers and sisters of color. No doubt, no race of people have come from a more disadvantaged history to make a name for themselves! Their ancestors were brought here against their will to be enslaved and treated as property. Even after their emancipation the road to full prosperous citizenship was not an easy one, nor is it for them today.

Just why is it necessary to take a month devoted to someone’s history? It is impossible to fully appreciate who you are unless you know and remember who you once were! In fact, the entire Bible book of Deuteronomy is the history of the Israelites following their exodus from Egypt.

Moses knew that for his people to be thankful and obedient to God as fully as they should be in the present they needed to be reminded of how many times God had miraculously protected and blessed them in the past!

It is, also valuable for an individual to know and remember who she or he was to fully understand who he or she is or should be! I don’t know you, but I’d venture a guess that you are either trying to live up to someone or not repeat someone’s mistakes, probably a parent. That can be either good or bad. It is important, though, to know precisely who that person was or your efforts will be in vain!

As an example of what I’m talking about, please consider the following example. My wife, Nancy, was the Macomb Jr. Sr. High School, head librarian. Once, a seventh grade student she had not yet met came to her to check out a book. She recognized his last name to be that of a past student who delighted in trying the patience of the teaching staff. She asked this new student if he was any relation to the previous one. His answer was, “Yes, he’s my father, but I’m nothing like him!” and he wasn’t. Now that was a young man who knew, precisely, who both his father was and who he, himself, was, also!

Each of us would benefit from being so fortunate, at least as far as knowing oneself is concerned. As for me, I’m much like the Israelites. My massive, life changing stroke was, now, a little over nine years ago. Before it I was pastor of University Baptist Church which I considered my dream job because it was where both God and I wanted me. Finally, after only a partial recovery, I announced my retirement knowing I could no longer shepherd the church to either God’s nor my expectations! Since it’s now going on ten years since my stroke, I, quite often, get discouraged and despair that I’ll never fully recover short of heaven.

Nancy has kept a daily journal beginning on the day of my stroke. It helps me, whenever I am so discouraged, when we read through it, to remember how God has graciously reduced my six significant physical abnormalities immediately following my stroke to just the two which persist, a constant pain in my head and paralysis on my entire left side. Even there, God is continuing to bless, having lessened my head pain level from an average of an eight to, in this very last year, a three!

I should know that a God like that can certainly still make me whole again here on earth, but if He chooses to wait until I meet His Son in the clouds, I still know He knows and wants what is best for me, as He always has!

I feared my ministry had ended with the stroke, but God, through MACMA ( Macomb Area Christian Ministers Association ) urging me to still be a part of them, allows me to periodically write these articles which the ”McDonough Voice” graciously publishes every Friday. Because Nancy sends, via email, copies of my articles to family & friends who’ve requested a copy, I now have a ministry in no less than five states in this country and in two countries in Europe! God, in His providence, has expanded my ministry from a small church in just one location, just giving me a different ministry!

I assure you He can and wants to do something similar for you, giving you the desires of your heart. If you’re discouraged and down because of some expectation you have realized may not come to fruition, as I get sometimes, put your hope and trust in the One who is all powerful and all loving!

Each of us, as we consider who we are, must remember that he or she is a product of his or her parents. God doubly blessed me when I was born to evangelical Christian parents who were, also, fanatical Cubs followers! Of course, being born to Christian parents didn’t make me a Christian, but, at an early age, my mother led me to put my faith in Jesus as my Savior and my life under His control as my Lord.

All of us must remember that all of life is connected. Our past is responsible for our present which will decide our future! Of course we can’t change the past which makes what we do in the present very important! God cares about that, also.

Ephesians 5:15 – 16 reads, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Each of us, when faced with a decision and before every action, should take time to ask him or herself, “In light of my past experiences, current situation, and future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?” The question is not the “right” thing to do, but “wise!” Something can be right and still not be wise.

Paul, speaking of our freedom in Christ, wrote, All things are legal, but not all things are profitable. As for us who are Jesus followers, Paul wrote that before being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we were self seeking sinners intent on fulfilling our fleshly desires, but now, as Christians, ought not to be that way any longer, rather, exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit! I have to admit that I am, too often, still intent upon fulfilling my ever expanding flesh(ly) desire for food! I ought not be that way, knowing from whence I’ve come.

The thing about the past is that we must leave it behind. Some of us are only too happy to do that while others of us wished we still lived there, but none of us can! I hope I’ve convinced you that the present is all you have, at this time, and how important it is that you use your time wisely because what you do now will direct who you are in the future. It is so very true that knowing who you were is the key to knowing who you are!

- Phil Bell, retired, pastor, University Baptist Church

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Bill Jolley Member Story

 








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The following is from the discontinued StrokeNet Newsletter site.
Bill Jolley is a stroke survivor and was a Newsletter contributor at that time. I have permission from Lin Wisman, then editor of the newsletter, to repost these wonderful articles on this blog. 

