Sunday, November 18, 2007

Introducing Gary Gray Stroke Survivor

photo credit: Joan Sinclair Prince Edward Island Heart & Stroke Foundation

Hello Everyone

Let me introduce myself to you.

My name is Gary Gray and I live in Montague, Prince Edward Island Canada. I have recently been given the opportunity to share my incredible story of recovery from a hemorrhagic stroke in August 2002. My family was given little hope, my car was sold and my house closed up, but today I live independently, work part time consulting and drive a vehicle again. My remarkable story has brought important lessons about finding "a New Normal"

The hour long presentation is being produced on video and should be available soon.

In the meantime please enjoy my NEW "Signs of a Stroke" blog. We all need to be aware of the terrible cost stroke can inflict on our lives and our communities. We need to learn how to recognize the signs of stroke in order to get help quickly and reduce both the cost and effects of stroke!

Smiles :o)


Stroke Awareness hits the Big Screen

Hi Everyone

Stroke Awareness hits the Big Screen
The Calgary Stroke Program is bringing a fresh approach to stroke education in the Calgary Health Region with a new independent short film titled “Inside Out.”
The first of its kind developed by a health region in Canada, the film is a fictional story that focuses on the health, wellness, and lifestyle choices of a young professional woman trying to balance work and family life. Now available on the Region’s website, the film trailer for Inside Out is also set to air at the Calgary International Film Festival from September 21 to 30, and will be available on YouTube later this month.
Thelma Inkson, Vice-President, Northwest Community Portfolio and Foothills Medical Centre, says the Region needs to step outside the box to find ways to reach out to the community. “Hopefully by bringing our messages to the big screen, the film will capture the interest of people and will allow us to tell a story that will resonate in the Calgary community,” she says.
“A stroke is not just a disease of the elderly – it can happen to anyone at anytime,” says Dr. Michael Hill Director of the Calgary Health Region’s Stroke Unit. “That’s why it’s so important for all of us to know the warning signs of stroke and to act immediately when they occur. This type of film is a perfect vehicle to get that message out to our community in a new and exciting way.”
The Calgary Stroke Program, a partnership between the Region and the University of Calgary’s Department of Clinical Neurosciences, is one of the top programs in North America for stroke research and treatment. Now, through its involvement with the Alberta Provincial Stroke Strategy (APSS), the Stroke Program is collaborating with the other eight health regions, Alberta Health Wellness and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT, and Nunavut to standardize stroke care and awareness throughout the province.
“Funding for this project wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the APSS,” says Dr. Hill. “In addition to working to standardize the continuum of stroke care throughout Alberta, the APSS mandate also focuses on supporting the development of programs and tools to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of stroke.”
“We can’t control our family history, age, gender, or ethnicity,” says Dr. Hill. “But we can try to change the way we live – we can eat healthier, exercise, quit smoking. Some strokes can be prevented. Hopefully, the more we send this message out there, the less often we’ll have to treat strokes in the future.”
For more information:
To arrange interviews with members of Calgary Stroke Program, contact Léora Rabatach,
Communications, Calgary Stroke Program at (403) 944-8637 or (403) 875-8716.
To view click the link below.

Inside Out

Thank you for taking this valuable time from your busy day to view this life saving information. Please tell others!

Smiles :o)


Monday, October 8, 2007

Stroke Network Stroke Awareness

Hi and welcome back

I want to give you a link to a review that is found in the October issue of The StrokeNet Newsletter an online newsletter that can be very helpful to stroke survivors and their families as well as anyone wanting to know more about stroke.

Click here to read the review.

Once you have read the review, be sure to follow the links that will take you through this very valuable stroke awareness information.

I hope that you find the information helpful in your search for stroke related information on the internet.

Smiles :o)


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Smile...Talk...Raise both arms...

Since an apparently innocent and inconsequential little weak spell or stumble can be signs of a stroke, it is essential to see whether it was indeed an innocent little weak spell, stumble....or a stroke!

As ordinary bystanders we can check it out by asking these three simple questions, which can be memorized by the acronym STR or listen here to "The Stroke Song"

S - ask the person to...Smile. :o)
T - ask the person to Talk - to speak a simple coherent sentence. "It's a sunny day outside"
R - ask the person to Raise both arms. (like in a stickup)

If the person has trouble with any one of these tasks, call call 9-1-1 immediately.

These three simple tasks can also be self-administered if a person is alone and has had a weak spell or other potential symptom of a stroke.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

What happens after a Stroke

Even though stroke awareness is needed not everyone has the good fortune to avoid having a Stroke. There are thousands of people around the world every day who experience Stroke.

Even knowing the Signs of a Stroke will not stop a Stroke from happening. Knowing the Signs of a Stroke can allow faster medical attention thereby allowing the one who has suffered the stroke to possibly survive this traumatic event.

This raises the question of, what happens after a stroke?

This question is one that is asked by the Stroke Survivor, the family members and caregivers.

How can we cope? Can the survivor regain a measure of independence? How can we communicate and help the survivor?

