Stroke Recovery

I recently received a guest blog form Drugwatch.com. They are new to me, but I feel information is always important so I decided to post this blog and let you decide. Medication decisions should be made with your personal doctor and be sure you are comfortable with the advice you are receiving. My rule of thumb is to listen to your doctor or get a second opinion.
Recovering from a Stroke.
More than 7 million people in the United States have survived a stroke. Some of these people are able to begin rehabilitation as early as two days after a stroke. A post-stroke treatment plan and medications can help prevent recurrent strokes. Approaching these decisions with patience and courage will assist families as they begin their first steps in the recovery process.
Types of Rehabilitation Facilities.
Finding an appropriate facility is based on the severity of the stroke and the resulting capabilities of each patient. The goal of rehabilitation for all stroke survivors is to improve one’s ability to function. Rehabilitation options are available at the following locations:
• A Rehabilitation Unit in the Hospital
• A Subacute Care Unit
• Home Therapy with or without Outpatient Therapy
• Long-Term Care Facility

Medication to Prevent Recurrent Strokes.
In addition to physical therapy, the recovery process is likely to include medication. Stroke prevention medication is important, as a second stroke may be more severe than the first and result in debilitating or fatal injuries. There are many medications available, but three categories of medication have proven to be effective for stroke prevention:
Anti-platelet Agents – These stop platelets, which are blood cells, from sticking together and forming blood clots. These are recommended for ischemic strokes, which occur when arteries are blocked. Anti-platelet agents include Aspirin, Plavix and Dipyridamole.
Anti-hypertensives – These reduce blood pressure, which lowers the risk of both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when there is bleeding in the brain. Anti-hypertensive drugs include Cozaar, Hyzaar and Micardis.
Anticoagulants – These reduce the risk of blood clots developing and prevent existing blood clots from getting bigger. Anticoagulants, commonly referred to as blood thinners, include Warfarin, Xarelto and Pradaxa.
Risks Associated with Blood Thinners
It’s important that patients recovering from a stroke, and their families, understand the risks associated with medications. Blood thinners can be particularly hazardous, as they inhibit the blood from clotting, allowing minor accidents to escalate and become life-threatening. Because of this danger, every effort must be made to avoid even small cuts and any activities that can lead to bruising and hemorrhaging.
[Note: The section below represents the opinion of Drug watch and I cannot confirm or deny that they are correct]
Pradaxa (dabigitran) puts patients at a greater risk than other blood thinners, as it has been linked to numerous bleeding incidents and heart problems. Unlike with warfarin, which responds to Vitamin K treatment in case of emergency, there is no antidote for bleeding when taking Pradaxa. In 2011, the drug was associated with 542 deaths. Studies also show an increased risk of heart failure and heart disease compared with warfarin.
Nearly 200 people have filed lawsuits against Pradaxa manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, after experiencing side effects such as hemorrhaging. These have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Drugwatch.com, specializing in breaking news about prescription drugs, medical devices and consumer safety.

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Christmas

Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.”
~ Charlotte Carpenter.

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The Biology of Support

Feeling stuck and paralyzed? You are not alone.

I’ve you’ve read my story, you’ll recall I was unable to do anything but blink after a massive brain stem stroke left me paralyzed. With the help of a great medical team, therapists and my family I learned to focus not on what was impossible, but on all that was possible.

I use that motto as a guiding force, constantly reminding myself to appreciate all that I am able to do. Does that mean that I never feel stuck? No. I have my good days, and my bad.

Currently, this non-scientist is taking on college biology. I must admit, I have not taken to it ‘like a duck takes to water’. In fact, I was just about ready to quit, until my youngest took me aside for a much needed pep-talk.

She reminded me of who I am, how far I have come, and what I am capable of doing. In times of doubt it is important to lean on family or friends for some much needed support. Make it a priority to surround yourself with people who build you up, and in return be sure to do the same!

After talking with my daughter, my thinking was redirected and instead of wallowing in my perceived powerlessness, I focused on all the proactive things I could be doing to achieve my goal. I did not quit, remembering once again that emotional paralysis is optional. Power is a choice.

So, let me take a second to remind you of who you are, where you have been and what you can do. You are powerful, capable beings. Remember that the next time you are feeling paralyzed!

As they say in Galaxy Quest, “Never Give up. Never Give in!”

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The impact our words can have

More often than not, my engagements have me speaking to large audiences. Recently, I was speaking to Emerald Health celebrating their 10 year anniversary and addressing a small crowd. I love small audiences as it gives me a chance to interact with people on a more personal level. I had an emotional conversation with an audience member who was struggling with depression and finding purpose in their life. If I had ever met someone emotionally paralyzed – this person fit that description. I was extremely moved as they shared the impact my speech had left on them. Woven into my message were the simple words, “Focus on what you can do. Focus on what you have, not what you have lost,” and they had proven to be powerful words indeed. The woman’s spirit was renewed with hope as she remarked how she would now begin to move forward in her life. What a touching reminder that was; it all starts with a tiny first step.

