Monday, December 28, 2020

3-year-old Suffers Stroke



The following is from the Central Illinois Proud website:

3-year-old suffers stroke from COVID-19; doctors, family call recovery best Christmas present ever

by: Emily Manley

Posted: Dec 27, 2020 / 05:26 PM CST / Updated: Dec 27, 2020 / 05:26 PM CST

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KTVI) — A family and a team of doctors at the University of Missouri Health Care are calling the recovery of a 3-year-old boy the best Christmas present ever after the boy had COVID-19, which caused a stroke.

“We thought we were going to lose him for sure,” said Tim Parris, father of Colt Parris. “I don’t care how tough you are; you will cry. You can’t help it when it’s your 3-year-old laying there.”

It’s something no parent ever wants to go through.

“His behavior was quite different and the pain that your child is in, I can’t even put into words,” said Sara Parris, Colt’s mother. “You couldn’t even touch him and not know that it wasn’t hurting him.”

For more than a week, Tim and Sara have been inside MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Columbia as their 3-year-old son lies in a hospital bed.

“Just trying to explain to him why I’m holding him down,” Tim said. “Nurses are trying to stick needles in his feet. The pain that he has. You couldn’t touch him for several days because he was so swollen, and his body just hurt everywhere.”

Last week, Colt stopped eating and drinking. His mom took him to a local clinic near their hometown of Salisbury, Missouri, where he tested negative for COVID. The clinic recommended the family go to the hospital.

“They did get a test back by the time we were admitted and that’s when we got the positive antibody to know that it was COVID,” Sara said.

Hours later, Sara noticed something different about her son.

“I noticed Wednesday his speech was a little off, but I honestly thought he’s in so much pain and he’s so tired,” Sara said.

Then she started to notice he lost the ability to move his right arm and leg when she tried to hand him his stuffed animal.

“So, I went to hand him his Boo and I noticed that he didn’t use his dominate arm to grab it,” Sara said. “He reached over to grab his bunny and then again, I knew something else wasn’t right.”

After running test, doctors told the family Colt had a blockage in his brain.

“The result came back and I looked at it and it was a clear stroke,” said MU Health Care Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Paul Carney, who diagnosed the little boy. “So, there was a lack of blood supply to the left side of the brain.”

Carney said he’s been practicing for 20 years and has never seen anything like this.

“What was different here was a child and as I mention, there’s really no other case like this,” Carney said. “If this had been anybody over the age of 40 or 60, they would have probably had a very different outcome.”

Later Wednesday night, MU Healthcare Neurologist Dr. Camilo Gomez used a treatment called a thrombectomy to remove the colt from Colt’s brain.

“The COVID diagnosis is important because we think the reason why this patient with COVID, including the child, have strokes and a variety of other problems is that they have propensity to form clots,” Gomez said.

Once the procedure was over, Sara said she immediately noticed a difference in her son.

“He came out of the sedation period and his speech was there, his words were there,” Sara said. “It wasn’t clear, but it was more than Wednesday morning.

Carney said through his research, he’s found one other case like Colt’s, but the child didn’t survive.

“I would say that if you notice your child has COVID and having problems walking or talking, don’t just chalk it up, ‘oh they just have a fever,'” Carney said. “It could be a nervous system problem.”

Colt’s parents hope their story will make other aware of COVID-19.

“Masks and stuff like that, people need to wear them,” Tim said. “It’s important. If you don’t’ want your children going through this, people need to be more aware.”

Carney wants people to know this can happen to anyone.

“When children do get it, do get COVID, it seems like they have more system or systemic problems involving their heart, in particular, which can be life long,” Carney said. “It can scar the heart.”

Now the goofy, silly and energetic three-year-old boy is on the road to recovery.

“Like you said, we already had our Christmas,” Sara said. “It’s sitting on the bed there in the room. I don’t think we could have asked fr anything more than that.”

