May is Stroke Awareness Month – my theory to solving stroke

May is stroke awareness month! It’s our month to flaunt everything we know about stroke to the able-bodied. Stroke awareness is about honoring the millions that have fallen to stroke and trying to prevent this disease from continuing its deadly rampage.

My theory is to try to get young people to understand what stroke is about. After all, stroke is greatly diet and lifestyle driven. Eating fatty foods and not exercising can cause high blood pressure. We all know that high blood pressure is the number 1 risk factor for stroke.

I know that if we can get this message out to our children and have them understand the risks associated with having corrosive diets and dormant lifestyles could drastically reduce strokes. This is a totally unrealistic goal, though. Kids love being a couch potato, sitting dormant while playing on the computer or on a video game and eating massive quantities of junk foods. All of this is just asking for a stroke to happen in later life.

What are we to do? I have a couple of more crazy theories about what to do. One of my theories is to get the word out that stroke do not just happen to old people. I think that most people think you have to be over 80 to have a stroke. Proof is, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 33% of people having strokes are over age 80 while 30% are between 18 and 64 years of age. This is an astounding number when you think about it. There is not much difference between the ages of younger and older people having strokes!

Another theory of mine is to get results from kids by scaring them straight. I think that every kid, as part of the high school curriculum, should have to take a field trip to their local hospital with a stroke ward. Seriously, this would be highly educational and would also show them what happens to people that have a stroke. Let them see the arms hanging limp! Let them see the physical horrors that every patient endures, the speech deficits, the loss of cognitive skills. Make them visit speech, physical and occupational therapy sessions!

Lastly, make the high school students attend a local stroke support group. Let them hear the daily grief and depression that most stroke survivors deal with. Let them see the raw emotions and crying that happen when stroke survivors think and attempt to talk about. Give them a school project where they cannot use an arm, speak or walk for 24 hours and then have them keep an hourly diary about the frustrations they face.

Our salvation from having strokes is not just to treat them or try to reverse the damages. It is to prevent them from happening them at all. Do your duty during the month of May. Honor those who have fallen from stroke. Get the word out to our young folks! Show them this trivia about stroke.

Visit our stroke education web page at http://www.StrokeEducation.info/ .

Learn your fact about stroke and let the able-bodied know. Purchase your stroke awareness wristbands, lapel pins, hats, etc. Go to our on-line stroke awareness store at http://www.strokenetstore.net/ and buy something to wear .

Hello world!

I am the President & CEO of The Stroke Network, http://www.strokenetwork.org/.  We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  We have existed on the Internet, since February of 1996.  Our mission is to provide on-line stroke support and information.  We were the first on-line stroke support website on the Internet. 

My last picture  This is one of the last good pictures of me before my stroke.  I am definitely not 36 anymore but this picture has significant sentimental meaning to me.  This was the end of an era, a time when me and my family enjoyed our simple life and laughed easily.  This was when I did not mind getting my picture taken. 

Anyway, I was an aerospace engineer for a major corporation, Martin Marietta, until I had a massive brainstem stroke in June of 1994 at age 36.  My stroke damaged nine of the 12 cranial nerves, which affected most of the motor skills.  I am now effectively quadriplegic and cannot talk.  Luckily, none of my cognitive skills are damaged. 

My situation has and often can be a nightmare for me.  I consider my circumstances healthier than most able-bodied people because I have been forced to leave the corporate battleground.  No more do I face the daily stresses and headaches that corporate life can bring. 

I have developed a close and loving relationship with God.   I tend to focus on God’s plan for me and have started an on-line stroke support community for all of those that cannot attend a local stroke support group.  To combat the deep seated feelings that tend to rise I keep myself extremely busy.  I believe that God has a plan for me and I am living it with His help.  I definitely could not do what I do and have done without Him guiding me every step of the way. 

 I type by using an infrared headpointer to move the cursor and can click the mouse with my finger.  I use an on-screen keyboard to type.  Without my cognitive skills, my excellent head control to move the cursor and the ability to click just one finger I could have never created my websites or written 99% of the web pages, including founding our non-profit organization. 

 I am truly blessed!