Letters may be edited for length and scientific integrity. The opinions presented are those of the individual and do not reflect those of the American Stroke Association.
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I am writing in reference to survivor Nancy Phillips' question about shoes in the July/August 2006 issue. I had a hemorrhagic stroke in March 2004. I am lucky to have survived my lack of proper treatment. Fortunately I was transferred to a rehab center where the staff did all they could because they realized that at 74 I was not a little old lady twiddling my thumbs but an active mother of nine who had a bookstore for 45 years.
Recently I discovered a lightweight shoe that is plastic and flexible and doesn’t fall apart: Crocs and AirWalks cost less than $20 and are sold in most big box retail stores like K-Mart and Osco Drugs. They come in a variety of colors and weigh only ounces. I gave up my orthopedic and expensive shoes. I have used these for seven months. I have many pairs and colors of both brands. They have arches, and I felt like a kid again, really able to move, even leave my walker. If I’d known about them in rehab, I’d be even more independent than I am. I even drive with them and walk in the rain. They are sandals, but they will soon offer closed-heel shoes.
They are very comfortable to work in, much more so than my more expensive shoes. I recently stood for three hours in them in my garage with no ill effects. There are no more heavy hoofs to drag around.
Alicia Wales-Goodolf, Survivor
Your magazine has been a big help in my recovery, especially since I have been unable to attend my local support group meetings. I was surprised there were enough survivors to warrant our own magazine! I volunteer at a local women’s and children’s shelter. My fellow volunteers as well as my Red Hat chapter have been a great help in my recovery.
Their love, support and encouragement have been priceless. During my first months at home, some would bring lunch if Kurt, my husband, had to work out of town. He usually comes home to make my lunch. It’s a good thing to have a small network of folks willing to help. Your article on aphasia helped me realize the value of the quality care I received from my speech therapist.
Emily Brunner, Survivor
I had two TIAs in two years, and the second one was harder to disregard than the first. Having been a nurse for 40+ years, I have seen the progressive therapies provided to stroke patients and the difference they make. Years ago we provided comfort and not much more.
My first TIA I perceived as the result of taking too many antihistamines. The loss of my writing and computer skills lasted only a few months. Last month’s TIA was even better – I lost my speech and the right side of my face drooped for three days. But it got my attention!
I offer my admiration and heartfelt prayers for all of you who write such poignant letters. I keep asking God why all the really bad stuff happens to other people. Where do you get your strength?
Keep up the will to live. Surely there is a huge reward for all of you.
Mary C. Belaner
I thought my life was at a low point in 2005 when I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had surgery and six months of chemotherapy. Then one month after the end of my treatment, Orvel, my 45-year-old son, had a hemorrhagic stroke and was in critical condition. The hospital asked me to stay with him – we were there for 38 days. I thank God every day that he cannot remember that time. Then he was a month in rehab and five months in a nursing home. His right side is paralyzed and he has partial vision loss in one eye.
He can no longer read, which was a favorite pastime, but he can use the computer and watch TV. He needs my assistance with dressing, bathing, preparing food, doctor visits and going out of the house. He depends on me for all those things and many more. As his caregiver, I strive to make life easier for him.
With all his determination, courage, hard work and God’s help, I pray that he may walk again one day.
Bless Tom and Mary Prill in the September/October 2006 issue for their courage to climb the mountain facing them. Orvel and I are right there with them fighting to climb that mountain.
Karen Browing, Caregiver