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National Rehabilitation Awareness

National Rehabilitation Awareness Week is September 16-22nd, it’s a week I hold near and dear to my heart. It celebrates the role rehabilitation plays in helping people with disabilities return to their daily activities. Recovering from our disabilities may leave us packaged a little differently, but we are still the same people you know and love on the inside. I personally want to recognize the doctors, nurses, therapists and medical staff who helped me along on my journey to regain my life after the one in a million chance of surviving a brainstem stroke. Without their help, and my family, I would not be where I am today; the author of Paralyzed but not Powerless, and an international speaker.

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Focus on what you CAN do

If there was ever a time that a message on dealing with paralysis is needed… it is today. I feel blessed being able to make a small difference by sharing my story with audiences across the country.
Having faced odds of over a million to one, my bright tomorrow quickly turned into a dark timeless tunnel. I am not overwhelmed by the very real depression I see the country going through. I know how hard things are for many people especially those I recently met on my travels. Focus on you what you can do and not on what you have lost.

We may have a disabled economy at the moment but remember, disabled in one area is enabled in another!

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Interview with Maarten Buow of Straight 2 DVD

This interview is reprinted from the Straight 2 DVD blog. View the original post here.

What I love about this site is that it gives me the ability to communicate with a whole range of people. Firstly I wanted to interview movie stars and celebrities. I’ve since gone on to interview astronauts, directors, and writers.

This interview is something special though.

For those of you not familiar with Kate’s story I ask that you read, and I hope you enjoy.

My interview with Kate Adamson

 1. What motivates you?

I had one in a million chances to survive from a stroke that completely paralyzed me. I could do nothing but blink my eyes and communicate with blinking to the alphabet to spell out words. So I look at life so differently now. I love being able to share my experience and touch those who are going through any kind of adversity. I also like to touch those who may not be facing adversity but feel stuck and paralyzed in their lives. I have been given a second chance at life and try to make the most of it. By focusing on others the focus is taken off me. As the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!

 2. Were there any butterflies in your stomach the first time you spoke publically?

Yes! And I still get butterflies in my stomach but being prepared really helps, taking a deep breath and remembering it’s about the message I am there to deliver. As a kid growing up in New Zealand my parents had enrolled us in speech lessons [elocution]. During our school holidays we entered speech and drama competitions. So I guess the seed was planted a long time ago. I have a twin sister and she would start crying the minute she had to go on stage, my mother would grab me and push me out on stage. I had no time to get nervous. Fast forward 30 years and here I am back on stage in front of people.

3. What can people get from hearing you speak on motivation?

After hearing my story and how I over came complete paralysis people can then apply what I learned in their own lives by focusing on what they CAN do and not focusing on what they can’t do. My story truly motivates and inspires people.

 4. I’ve never been so I thought I’d ask, what is New Zealand really like?

Well my friend, it’s a fairly quick flight for you and I remember years ago a T.V. ad showing the countryside and the words, “Don’t leave home without seeing the country first.” It is stunning with plenty to do but just as equally beautiful are the people. There’s nothing like the Kiwi’s.

5. What’s coming up next?

Right now I am recording the audio version of my book Paralyzed but not Powerless. It is exciting to record this in my own voice with a somewhat hint of a Kiwi accent. Many stroke survivors are not able to read after their stroke and this allows them to hear a story of hope and encouragement. Stroke Awareness month is fast approaching here in the United States and my calendar is full with travel.

 6. Is there a particular charity you would like to bring to my readers’ attention?

I think your National Stroke Foundation in Australia. Stroke week will be from September 10th through the 16th of 2012. This is a great time to learn about stroke and know the risk factors. Usually one thinks of someone older having a stroke but many young people have strokes.

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Move Forward

It’s 2012. Feeling paralyzed and stuck already? You can only achieve success if you are moving forward.

You and I are in Los Angeles. We decide to go to New York. I decide to take a plane you start walking. Who will get there first?

You will.

I only decided to go – you went. Maybe you can only take a few small steps a day, but if you keep stepping you will get there.

I never will.

Start by focusing on what you can do. Need some inspiration?

Read my book “Paralyzed but not Powerless.”

Imagine being totally paralyzed and unable to do anything but blink your eyes. You’ve heard my story. Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do I chose to focus on what I could do. It wasn’t much. I could only blink my eyes. But that I could do, and that I did.

The simple act of blinking my eyes was the first tiny step towards my goal of walking and talking again.

Today I walk.
And they can’t shut me up.

What is your tiny first step?

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