Thursday, December 31, 2015

'Therefore we will not fear ...'

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
I recently became aware of a friend who is in a real struggle right now - betrayed and abused.

Now think - anyone in your life who currently faces trouble or fear? Yourself?

I know many stroke survivors face trouble on a daily basis. I've been there - feeling vulnerable and weak. Some feel it physically. Others struggle with speech problems, memory, vision and more.

Vulnerable? God is your refuge, a safe place in a storm. Weak (physically, mentally or, most important, spiritually)? God is your strength.

Reach out to God. He is with you, through those times of trouble. If you struggle how, reach out to friends of faith until you find ways to relate to God.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Singing for stroke patients - aphasia therapy

I've previously told my story about how singing seemed to help in my recovery from aphasia, an effect of my 1998 stroke.

Now, here's another story of how singing does stroke patients good:
Photo from Scott W. Vincent via Flickr
In a hospital atrium at Mount Sinai Beth Israel this week, a choir gave its first public performance. Wearing light-up necklaces and accompanied by drums and guitar, the performers rang bells and sang such holiday classics as “Silver Bells” and “Joy to the World,” occasionally breaking out in harmony.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Dead to hope? Jesus offers you his own 'Lazarus effect'

[This was originally posted Dec. 24, 2009; revised in 2014]
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said.
"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."
Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

A few years ago (2008), I heard a presentation by one of the doctors responsible for making tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) available to stroke patients.

In my own 1998 experience, I could not speak, I could not move my right arm or leg - but after the clot-busting tPA, I regained those abilities. It was a dramatic experience. The doctor called it "the Lazarus effect."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

'Be strong and take heart'

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Impatience - the story of my life.

I'm better than I used to be but still struggle with impatience. I avoid some things because of it - golf, for example. As an amateur woodworker, I use my hobby as a tool to teach myself patience. It's working, but slowly.

Impatience is a special challenge for many stroke survivors. I know it was (and is) mine. Struggling to read. Struggling for proper speech. Struggling to write clearly.

The best way I've found to conquer impatience is to read verses like this selection from Psalm. Timing is not always ours - often, timing is in God's time.

So think about that when you struggle with impatience. Use this time to build your inner strength - take heart and wait for the Lord.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Preventable strokes and treatment - finding answers, saving lives

Photo from Pete via Flickr
I'm sold on stroke prevention. It saves lives and it gives society more resources to battle health problems.

An interesting research take about 'preventable' strokes and treatment:
Three out of four strokes could be avoided, and one in four are "highly avoidable," according to a study assessing stroke preventability. It also found that strokes considered the most treatable were the most preventable.
Those were the findings when a 10-point stroke preventability scale -- incorporating key measures such as treatment for hypertension, high cholesterol, and atrial fibrillation -- was applied to 274 consecutive ischemic stroke patients treated at a single institution. ...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

One more way to potentially speed treatment

Speed, as you know, is key in treating stroke patients.

Recent news about telemedicine shortening door-to-needle time:
A mobile stroke treatment unit (MSTU) operated by Cleveland Clinic which uses telemedicine to connect emergency team members to a hospital-based vascular neurologist, reduced time to tPA treatment by more than 25 minutes in an analysis of the first 100 patients transported. ...

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

'I will hope in him'

... his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. My soul claims the Lord as my inheritance; therefore
Lamentations is not a great marketing book name, is it? It's attributed to the prophet Jeremiah after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem.

But in these verses, Jeremiah reminds us that as bad as things can get, God is with us. He knows us. He loves us. He will not leave us.

In the days and years after my stroke, I've leaned on God for hope. And it's available to all of us.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Long-term stroke risk - stroke prevention must continue

You can't give up stroke prevention - even in the long run.

Some recent research showing that young women are at risk long after a stroke long after an initial stroke:
The study is among the first to examine long-term outcomes in younger women who are heart attack or stroke survivors, co-author Bob Siegerink, PhD, of Leiden and the Center for Stroke Research Berlin, told MedPage Today in an email exchange.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Hospitals hiring weight-guessers? Or is there a better solution?

Image from Wellness Corporate Solutions via Flickr
Ever seen someone offering to guess your weight at a carnival? It's been a while for me.

Maybe we need to hire some of those folks for hospital work - when knowing someone's weight means administering the correct amount of a drug that could bring you back from a stroke, or put you in danger - at least partly depending on how the accuracy of your weight in its calculation.

Recently, some research shows that weight guesses for stroke treatment are often wrong:
"Relying on our ability to 'guess' the weight of a patient in the acute setting is no longer acceptable and potentially dangerous," Pankaj Sharma, MD, PhD, from the Institute for Cardiovascular Research at the University of London, told Reuters Health.
The recommended dose of alteplase (recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator [r-tPA]) is 0.9 mg/kg, up to a maximum dose of 90 mg. In the interest of time, clinicians often estimate patients' weights to determine the r-tPA dose. ...