I have found two things that helped my wife recover from her stroke 16 months ago. First, I put her on liquid amino acid supplements. Amino acid sup. is derived from Whey which is derived from cows milk. It's the same protein body builders use. She became more alert and was able to engage in her rehab effectively. Next and after much research, I found that Ritalin would be helpful. Ritalin is basically an amphetamine and has the ability to "awaken" the brain which, in my wife's case, is what she needed. It is sometimes used for inpatient rehab to help those become more able to participate in their treatment.
My 53 year old wife of 34 years had a major bleed and was totally paralyzed when she had the stroke. She was blind on her left side in both eyes. Today, most people can't tell she had a stroke. Not even her doctors can and they are simply amazed at her recovery. She walks and talks normaly and goes to work everyday. She drives but with me in the car. In my opinion, she has recovered over 90% to date.
Search the internet and READ, READ, READ. Take charge. Find a doctor who will listen and help.
NEVER GIVE UP! THEY NEED YOUR HELP EVERYDAY.
How did you get the doctor to prescribe the ritalin? We just asked my dad's doctor about perscribing it and he sai need t ge my da to a nueroloist for a consult. That consult couldn't take place for two weeks. I feel like that is just time lost.
How long was your wife in rehab? My dad was taken out of rehab because he kept falling asleep. That was about 4 weeks ago, at that time we mentioned to the doctor about perscribing ritalin.
I had to go through several doctors before I found one that would prescribe the Ritalin (a friend of a friend thing). I had the same problem in the beginning with doctors. No one could or would right the prescription. Perhaps find medical articles on the Internet concerning Ritalin and show it to your doctor. When I did that however, certain doctors became distaint. I assume it was because they felt I was learning too much. Never give up.
In my opinion, recovery from a stroke can be slow. As I understand it, speed of recovery may be gaged by the patients health and age prior to the stroke.
You might want to ask your doctor if they would allow adding liquid amino acid sup. to their diet to start. Apparently, stroke victims have a hard time with the uptake of food proteins. Next, find a doctor who will prescribe Ritalin for say, just a week to see if that will help "brighten" the patient up (20mg to 40mg depending on body weight, 12 hour time release). What I saw with my wife and others around her was that if YOU let them just sit, the stroke patient will do just that. They will do nothing to help themselves. YOU must take an active role in their rehab and it must be everyday. I admit, it's a long, hard road but then I found, no one else was going to do it.
You are completely correct... The therapists at the facility where my dad is seem to have given up on him. I just don't understand why. When he had the stroke all the neurologists and neurosurgeons told us that we would not know what my dad was going to be like until at least Sept. But in July they had already given up on him. My mom continues to work him every day, but it is not the same as therapy. We are doing everything possible to get him back into therapy.
Is there a specific type of amino acid my mom should ask about. SHe went to the heaalth food store today, but they said there were several types.
The liquid amino I use for my wife is from GNC and is called "Superior Amino 2222" Worked well enough that I now buy it by the case on-line directly from GNC.
I am sad to say that, despite this country having the best medical service in the world, it lacks considerably when it comes to compassion, especialy for stroke patients. As you may have already felt, it seems it's all about the money and nothing else. Stroke/brain damaged patients are easily pushed asisde by medical world. I feel it's because their recovery is so time consuming and there is little money to be made with rehab. Yet, I firmly believe that some stroke patients can come back nearly 100%, depending on the amount of damage done. The brain CAN heal itself or find a work-around. It does take effort though. Lots of effort. Nearly every hour of every day they are awake. I've learned that change is best too. Keep changing the rehab routines. Invent new, simple exercises. Hand held video games can be a great help. Even doing croswword puzzles. Their brains need to be exercised daily.
NEVER GIVE UP!
Yes, she continues. She has only been on it for about 30 days now. However, there was improvement noticed by all after just one day on Ritalin - 20mg XR. She felt great but also felt there was more left. Her dosage was increased to 40mg XR. She said she feels "normal" now and she looks and acts "normal" in my opinion. She has no side effects from Ritalin. She sleeps well and her blood pressure is normal.