Sara and Tim both said they don’t know where Colt contracted the virus. Earlier this year, the Parris’ started homeschooling their children to avoid any outside contact.

“In our situation, we minimized public interaction to our highest extent,” Sara said. “We don’t go out and so, in our head, it can’t be COVID because we’re not around anyone.”

Doctors say Colt is going to make a full recovery with the hopes of him going home to his three older siblings next week. He will be in rehab for his ability to move his right leg, arm, and for his speech.

The Parris said they can’t thank the team at MU Women’s and Children’s hospital enough. Their son might not be alive today without them.

“That team is the most amazing, phenomenal people,” Sara said.

Carney said Colt is not at risk for any more strokes because of this and he will be on a blood thinner or aspirin for the next six months.
Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Stroke and Young Children


The following is an article originally posted on the now discontinued website called StrokeNet. They published a monthly newsletter. Their articles are still very useful today. With the permission of their then editor, Lin Wisman, I am able to repost them on my site.

The following article was written and published on the StrokeNet Newsletter web site by David Wasielewski. David is a stroke survivor and was a member of the StrokeNet staff.

by David Wasielewski

As we all know strokes can happen at any age. Young and middle age adults who survive stroke often have families with young children who need to deal with the challenges that a stroke brings to the family life. This begins with the initial trauma and crisis associated with the event and continues with the challenges of changing home life and relationships that become part of the stroke survivor’s life.

Explaining what is happening to a child presents a particular challenge. Sudden changes in routine, trips to the hospital and conversations with strange doctors about illness and strokes are frightening for a child. The child’s sensitivities and ability to understand what has happened and what might happen in the crisis need to be carefully dealt with.

It is probably a time where a skilled professional should be consulted but is also a time when those folks are not usually sought out. The unprepared adults are often left to their own devices to deal with the situation as best as they can. How does an adult family member reframe a stroke in ways that the child might understand? How do we help a child cope with the crisis even when we adults are often unable to hold it together as the situation unfolds?

This is not something we, as parents typically prepare for. The effects of stroke are emotional, social and economic and need to be addressed in terms a child can understand. One paper describes stroke as a family illness as all aspects of family life are affected by the short and long term changes it brings. A much as the family might try to shield a child from the trauma that child will eventually need to deal with the reality that stroke brings to the family routine, both near and long term.

Questions about how best to explain stroke, and its aftermath, to children?

Some suggestions follow:

1. Explain what a stroke is in language that is not misleading but in words that the child can comprehend (eg, a blood vessel taking blood to the brain wasn’t healthy and it bled or burst which meant the brain didn’t get enough blood for a while)

2. Explain the consequences – the brain controls the way we move, think and talk, so after a stroke people often move, think and talk differently

3. Even when the person who has had a stroke comes home from hospital they might have to see the doctor, or other people who can help them, a lot and they may not be able to do the same things they did before the stroke

4. Fatigue post-stroke is a major issue for many stroke survivors – make sure the child knows that the family member might need a lot of rest to get better

5. It can take a long time for someone to get better after a stroke

The UK stroke association provides a Guide for explaining stroke to a 9 year old. It breaks the details into words and concepts the child can understand.

Families with young children might consider speaking with a professional psychologist about the effects a stroke have on children and the family dynamic. Psychologists are often readily available at the hospital, especially in rehab units. It is important to consider the child’s unique situation and needs even as the adults in the family struggle themselves to adjust to the changes that strokes bring to their lives.

Copyright @January 2015
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Keeping on Track


The following is an article originally posted on the now discontinued website called StrokeNet. They published a monthly newsletter. Their articles are still very useful today. With the permission of their then editor, Lin Wisman, I am able to repost them on my site.

Rachel Stolz, the author of this article, was a member of the StrokeNet staff.

Keeping on Track
By Rachel Stolz

I went to donate blood for the first time post stroke about a month ago. I thought for certain my iron levels would be low due to the fact I’m a vegetarian (have been since I was a teenager). Turns out, my iron levels were above average. I was happy to hear that and started to think about what changes I’ve been making nutritionally since having a stroke that raised my levels up to where they should be.

