Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another study confirms need for stroke awareness

Have you had a stroke? Know someone who has?

Then you probably already know the problem. People aren't aware of stroke signs and are not quick enough to react. Here's a snippet from a article about a recent study, showing how awareness of stroke symptoms can improve recovery:

A new study shows most stroke patients don't think they're having a stroke, and as a result don't get medical attention until their condition gets worse.

Researchers studied 400 patients who were diagnosed at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic emergency department with two different kinds of strokes. Only 42 percent thought they were having a stroke and most didn't even go to the emergency room when the symptoms appeared.

So remind those around you of the stroke symptoms - here they are from the American Stroke Association. And when you see the symptoms, act quickly. Here's another link from the National Stroke Association.

Monday, November 24, 2008

From the No Kidding Department...

A recent headline from U.S. News and World Report:

Specialized stroke care improves outcomes. From the article of Nov. 20, 2008:

Stroke patients treated at community hospitals with specialized stroke care and telemedicine support from major stroke centers are more likely to survive and live independently than patients treated at hospitals without stroke units, a German study finds.

It's vital to get stroke patients to the right place or in communication with the right people. Ideally both. This can be crucial in the outcome of a stroke.

As Thanksgiving Day gets closer, I give the Lord thanks that I was able to get into the hands of people who knew exactly what to do.

Monday, November 17, 2008

And the light will guide your way

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

I received a gift last Christmas - a light attached to an elastic band. The idea is to wear it around your head while working or moving.

What's the point of that? Well, during some times of the year, and on some days no matter what the time of the year, I run before dawn, and without light, it's easy to stumble. This small light has prevented countless falls.

Just like the little light, God's word lights the way for stroke survivors and caregivers. When it seems the darkness is impenetrable, when it seems you can't help but stumble, find the light. Listen to the word, study the word, pray with the word.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Running the daily race with perseverance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

"[L]et us run with perseverance" is good advice in all pursuits, but especially in pursuits of faith. But the writer of Hebrews didn't stop there - we need to have some goals and aims, too, so the writer added "the race marked out for us."

Photo below shows my recent finish, along with one of my daughters, of the Bass Pro Shops Conservation Marathon in Springfield, Mo. That was the race marked out that day. But one day - an actual race or not - is just a part of the entire races marked out for us all.

The "cloud of witnesses" the writer refers are all the historical figures who had come before, listed in Hebrews 11 as examples of lives that Christians should attempt to emulate, all designated as lives lived "by faith."

Stroke survivors, caregivers and loved ones often have difficult races marked out. Faith and the support of fellow believers can make a real difference. No surprise for those with faith, and for outside evidence, there's an American Heart Association article.

So, "by faith," are we running our races with perseverance, following the marks? And supporting those who are running the race of stroke recovery?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Straining toward the goal - no matter what

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Many stroke survivors know what it's like to strain forward in recovery.

I had my own experience pressing toward a goal on Sunday, Nov. 2, finishing the Bass Pro Shops Conservation Marathon in Springfield, Mo. Didn't set a world record but did set a personal record of 4:40:38, which is better than 15 minutes faster than my last effort, pre-stroke in 1997.

Regardless of one's physical level, there's a goal we can strain for. The goal is winnable for all - as Paul's first sentence above talks about, it's not about being "perfect." But a perfect life with Christ is the ultimate prize.