Good Morning and Happy May!
It’s Stroke Awareness month and it just so happens that 2 weeks ago my brother in law had a stroke which took us all by surprise since he eats well, exercises and is in good shape. Heredity also plays a role. It’s important to take note of the above picture so you know what to do if you or anyone you’re with experiences these symptoms. Refer to the chart above and act FAST!
He started feeling nauseous, dizzy and couldn’t get his words out. It’s important to recognize the symptoms quickly and it’s critical that you get medical attention right away which can minimize long-term effects and even prevent death.
His birthday was a week after the stroke and I wrote a poem for him which he really appreciated and said it truly captured what he was experiencing. He’s not one to cry and keeps trying to push that back and I have assured him that real men cry and perhaps it’s part of the gifts he is given which he would normally not allow himself to feel.
A stroke of luck or a curse,
struggling to find words.
Words, although superfluous,
jumbled thoughts leave us
puzzled and tongue tied.
Frustration wells and invades;
all circuits severed to known paths,
only twisted branches exist
trying to unfurl to find light.
A shadow of ourselves,
meeting for the first time,
patience thrown to the wind
as we start over,
trying to gain insight.
Everyday a new challenge
as we ace the nifty fifty,
and motor skills.
Life is ever changing,
we must meet it where we are
and walk the curvy path
as we rebuild and grow,
coming out the other side,
where all systems fire.
It takes patience my friend so,
let the floodgates open.
All we have is time.
So, don’t be in such a hurry,
as you move through to the divine.
A new version of yourself is brewing
so leave the old behind
and steep your coffee dark
and keep your eyes open
for gifts that arise.
Copyright © Cindy Georgakas at
The Unique Times all rights reserved 2022
Not to scare you but Time is critical because a stroke starves brain tissue of life-giving oxygen, causing it to start to die in as little as four minutes after the beginning of a stroke. When brain tissue dies, it is gone forever. It’s important you call 911 right away. Depending on the kind of stroke you are having and the time involved there are medications you can take within the first couple of hours to prevent a full on stroke if it’s a TIA, Transient ischemic attack.
Thanks to recent advances, stroke treatments and survival rates have improved greatly over the last decade.
Some important things to know:
Remember to act FAST and know the symptoms and call 911 right away:
- Weakness, numbness or paralysis in the face, arm or leg, typically on one side of the body
- Slurred or garbled speech or difficulty understanding others
- Blindness in one or both eyes or double vision
- Vertigo or loss of balance or coordination
Remember to look at this site once in a while so you can see what the causes are, risk factors you can control and which ones you cannot, health factors, risks, health conditions, prevention and make lifestyle changes to avoid a stroke if possible or what to do about them if you have one.
Knowing your risk factors and living healthfully are the best things you can do to prevent a TIA. Included in a healthy lifestyle are regular medical checkups.
- Don’t smoke. Stopping smoking reduces your risk of a TIA or a stroke.
- Limit cholesterol and fat. Cutting back on cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat and trans fat, in your diet may reduce buildup of plaques in the arteries.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods contain nutrients such as potassium, folate and antioxidants, which may protect against a TIA or a stroke.
- Limit sodium. If you have high blood pressure, avoiding salty foods and not adding salt to food may reduce your blood pressure. Avoiding salt may not prevent hypertension, but excess sodium may increase blood pressure in people who are sensitive to sodium.
- Exercise regularly. If you have high blood pressure, regular exercise is one of the few ways you can lower your blood pressure without drugs.
- Limit alcohol intake. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. The recommended limit is no more than one drink daily for women and two a day for men.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight contributes to other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Losing weight with diet and exercise may lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.
- Don’t use illicit drugs. Drugs such as cocaine are associated with an increased risk of a TIA or a stroke.
- Control diabetes. You can manage diabetes and high blood pressure with diet, exercise, weight control and, when necessary, medication.
My Brother in law is now home recovering well but it will take time and Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy along with some diet changes and blood thinners to get him back to his usual self but the good news is, he’s on the mend.
The body gives us messages and opportunities to grow and heal in ways we may never have before without having gone through it. Not that we would sign up for any of these health challenges but It’s how we deal with our obstacles and adversities that give us the resilience we need to carry on.
If you are not familiar with Jill Bolte Taylor she is an American neuroanatomist, author, and inspirational public speaker I highly recommend her books and talks. She began to study severe mental illnesses because she wanted to understand what makes the brain function. I have utmost respect for Jill as I reached out to her and asked her if she would consider doing a fundraiser with me for mental health since we both have schizophrenic brothers and she actually wrote me back.
She said while she shares my concern of course, she is devoted to her work as a scientist in understanding the brain. What better way to help so many conditions than this comprehensive ongoing research that benefits us all.
In 1996 she experienced a severe hemorrhage (AVM) in the left hemisphere of her brain causing her to lose the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Her memoir, My Stroke of Insight, documenting her experience with stroke and eight-year recovery, spent 63 weeks on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and is still routinely the #1 book in the category Stroke in the Amazon marketplace.
In 2008 Dr. Jill gave the first TED talk that ever went viral on the Internet, which now has well over 27.5 million views. Also in 2008, Dr. Jill was chosen as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and was the premiere guest on Oprah Winfrey’s “Soul Series” webcast. Her new book, Whole Brain Living – the Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life is a #1 release on Amazon in categories ranging from Neuroscience to Nervous System Diseases and Stroke. It is available on Amazon and is filled with the latest research to empower you and give you insight into our brain. .
My Stroke of Insight is available on Amazon as well.
And my personal favorite is listening to Jill talk about her own experience when she was having a stroke. I highly encourage you to have a listen when you get some time.
Have a wonderful week ahead and stay tuned to what messages your body and brain are telling you. As we learn to listen to our insights from a loving and gentle place and give ourselves what we need, we can create a host of wellness in our bodies and minds. Our bodies are not much different that the circuit breakers in our homes. They need attention and recalibration to come back to homeostasis to maintain peace and tranquility.
With Love and Blessings,