This article will focus on the importance of nutrition for maintaining mental and physical health post stroke. (Side note: When I went to donate blood I also registered to be a bone marrow donor. I felt like I would love to donate if I were ever a match for someone in need. I submitted the paperwork and found out a short time later I was denied due to having a stroke. It never crossed my mind that I would be denied for such a thing. Banned for life. Bummer!)

I’ve written before about the importance of exercise for maintaining a positive mental outlook and also for the physical benefits. I have always been an active person…. Walking my dogs, swimming, cardio, lifting weights, however, I have never been the healthiest eater. Part of that is due to the fact I exercised a lot and could eat more or less what I wanted. That included a LOT of breads, pastas, and other carbs. It’s easy to carb load when you’re a vegetarian!

Everything changed when I had my aneurysm surgery and subsequent strokes. I still maintained some level of exercise, but due to my depressed state of mind and lack of energy, I was lying around more than ever. This led to me consuming more food than ever and I tended to snack throughout the day.

I think it was a comfort and I was becoming emotionally dependent on food. I easily gained 35 pounds over the course of a year and I kept that weight on for much longer. I threw out my scale because it was a reminder of how much I’d gained. No matter how miserable I felt about the weight gain, I couldn’t seem to shake the bad eating habits I’d developed.

Two things helped me get out of my slump and back on track (almost 3 years later). The first thing I did was go and see a GI doctor because I was having some upper digestive issues and acid reflux. The doctor told me without hesitation that I needed to lose some weight; that even 10 pounds would make a difference and probably clear up a lot of my GI issues and reflux.

The second thing that helped was watching a good friend of mine who was morbidly obese start going to the gym and counting calories. She dropped 60 pounds within 6 months. I saw how motivated she was and decided to follow her lead. I began tracking my calories in a phone app to keep me honest.

It was very difficult at first to stay within my allotted calories, but I figured as long as I was getting close, it was still less than what I had been consuming. As I gradually got used to snacking less and making healthier choices, it did become a bit easier and I was able to keep my calorie consumption within a more normal range.

The next step was buying a scale. This was scary to me because I had actively avoided the scale (besides doctor’s visits) for quite some time. I was shocked the first time I stepped on the scale but I resolved to let it be a motivator and not view the number in a negative light.

I had contact with my friend on a daily basis via text about what steps we were taking to become healthier and just checking in to help keep us on track. I started eating less carbs and more vegetables and protein. Veggie burgers have really come a long way! Daily multivitamins along with some natural additions like apple cider vinegar and healthy protein bars really helped me feel physically better. Along with moderate workouts, I finally saw the scale begin to move in the right direction. Although you could see the physical changes I was making, the emotional changes were even greater.

I began feeling like my old self again, not shying away from photos being taken, and just all around feeling more comfortable in my own skin. My confidence levels were bouncing back and my overall outlook brightened. I believe the combination of healthier eating coupled with losing the excess pounds did wonders for my mental health and self-esteem.

I have now lost the 35 pounds I gained after falling ill and am back at my 2011 pre-stroke weight. It has been a challenge to lose that weight, but the more you focus on your goals the easier it becomes. My motivation is not just the physical aspect of weight loss, but wanting to be as healthy as I can to prevent any future health issues, to include having another stroke. Some days are still a struggle to eat mindfully and healthfully and treating yourself occasionally is okay. On those difficult days, I remind myself how lucky I am to have the chance to turn my health around and I grab my apple with a smile on my face.
Rachel had surgery for a brain aneurysm in 2011 when she was 33 years old. After surgery, she suffered strokes throughout the right hemisphere of her brain to include the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, and parietal lobe. Rachel is fully recovered and runs her own investigations and security company. She and her husband also own a public safety communications business and reside in Oklahoma City.

