Home Forums Recovery Fallacies about Stroke

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    • Joyce Hoffman

      Debunk. Do you know the word? Here it is in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:


      Definition of debunk: 

      to expose the sham or falseness of

      And that’s what I’m doing right now: Debunking the myths around stroke. 
      For stroke 
      1) to kill about 140,000 Americans each year, 2) for stroke to occur every 40 seconds, 

      3) for stroke to happen to more than 795,000 people in the United States alone, 

      4) for stroke to cost the United States an estimated $34 billion each year including the cost of health care services, medicines to treat stroke, and missed time for work, 

      5) for stroke to be a leading cause of serious long-term disability, 

      6) for stroke to be the major cause in reduced mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over, 

      you deserve to know. And now comes the debunking.


      Fallacy #1: Stroke recovery only happens in the first 3 months after a stroke.

      Truth: While some of the healing takes place in the first few months, recovery can happen anytime if somebody is willing to put the time into physical therapy and other healing options including acupuncture and cannabis. I remember an Occupational Therapist saying to me in Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation, Pomona, NJ, in the first three months after the stroke, “The window is closing. After the three months, the chance of recovery is slim.” I was petrified, thinking the “window is closing.” And here I am now, 10 years and 8 traumatic falls later, with better skills than ever. I wish I remembered his name and call him out right here in my blog. That’s “old school” thinking, man. 

      Fallacy #2: If you’re in pain, it’s a stroke.
      Truth: As a matter of fact, many stroke patients don’t feel any pain. The more common signs include loss of balance, dizziness, trouble with speaking, numbness in extremities, and trouble understanding those around you.
      Fallacy #3: Strokes don’t affect people under the age of 65.

      Truth: Strokes even happens to babies in utero. One in ten strokes occur in people age 45 and younger, and those numbers are rising, especially among millennials.

      Fallacy #4: Stroke happens in the heart.
      Truth: Strokes occur when blood supply to a portion of the brain is diminished or cut off.
      Fallacy #5: Strokes don’t run in families.
      Truth: The threat of having a stroke increases for those with a family history of stroke.

      Fallacy #6: Strokes are uncommon.
      Truth: You wish that were so, but there are 7 million stroke survivors in the United States and stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US alone, and it’s a top reason for disability around the world.

      Fallacy #7: Small strokes don’t need medical attention.
      Truth: Every stroke needs medical attention right away. Prompt treatment could be the difference between life and death and between making a full recovery vs having long-term effects. 

      Fallacy #8: Stroke survivors have no life anymore.
      Truth: Although many survivors live with the effects of stroke for the rest of their lives, many make a strong comeback and live a good life. Look at me, for example. I used to be a runner, played the piano, and knit scarves for the family. Even though I can’t do those things anymore, I read more and, of course, write. 

      Fallacy #9: Aspirin is an effective home remedy for stroke.

      Truth: Aspirin is not always a safe remedy for a stroke. Aspirin could actually be harmful if you are having a stroke caused by bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke) in the brain. Aspirin could intensify the bleeding. 

      Fallacy #10: Strokes always come about without any such warning. 
      Truth: Some strokes simply happen without warning. But many strokes happen with what many describe as “the worst headache of my life.” In my case, I got a bad headache, too, but I didn’t go to the hospital. I just chalked it up to stress from work or bad sinuses. Other signs are numbness or pain in the extremities, confusion, or dizziness.  
      So there you have it. Debunked! Aah. I feel better now.

      By the way, this idea was given to me by the genius and humble Daniel, the President (I call him that because he started it) of https://www.strokefocus.net. Join please! You will get much material and comfort on strokes, knowing that you’re not alone, and TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) are welcome, too!

      • This topic was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by  Daniel Gu.
      • This topic was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by  Daniel Gu.

      So well explained Joyce.

      I would like to add my two cents.

      Dressing Fallacy#1

      I recently started with a new physical Therapist who disappointed me at intake ( my interview of her)  Claiming the first year is when you see the most results of recovery. I shared that was not the case with me I saw improvement in the second and subsequent years.  As a matter of fact last week I was able to hear a phone number and did not have to write it down to dial it, that is major recovery for me and this is nine years out April 8. I have documented my timeline of recovery and trust me it was not just in the “first year”. There are  several excellent books that share experiences of survivors recovering many lost abilities, years down the road.


      Fallacy #8: I lead a very active life and not only have I  survived the stroke but also the loss of my husband of 52 years  in 2017, I managed to  downsize my home  volunteer at our local police dept., I make my home therapy exercises  a priority! So yes my life is not quite the same as my left hand is resistant to responding , but I  won’t give up. I even daily play my piano having researched and found music for right hand only players. I have good life , not the same one as before the stroke but a fulfilling good life.

    • eugene sekiguchi

      about 8:20 pm pdt
      Hi Joyce,
      I call Dan Jing.
      This may only be a throwback of who I am (all of us who are I).
      I am an Asiatic born in the United States of America.
      I had the experience of being sent to an American Cocentration Camp for the duration of World War 2. I had no trial. I was just an infant. My dad was separated from us (his wife and child). He had no trial either. We were sent Heart Mountain, Wyoming, after a short stay at the Santa Anita race track horse stables. After the World War 2 ended, we were sent back to Los Angeles. In L.A., we first lived in a hotel. From the experiences, I learned to work hard – 120% level or more, not to complain overtly, bear with the hardships, find the best to do instead of the worst . I suppose this is much more than you want, so I’ll stop.
      Jing’s forray into Australia, Professor Maguire was an opportunity for rehabilitation knowledge. The attendance was less than expected but it was a good talk. It went way over my head so I would like to hear it at least one more time. I suggest that if you have not heard Priofessor Maguire trhat you listed to her. I do know that the original talk was not at a convenient time for us so I hope that iot was recorded fpr us to hear.
      I agree with younabout all of them. I guess I’m a debunker.
      You may wantvto ignore my comments except for the last.

      • Daniel Gu
        Gene, this is a very thoughtful response. You can call me by Jing or Dan. 

        Stroke is very common. As a younger survivor, I now know the unique challenge facing us. 2 biggest things survivors face are 1) not knowing what to expect. 2) loss or change of our identity. We work hard to become X and all in a sudden we are put on track to become Y.

      • Joyce Hoffman


        I take all of your comments to heart, especially your extraordinary past.
        Thank you for sharing. I think that we all should share our past in our
        Friday meeting. I mean, we assemble yet know so little about what makes us
        “us.” What do you think of the idea?


        • Kelly Campbell

          That’s a great idea! I’ll let Clem know. Thanks for sharing. You guys are

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