Skip to content

Archive for


Balanced Brain

Everyone who has had a stroke knows the name Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor.  Maybe not everyone, but if you don’t know that name, you should.  She has dedicated her life to studying the brain and then she had a stroke herself.  She’s been through the HELL, she knows.  Hers is the first book I read right “after.”  To say it was an emotional read would be an understatement.  But it’s a really good book.  The main premise of the book is – well I forget what the main premise is.  But a strong message of the book is that your brain can change and adapt until the day you die so don’t believe all those medical practitioners who told you that recovery is over at 6 months or 2 years or whatever.  F’ em!  I forget if she talks about meditation in the book, but she does here.  She’s a big advocate of meditation and how it can help to balance the brain, which is pretty damn important for someone who had a stroke because the stroke will have caused one part of one side of the brain to go bye-bye.  I started to meditate for emotional reasons but oh man, I got a heck of a lot more benefits from it than just emotional.  Hopefully by the day I die, although that might never happen as I can’t seem to die, but hopefully by the time I do expire meditation will be prescribed by doctors and not just recommended by some people.  If you’ve never meditated, try it.  Give it a few months.  Seriously, try it.  Meditation changes the brain.

Please go here for a better, affordable alternative to learning Transcendental Meditation.


Lies, lies, lies

When I got sick, I was dating what I now know is the most dishonest and deceitful man I have ever met in my entire life.  I am now dating the most honest and genuine man I have ever met.  It’s like night and day.  A friend that I recently had a falling out with told some lies.  My doctors told lies.  Look, please don’t lie.  Especially to stroke survivors.  People with brain injuries are already, automatically incredibly, incredibly angry.  Being lied to or finding out that a lie was told about them makes that anger so very much worse.  Once you’re caught in a lie, everything you ever say will be questioned.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

“I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.” – Mark Twain
gc lies



My last post was a re-blog and so is this one,  really I’ve just become lazy and don’t feel like writing anything myself.  No, I’m kidding, these are 2 wonderful blog posts.  I want to link to this post on another blog because OH.MY.GOD.YES.

gc time


Keeping Up Appearances

Perfectly said…………….

Rocky Mountain Stroke Survivor

I’ve realized in the last few weeks that perhaps one of the reasons that young stroke survivors are such an overlooked group is that so many of us are trying to live as normal a life as possible that others can easily forget what happened. I’m regularly told that I look great, look normal. And while I certainly am feeling significantly better than I was a year ago, I can’t say that I feel normal!

I’ve practiced everything I need for regular daily life so many times now that I can pull it off just fine. But ask me to jump with both feet off the ground at the same time or do a small motor skill that I haven’t practiced yet and you’ll discover that I’m faking it. I’ve learned everything necessary to get by and stopped there. I’m so grateful I’ve even been able to make the progress…

View original post 131 more words



I was watching this show last night and some lady had a goal she wanted to accomplish by the time she is 45 years old.  I forget what the goal was.  By the time I’m 45 I just want to be able to like, write my name in less than 10 minutes.

gc goals gc outstanding


Medical Marijuana

Please read this and sign this.

Groundbreaking marijuana study canceled

Have at it, and let the University of Arizona know they need to support full legalization of marijuana.
Why it should be legalized so survivors can benefit;
13 reasons to use it post-stroke.

The University of Arizona fired Dr. Suzanne Sisley rather than let her study how medical marijuana can help veterans like me. Help me get her job back.

dean –
Doctor Suzanne Sisley is an amazing woman — she’s the only doctor in the country who has federal permission to conduct research on how medical marijuana can help veterans. Her study was supposed to be housed at the University of Arizona, but rather than let her conduct it, the university fired her with no explanation whatsoever. As an Iraq veteran and an Arizona alum, I’m fighting to help Doc Sisley get her job back so she can continue her groundbreaking research to help veterans.
I know firsthand how important Doc Sisley’s work is, because I had severe PTSD when I came home from my tour of duty in Iraq. I experienced insomnia, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and fits of rage. My doctors tried for years to cure my PTSD, gave me every pill they could think of. Nothing worked, until 2010, when I started using medical marijuana.
I wish you could see how much medical marijuana changed my life, made it possible for me to do simple things like get some sleep at night. It gave me so much pride and hope that Doc Sisley was going to do research at my alma mater to bring this miracle to other veterans like me.
This isn’t just a matter of one woman losing her job unfairly. Doc Sisley’s study could be a matter of life or death for many veterans. Our veterans are committing suicide at an astonishing rate: 22 every single day. Medical marijuana is one of the most promising avenues of treatment for these at-risk veterans, and Doc Sisley’s study could make the difference in getting that treatment to those who need it the most.
Our veterans risk their lives overseas. The least we can do for them is provide them with the best care possible when they come home.
The good news is that petitions really work in cases of unfair teacher firings. Already this year, two teachers have gotten their jobs back after petitions supporting them took off on I know that if enough people sign my petition, we can help Doc Sisley, too.
Thank you,
Ricardo Pereyda
United States Army VeteranTucson, Arizona

10 Percent

Dean recently wrote a post about this and I want to, too.  How did this myth start?  The idea that humans use only 10% of their brains.  The new movie Lucy is based on this premise that normally we use only 10 percent of our brains.  Well if that’s true I’m screwed, as are the majority of stroke survivors.  I definitely killed way more than 10% percent of my brain when I decided to have a stroke.  If I killed some of the 90% of my brain that I wasn’t using then why do I have so many problems?  Can anyone answer that?  Dean killed a whole lot of his brain in a completely different area than I did and he has issues.  No, we use the whole brain.  And when some of it is killed off, like for instance when you have a stroke and decide you don’t need some brain matter anymore, other areas of the brain CAN take over for those functions.