Copyright ©November 2015
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Surviving and Thriving Through the Holidays


The following is an article originally posted on the now discontinued website called StrokeNet. They published a monthly newsletter. Their articles are still very useful today. With the permission of their then editor, Lin Wisman, I am able to repost them on my site. 

Lin Mouat, the author, contributed this article to the StrokeNet Newsletter.
Surviving and Thriving Through the Holidays
By Lin Mouat

I love everything about preparing for the holidays - from card sending to goody cooking, wrapping gifts, and my special favorite, decorating our home and tree. I'm just a kid when it comes to the magic of lights displays, community festivities and holiday music.

However, three years ago, two strokes changed the way I experience the holidays. In the beginning I honestly believed I could still do all of the things I used to do for the season but I soon found out that I am not the person I used to be.

That first post-stroke holiday was very bitter-sweet. Nothing was the same and many of the traditions I had so treasured fell by the wayside. But at least I was alive. I can't pretend that these changes were easy. Depression seemed to meet me at every turn and it took all of my strength to not give in to it completely.

Adapting what works for each stroke survivor is unique but the following are a few helpful things I've learned over the past three years.

• Keep expectations realistic. Make a plan (daily, weekly, etc) that fits your energy and prioritize. What I can get done on paper greatly exceeds the physical reality. Keeping your expectations is vital.

• Schedule tasks for the period of time when you function best. Since I am not a morning person but I function best in the morning, it takes careful planning in order to honor these conflicting truths.

• Simplify. For example, for holiday entertaining you can give each guest one or more items to bring. Many large grocery stores offer fully prepared meals, complete with all of the trimmings. All you do is reheat the food, sit back, and enjoy.

The first time we tried this, I was sure the food couldn't be as good as home cooked. And I was right, it wasn't "as good" but it was good enough and was a good trade for a stress free holiday meal.

• Resting. I have heard it called preemptive resting, which is a good way for stroke survivors to look at rest. Taking frequent rests, lets your body continue healing and rest allows you to accomplish more. Scheduling those rest periods into the day makes resting a more natural part of our lives. This preemptive resting is especially important as you negotiate the holidays.

• Pacing. In order to pace yourself during the holidays, you may need to say "no" to some of the requests you once accepted. Pacing is a key element of surviving the holidays.

• Allow extra time for tasks. Some of the things you have done without a lot of thought will suddenly seem daunting. Take your time, try to relax and accept the challenge of doing things differently.

My mother had a withered arm due to childhood polio and I don't remember anything she couldn't do. She taught me something that has been very important to me since my strokes. "You can do anything anyone else can do, you just have to find a different way to do it."

• Accept help. When someone offers me help, I often brush it off with "No thanks, I can do it." Most of us are used to being independent and in the wake of our strokes, our need to feel independent is especially dear. However, accepting help means more energy for the next task on your list. And it also offers the other person the opportunity to give the gift of helping.

Additional tips for making the holiday easier:

• Use the motorized carts that most grocery stores keep available,

• Shop during off hours, avoiding the busy times. Early mornings and evenings are usually less hectic.

• Take your list shopping with you and stick to it.

• For your gift shopping, shop by catalog or on the Internet. If grocery shopping is too taxing, groceries can often be ordered on the Internet, too. Check local stores for their delivery services. This leaves you with energy to concentrate on other things.

• To simplify gift wrapping, use gift bags.

• Have a cookie exchanging party. Each guest brings one or two dozen kinds of cookies, bringing enough for each guest to have at least one dozen.

• Use pre-printed Christmas cards. If possible, make address labels.

• For your gift shopping, if possible, shop on the Internet. If grocery shopping is too taxing, utilize delivery services. This leaves you with energy to concentrate on other things.

• Keep a stack of magazines and catalogs for your guests to peruse while you complete your dinner preparations.

During the past three years, I have found out that different does not necessarily mean bad. Different is simply different.

Copyright @December 2007
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
All rights reserved.