Monthly Archives: September 2013

Stroke Support Group

The Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Stroke Support Group is starting in Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at Atrium 2.  In December my book “Finding My Voice with Aphasia” will be discussed.   Stroke groups are a way to meet other stroke survivors or caregivers who understand what we are going through.  In my experience stroke support groups uplift your spirits and you can make life long friendships.  It was difficult for me at first but once I went I felt accepted and understood.  Also, new ideas and resources are available.  For example my new book.

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A Lovely Card

Today I received a card from a friend from Maine. She and husband are great people and were curious why I moved my hand when I spoke. I explained it was a coping skill for my Aphasia. They were fascinated and I gave them a copy of my book. It was in July and we were heading home the same day. The next morning we had breakfast together and she read the book that night. She loved it. We have not spoken since July but yesterday I received a card from her. Her brother-in-law suffered a massive stoke damaging the left side of his brain. His family was devastated. She shared my book with her family and it eased their minds and gave them an idea what the stroke victim was feeling and what to expect. “It was so helpful, to have a first hand account of just how you were feeling as it occurred and the days and months following. Thank you so much for giving the world this book.”
“Thank you for your book.”
Maggie

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Stroke and TIA Prevention

                  Everyone is unique, their experiences, their interests, family, and attitude.  The one commonality we all share is the engine of our body.  Even then there are different types of reactions.  A stroke is a perfect example. There are several types of strokes which can affect people differently and in many ways.  The purpose of this article is to give you the power of knowledge of what is known as a “mini stroke”, the symptoms; the medical attention; the possible lingering effects; and if necessary rehabilitation and recovery methodology.

About three hundred thousand Americans each year have a “Mini Stroke” or Transient Ischemic attack (TIA).  According to researcher studies the average age is 72 however it can happen at any age.  Mini strokes involve a brief lapse of blood flow through the brain causing the lack of oxygen to the brain. Mini stroke symptoms are sudden and can last for several minutes or up to twenty-four hours. Fortunately, they usually do not cause permanent damage.  Symptoms include; inability to move one side of your body; numbness on one side, dizziness and trouble walking. Also, nausea, flu like feelings and the inability to speak or think clearly. They may pass quickly but it is imperative to call 911 for a complete evaluation. This may include at CT scan, MIR and a neurological exam.

Doctors can have a difficult time diagnosing a mini stroke because the symptoms may start to dissipate before the patient receives medical attention. In some cases people do not even go to the doctor or hospital believing it is just a bug or the flu. Researchers strongly recommend that you seek medical attention immediately for diagnostic testing such as a brain scan and ultrasound to check for bleeding or swelling of the brain. People who do not seek medical help immediately are putting themselves at a higher risk for a major stroke, whereas immediate medical treatment could prevent a major stroke. After a mini stroke a 90 day follow-up is necessary to evaluate any residual effects. It is important to mention that not all mini strokes lead to disabling strokes.

Good news is that only a small population of people who suffer a mini strokes have disabling strokes. According to several studies approximately 80% of patients who suffered a mini stroke only a small portion, less than 12%, experienced a stroke. In another study findings indicated of five hundred mini stroke patients only 15% had minor disabilities. Most researchers strongly recommend patients should reduce their risk by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising.

Researchers are offering hope through new research in treating mini strokes and post min stroke treatment. The information below is to educate you and possible save your life or that of a loved one.

What is a mini stroke?

According to researchers a TIA or Transient Ischemic attack is often called a “mini stroke.” TIA or mini stroke may occur without warning generating similar symptoms of a stroke. A mini stroke is brief lack of blood supply and oxygen to the brain, usually causing no residual effects. It is a warning and an opportunity to take preventive steps to avoid a stroke.

What are the signs?

Transient Ischemic attack or mini strokes usually last only a few minutes. Most of the symptoms diminish within an hour. The signs of a TIA or mini stroke are eerily similar to a stroke.

  •     Sudden weakness, numbness in your face , arms or legs
  •     usually on one side of your body.
  •     Slurred of garbled speech or difficulty understanding others
  •     Sudden blindness in one or both eyes or double vision
  •     Unexplained dizziness or problems with balance or coordination
  •     Problems with movement or walking
  •     Severe headaches with no cause

What medical attention should you seek?

  •       Immediately call 911
  •      Seek immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms subside, for
    a medical evalutation and identification for any treatable conditions

What are the linger effects?

  • Usually there are no permanent effects.

 What recovery methods are typical?

  •  Treatment for TIA and mini stroke include aspirin or blood thinners or if necessary surgery to clear blocked arteries. Also, a healthier diet and lifestyle.

Stay Healthy and Keep Safe

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Book review

Finding My Voice with Aphasia   Project #4262249781475986693_COVER_FQA.indd

“Ms. Carol Maloney has written a compelling story that chronicles her amazing life before, during, and after her devastating stroke. She writes with frankness that touches one’s heart. Her story will lend encouragement to those who have suffered a stroke as well as offer strategies to those who have a loved one recovering from one. Carol Maloney developed aphasia after her stroke. I am happy to say that she has survived and conquered both the devastation of her stroke and her aphasia. I know this first hand: she conducts amazing PowerPoint presentations to my graduate class at Rivier University each semester. She is an inspiration to all who want to improve themselves. In this book, Carol clearly describes the strategies that she used to help her become the functioning writer and speaker that she is today.”

J. Diane Connell, Ed.D.

Professor of Special Education

Learning Disabilities Advisor

Rivier University

Division of Education

Nashua, New Hampshire 03060

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