Coordinated by Deb Theriault
Member Story Coordinator

Bill, who stroked in 2003, has spend several years recreating his life. Read about it!
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Member Story
by Bill Jolley



Dr. William (Mr. Bill) Jolley was a teacher by profession. Over his long career, he climbed the ladder of academia, assuming roles of increasing responsibility as a public school teacher, assistant principal, high school principal and, finally, director of a charter school program.

But, in 2003, Mr. Bill was involuntarily retired by a hemorrhagic stroke that hit the left side of his brain. With the help of his ex-wife, Gretchen, his family, friends and his beloved pet Chihuahua, Bill re-tooled his post-stroke world into a satisfying “life-part-2”.

Bill’s story begins in July, 2002. Back then, he was 44 years old and weighed 460 lbs., so he underwent gastric bypass surgery to kick-start a serious weight reduction program. One year later, Bill had additional surgery, to reduce a huge amount of loose skin around his midsection (a side-effect of weight loss). Three days after that, on July 24, 2003, Bill experienced his stroke.

Bill doesn’t remember the stroke or its aftermath. He was at Covenant Hospital, in Lubbock, Texas, for one week, then in rehab at Covenant Medical Center for three months. Afterwards, he was discharged to the care of Gretchen, who took him in for a year, until he was able to fend for himself. Bill maintains a close relationship with Gretchen since their divorce, saying she’s the best friend he’ll ever have. His family also encouraged him to get a companion pet, so Bill got a six-week-old Chihuahua puppy, named Sasha, who is still with him to this day. Bill’s support team was now complete.

Immediately post-stroke, Bill was paralyzed on the right, mentally incapacitated, and aphasic. But, once things settled and he entered rehabilitation, Bill mounted a massive recovery effort. Within three months, he could transfer himself from bed to the restroom without assistance, though he still used a wheelchair. This milestone was a real life changer, Bill’s greatest achievement since his stroke.

For two years, Bill continued out-patient therapy, three times a week, at Lubbock Neurological Center, then on-and-off treatment, for eight more years, at Lubbock’s South Plains Rehab center. Over that time, he explored many different remedies:

● Physical, speech, balance and life-skills therapies

● Botox® injections for spasticity on the right side

● Water therapy, which he still does, using special flotation devices

● Bioness® and similar devices, to stimulate function in his right arm and leg. Bill even worked as a “therapy model” for Bioness® Corp. and other companies, demonstrating therapeutic devices to patients and therapists

● Dragon® NaturallySpeaking speech software, which he still uses

● Computer games to boost analytical skills

A couple years post-stroke, Bill searched for things to make his life more useful. He decided being one-armed, with a paralyzed right hand, wasn’t going to slow him down.He took on every home repair project he could, using only his left side. Over time, he accumulated numerous custom-designed tools for a left-handed, one-armed individual. He ended up with so many he converted his garage into a workshop to store them all. Bill also owns a variety of landscaping equipment that he uses to maintain his lawn, as well as Gretchen’s and others’. He enjoys the yard work and feels it’s therapeutic.

Returning to work as a school administrator wasn’t an option, so Bill set his sights on other interests, and addressed goals that were put on the “backburner.” He completed his dissertation for a Doctorate of School Administration, which was postponed years before (though he knew he’d never use it), and rekindled a previous interest in photography. He especially enjoys capturing images of some very unusual subjects: tombstones.

Over the last few years, Bill’s been to approximately 100 small cemeteries throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas, where he’s tried to take photos of every tombstone, in every cemetery he’s visited. His latest excursion was to Texas County, Oklahoma, where he and Gretchen explored nearly 25 different cemeteries. Bill even wrote two books about some of the graveyards he’s surveyed.

Two years ago, Bill also began attending an aphasia support group run by Texas Tech University. They helped him regain some mental capacity, which he feels has been the most-overlooked part of his recovery program. The staff also helped Bill to significantly reduce the effects of pseudo-bulbar affect (PBA), where he will laugh for no reason, or at inappropriate times.

Looking back, Bill feels that his stroke changed who he is in some interesting ways. He was always very left-brained and analytical, but post-stroke he was rendered almost totally right-brained. That should have been an asset when he decided to take up painting, but Bill only produced three or so works, which he gave away to family, before putting his artistic aspirations aside.

However, despite his brain’s left hemisphere being impaired, Bill can still play chess, even though he’s been reduced from “rated player” to “novice.” He plays nearly every day (via the internet) with Dr. John Gribbin, the noted physicist who lives in England. To Bill, winning or losing is no longer important, but rather, it’s the interaction and fellowship that matter.

Eleven years removed from his stroke, Bill feels he’s still carving out a “new normal”. But, he’d like to give hope to other stroke survivors as they navigate their own long, difficult journeys. He’s had more than a decade to think about it, and to consolidate his experience into the following advice:

● Decide what’s truly important in your life, and follow that with as much passion as you can muster

● If you set your mind to it, there is nothing you cannot do, even if you’ve had a massive stroke

● You may not be able to do some things you used to love doing, but take full advantage of what you still can do

● Don’t be concerned about things you can’t control

● Tough things are sometimes difficult, and occasionally counterproductive, never give up on the challenge

● Above all else, enjoy whatever you do
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Copyright ©February 2015
The Stroke Network, Inc.
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