gc cat brain gc brain anatomy gc brain




A friend of mine recently had some swelling and a bruise on her leg and asked me what is the physiological reason behind wrapping things with ACE bandages and wearing braces?  I remembered how I used to explain it to patients and she said it was a really good explanation so I thought I’d blog about it.  The point is mainly to stabilize it so that it doesn’t move.  Also, ACE bandages decrease swelling if they’re wrapped properly.  Think of a cut on your index finger.  If you kept bending your finger and opening the wound it would never heal.  But instead, you slap a band-aid on it and try not to use it for a few days.  The same thing goes for an internal injury.  You strain a ligament or sprain a muscle, you want to make sure it doesn’t move for a while to allow it time to heal.  So you wear a brace for a while to stabilize it and give you the support you need since the injured ligament/muscle can’t do it for a while.  You have a back injury?  Same thing.  You want to be hyper-aware of your posture at all times and try not to bend the spine or move it at all for a few days to allow whatever is the problem to heal.  There you have it!

If that doesn’t help use duct tape, but………

gc duct tape


Subject Matter

I always say that I have 3 friends.  I thought that I had a lot more friends, but when shit hit the fan, turns out that I did not.  I say this because 3 people, 3 friends of mine really, really stood out from the crowd and chaos when I got sick.  These 3 people were only concerned about ME.  Pretty much everyone else that played a significant role in my life let me know how much MY illness had affected THEM.  Can you believe people said that crap to me at that time?  I mean stuff like that was said to me just a few months after my entire existence was shattered.  Oh well, live and learn.   Remember what empathy is????????????????  Anyway, these 3 friends never even came close to saying anything like that to me.  They just let me know how much they loved me and let me know that they would be there for me in a heartbeat, as I will for them for the rest of my life.  They know who they are, I love you guys.  🙂

I have way more than 3 friends now, mostly due to the tribe.

When someone gets sick like this, it’s not about you at all.  You want to help?  Make it about the SICK person, not you.  Not you AT ALL.  Don’t let the person that is suffering know how bad you feel and that you’ve been so upset and affected by this.  BELIEVE ME, THEY KNOW.  If you can’t handle that, then stop being a caregiver but don’t add to the guilt that the sick person already feels.  There will come a time when you can have conversations of that subject matter with that person but for the love of God, not within the first year or two.



I just received a comment on about this place that I think everyone needs to read so I made it into a brand new blog post.  In my previous post, I was telling a story about a devastating experience I recently had involving an Eastern medicine practitioner.  In that post, I said this…..

“I am more than well aware of the problems with Western medicine.  More than well aware, I wish there was a word for how aware of that I am.  But Eastern medicine has a crapload of problems too.  There are not so great practitioners in every single discipline out there, East or West, so be very careful who you trust.”

Well it is stories like this that make me so very aware of the issues with medicine in the west.  So very aware.  Trust no one…………

“My son suffered a massive brainstem stroke a year ago at the age of 31.  He had what they call “locked in syndrome.”  We took him to RIC because it was supposed to be the best place in the country.  Dr. Harvey was/is the Dr.  My son’s stay at RIC was short, the place was disgusting…so understaffed, the nurses and aids apparently had no idea how to care for someone with this kind of stroke, not to mention his basic needs were not even being met.  Having a rare stroke like this had Dr. Harvey’s attention of course.  But he only saw my son 1 time in three weeks.  When I met with Dr. Harvey I voiced my concern about his basic care not being met at RIC.  He literally said..”this meeting is to get an update from his therapist and discuss his treatment.”  He advised me to discuss those kinds of issues with the nurse manager.  I was furious..Needless to say, I don’t care how good they say Dr. Harvey is, we moved my son to MarianJoy were he was treated with respect and dignity.  Sincerely., a mom”

I’m sorry Lisa.  As a therapist, I’m embarrassed, as should all therapists and especially doctors and nurses be.  I’ll be emailing a bunch of people at the RIC with a link to this blog post, I think they might like to read it.


Medical Establishment

I received an email yesterday from someone whose family member recently had a stroke and he was looking for information.  He has looked into some alternative treatments and said this…
“I’ve been researching such treatments as hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well as Chinese Scalp acupuncture to treat her paralysis.  However, I’m a little leery because those methods have not been endorsed by the medical establishment.”
This was my reply…..
“Unfortunately the majority of things besides therapy that will help are not endorsed by the medical establishment.  You’re going to have to let go of the thinking that physicians are now the most knowledgeable people and the ones to go to for help.  That’s not the place to depend on for information.  It’s other people that have been through this. It was very irresponsible of her doctors to say that there will be no more recovery.  I highly, highly recommend getting her involved with some sort of meditation practice.”
I remember the days of scouring the internet and writing emails to people hoping for some help.  All of my emails were to the wrong people.  If you or your loved one is within the first year, maybe 2 years of a stroke, you don’t know yet.  You don’t know how very much on your own you are.  You have to find your own ways to get better and quite a bit of it doesn’t involve Western Medicine.  Neurological injuries are a bitch and a half.  It takes a hell of a lot more than going to some doctor and therapy appointments to even remotely overcome something like this.

Please go here for a better, affordable alternative to learning Transcendental Meditation.