These are all questions that require information. Information needed at a very stressful time for everyone. Where can one turn to find this information quickly, easily and provided by someone that can be trusted?

I have found a simple electronic book (ebook) that can be downloaded to your computer a very quick and easy way to get started with trustworthy information that can be put to use immediately.

The information contained can benefit the survivor, family members and caregivers.

To find out more

click here

Friday, August 31, 2007

Why know the Signs of a Stroke...

Why know the Signs of a Stroke indeed. Well there is a very good reason to know the Signs of a Stroke. A stroke can and does kill and maim thousands of people around the world every day. Knowing the Signs of a Stroke could save the life or prevent permanent and devastating disability of someone that you love. Once a person has suffered a stroke they can never go back to the normal that they had before the stroke.

To allow a rare insight into this aspect of stroke my friend Pam a five year plus stroke survivor has allowed me to publish her previously unpublished article here on my Signs of a Stroke blog. I hope these words of a person who has survived stroke and now lives with it's effects every day will provide you with an insightful peek into this little known aspect of stroke.

Looking for Normal?

So Stroke has entered your life in some way? Welcome to this exclusive elite club, membership is required and the dues are steep. So now that you have become a bona fide member, you're looking for "Normal" in some shape or form. The big questions always asked is when will I be back to "normal"? How long before I feel "normal" again? When does our life go back to "normal"?

Websters dictionary has a few definitions of the word Normal;
1nor·mal Listen to the pronunciation of 1normal
Latin normalis, from norma
circa 1696

1: perpendicular; especially : perpendicular to a tangent at a point of tangency2 a: according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle b: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern3: occurring naturally 4 a: of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development b: free from mental disorder : sane5 aof a solution : having a concentration of one gram equivalent of solute per liter b: containing neither basic hydroxyl nor acid hydrogen c: not associated d: having a straight-chain structure 6of a subgroup : having the property that every coset produced by operating on the left by a given element is equal to the coset produced by operating on the right by the same element7: relating to, involving, or being a normal curve or normal distribution 8of a matrix :

My quest for normal, has taken me in search of being able to do many things in my daily life automatically. To progress past the point of having to think out every step before I attempted everything. The definition occurring naturally is what I sought.
I want to walk normal.
I want to feel normal.Feeling normal is a very vague, broad thought that encompasses many parts of my personality pre stroke and those included physical abilities that I've lost in the stroke. Having defined that, I've learned the direction I'm facing will get me no where. I can't go back to who I was pre stroke or do what I once did in terms of sports, housework, jobs and hobbies. So I realized the direction I was facing was wrong. I needed to define a new "normal, one that can't be found in Websters, but rather can be found here or in the Stroke Club welcome brochure.
My new definition of normal is anything I feel post stroke, frustration, anger, and pride. It also includes how I do things differently and the amount of time it now takes me to do things. I've found that I no longer can live within society's definitions of "normal", I'm no longer that round peg that fits in a round hole. I'm something new and I can't be pigion holed any longer.Any survivor reading this, remember "Normal" is a setting on the washer. it needn't apply to you. We survivors need to learn that once stroke has arrived in our lives, it is up to us to redefine the word normal into something we can realistically live with and be happy with.
I'd be really glad to hear how others have defined "Normal", I bet there are as many new definitions as there are survivors and caregivers and family members.Looking for normal that applied to yourself pre stroke is nothing but an excersise in futility, a set up to be disappointed in yourself and to disappoint others. Because after we've had a stroke, we now have certified brain damage. Brain cells and tissue and neurons all are killed or displaced and it takes time for the brain to either pick up the slack of the damage or allow new pathways to be built in our brains. So to accept that this is now normal, we have to redefine the word to apply to us and our new levels of skills and abilities. The word normal with its definition from Websters and all the wishful thinking we apply to the word has to be changed. We are changed.We are now brain damaged.So the next time you see or hear anyone use the word normal in conjunction with a survivor, ask them whose definition they are using?
Pam Braidt
July 14, 2007
Stroke Survivor working at recovery since 02/01/02

Thank you for taking the valuable time from your busy day to read Pam's article. Stroke awareness is important because in todays society with it's hectic pace and fast food lifestyle more and more younger people are at risk of stroke. As the baby boomer generations age and move into their 60's and on, their risk of stroke also increases.
Because the occurrence of stroke is on the rise the need for stroke awareness becomes more important with each passing day.

To help meet the need for stroke prevention and awareness this blog "Signs of a Stroke" has been created to promote stroke awareness (from a stroke survivors point of view) as well as to provide information on the four major aspects of stroke. Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Community Reintegration.

Signs of a Stroke

Recognize the signs of a stroke when you see them.

Weakness: Sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm, leg, even if temporary.

Trouble Speaking: Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary.

Vision Problems: Sudden trouble with vision even if temporary.

Headache: Sudden severe and unusual headache.

Dizziness: Sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs.

The signs may be mild or severe.

If you see or experience one or more of these signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately.

Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Prince Edward Island