Yes. She had her stroke about 16 months ago and has been on Ritalin for about 30 days now with exceptional results. However, had I known about Ritalin or amino acids at the on-set, I would have started her on both much earlier. After researching articles on the Internet, I discovered that Ritalin type drugs are sometimes introduced while stroke patients are in formal rehab to help them participate better. You might like to Google the term "stroke ritalin" and read some of the papers authored by various doctors concerning this matter. Are either or both proper for your situation? I can't answer that but it seems to have worked for my wife. In fact, I never had a doctor say "no" to either or both. Most doctors I found simply didn't seem to know enough about either to say "yes". What I got was a lot of "I don't know" answers to the questions "will this help". The point is, I NEVER got an answer of "NO, this WONT help" or "this may be dangerious to the patient". My thought was that if no one could tell me it was wrong or dangerious and all the articles I read said it was helpful then, perhaps it would help in my wifes case. Finding a doctor who had experience with these issues was the trick.
NEVER GIVE UP
Thanks for all your help. We spoke with my dads doctor about the ritalin today. He answered the same way all of your doctors did. He didn't say it wouldn't help, but he said he would need a neurologist to evaluate him and prescribe it. So on Friday we are packing my dad up and taking him to the neurologist. Hope it works....
lahinva - Good luck and I hope it works out for you. You might want to read up on the subject first before you visit the doctor. Keep in mind that Ritalin is an amphetamine and may cause undesirable side effects i.e. high blood pressure, inability to sleep, etc. Your doctor, if willing, may start him out on a low dosage. It would be best if YOU watched his blood pressure and mood daily so you can report back to the doctor.
tressa999 - it was about 9 months after her stroke that I started her on amino acids. As I said before, if I had known about earlier, I would have started her sooner. It is always best to ask your doctor before starting anything. Also, exceeding the daily recommended amount may cause gas or an upset stomack as amino acid sup. is made from Whey which is made from cows milk. The liquid seems to work better than the capsule form although the liquid (mixed in water) can be difficult for some to drink. The taste is not great but tolerable.
It sounds like you did a good job. I am not against the amino acids, but be aware that they decrease appetite and hunger. This can make it hard to enjoy a normal sit-down meal. I am not going to comment on the ritalin, but before going to ritalin ordinary black coffee, together with grapefruit juice, should be tried. If there is a blood pressure problem add milk to the coffee. Caffeine affects calcium in the heart muscles. So cofffee with a bit of milk is less likely to raise the blood pressure than black coffee. Then again, raising the blood pressure increases cerebral perfusion, so this is not necessarily a bad thing. In any event the grapefruit juice will extend the half life of the caffeine in the bloodstream by six times. That is a long-haul truck driver's stay awake trick. A small can of grapefruit juice and a cup of coffee. A can of grapefruit juice and a cup of coffee is the equivelent of six cups of coffee taken over five hours. You get the benefit of caffeine without the jitters. In any event caffeine is a stimulant far less dangerous than ritalin, and it does not require a prescription.
Thanks for your comments on this subject. I've never heard that amino acids might decrease appetite before. In my wife's case however, her appetite remains good and her weight remains stable. I've seen no change in the way she eats foods. What was documented by her vision doctor was a dramatic recovery in her left peripheral vision, which was affected by her stroke, within weeks of taking amino acids. However, that rate of recover did flatten out after a few months. There also was no loss in any gains.
Never heard of the coffee and grapefruit juice idea either but I'm going to tuck that one away for later use one day. I'm not sure how caffeine effects others but, too much of it makes me jittery and gives me a headache. The nice thing about time release Ritalin (SR) is that it is timed released over a 12 hour period. There's no spikes or highs and the resulting lows which usually follow. Again, in my wife's case, she appears to be "normal" and her vision seems to have opened up nearly full. She claims to "see" more now to the left. Best of all, she states "I feel so much more normal now. I don't feel so dumb anymore".
All I can say with confidence and backed up by several doctors opinions is that these ideas are working for my wife. Will it work for every stroke patient? I doubt it since every stroke is different. I brought this information here with the intent to encourage others to investigate new ideas. Most of all, I wanted to provide encouragement to other care givers in this situation for the first time.
NEVER GIVE UP
Thanks for taking the time to post your results about strokes.
I had several TIA's and a major stroke in 2004. I'm 57, male, with malignant hypertension. Despite being "depressed" about having had a stroke, I guess I'm the lucky one to still be alive.
I lost a 48 yr old brother, and a 35 yr old dad to hemorrhagic strokes, but I didn't see any warning signs, otherwise. One of the TIA's caused severe spinning of the room, one morning, before going to work. After holding on to the walls and making it to the couch, I went to work, anyway (the spinning had stopped). I had no idea that I was having an TIA.
During the major stroke, I was at work, and noticed "sweating" only on my right arm. I also noticed that my speech was getting peculiar, and I felt like I was "speaking thru my nose." Thank goodness my boss took me to the hospital, right away. I told her, "I think I'm having a stroke!"
With physical therapy, I learned to walk again (about 6 months). I learned to talk clearly again (about 4 months). I had my GI tube pulled out (after 3 months) by going to an acupuncture doctor that put needles in my throat, to get my swallowing back. I had gone to acupuncture before, so this wasn't a new experience for me (the needle thing).
I'm back at work, in a reduced capacity workload.
Long term effects:
1."Stiffness" in my left arm and hand (requires stretching exercises, sometimes).
2. "Loss of hot/cold sensitivity" on the complete right side of my body. I have to check the shower settings with my left hand. I have to take a cup or bowl from the micro-wave with my LEFT hand, so as not to burn myself.
3. "Constant sunburn" sensation, complete right side of the body. All of these symptoms developed withing 6 months after the stroke. I'm trying an homeopathic concoction of mixes to alleviate the nerve damage. I'm going after Chronic Stroke symptoms: Numbness, tingling, burning, nerve pain, "pins & needles." I was on Neurontin (Gabapentin)100mg, 3x/day (a "low" dose, by my Doctor's standards). It seems as though he was asking me to take larger doses, as it became ineffective at alleviating my pain. The doctor switched me to Topomax, 25mg/day, but within 3 days I managed to bang up my car in the car wash. I didn't realize how the accident occured, due to "disorientation" I attributed to the Topomax. It (Topomax) didn't take away my pain, and caused some pain to my car! That's why I'm "braving" the pain and trying the homeopathic concoction. Better I hurt, than my car hurt!
4. "Blurry vision" in my right eye. New glasses will probably help here (also affecting "depth perception"). Not so bad, considering I had "double vision" right after the stroke (for about 4 months). I think that wearing my contact lenses, once-in-awhile, while recovering, helped take away the "double vision" (i.e., eye exercises might help).
In closing... keep your blood pressure in check, and don't eat too much sugar, alcohol, fats, etc. Keep up on the blood tests for HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, etc. By the by, my triglycerides were high, and the Doctor wanted me to take "prescription strength" Niacin. Sorry! This stuff turns me beet red and it feels like my head might explode! So I took 300mg, 3x/day of "Pantethine," and within 2 weeks, my triglycerides were back to normal. Of course, I watched my diet, too! No sugar, salt, alcohol, mayonaise, PIZZA, etc.
My husband had a carotid disection,which caused him to have 2 strokes within 18 hours. That was 9 months ago(Friday the 13th,of all days!)He is only 46 years old.After 3 weeks in the hospital, then six months of rehab he is driving(unassisted, but was evaluated for 4 hours behind the wheel, then released with Dr.s permission)Working 35 hours a week(4 days in office, 1 at home), and doing ALMOST everything he did before. We have changed our diets tremendously. and have both lost alot of weight.However, it seems every three or four weeks, he seems to "backslide"and slur his words, become listless and O.C.D., overly tired, etc.This seems to somehow coincide with his monthly Dr. evaluation, is this common to anyone else? also, we have just started 18 mg time release ritalyn,(concerta) and it is helping somewhat,but we will be asking the Dr. to up his dosage in 2 weeks. Today, we will be going to GNC to buy the amino acid supplements. Am finding this site very helpful,we have no more therapist to discuss alternative recoveries with, we were released and just kind of sent on our way, and there is still so much ongoing recovery to be done!
My name is Heather Daniel. I am 28 years old. I suffered a hemarrhagic stroke back in April. It left me paralyzed on my right side. It is now almost 6 months later and I can walk (although not that pretty) without a cane inside the house and with a cane outside. I can move my arm about 30%.
What was your wife like at almost 6 months. Could she walk normally?
Heateher, my husband was walking unassisted and almost normal at six months, at nine months you can hardly tell he had a stroke, with exception og some "left neglect" of his left hand, and some voice weakness.We started the amino acids a week ago, along with Omega 3 vitamins, and he says he feels so much better, and alert, and more focused. He checked with his Dr. about the supplements, and they said to go for it.Every day is a new and better day, with evercises and therapies, it does get better! Good Luck, bobswife
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