Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stroke is Life Changing by Perry

Stroke is life-changing. 

Right Leg: I drive with my right leg on the gas pedal - no pressure off and on, no feeling on right leg.   When I drive, pressure off and on gas, I start and stop – next period … quick … quickly stop…. Quickly….

(My memories:  The 2 daughters in car seats, their hands holding on the car, and bounce and stop drive --- I had no pressure in right leg).   I walked, like ankle had heavy ball on right leg.  I am sorry!! I felt no pressure right leg!)

Right Arm:  I am typing and write, speech therapists made me practice using my right arm, and it frustrated me!! (it matters, thank you all therapists!)  Fingers can not feel.  My fingers can work a screwdriver and button on/off, small things my daughters help me.  

Brain:  I am thinking brain: “1 + 1. (no answer!! next question) I watch TV, space ship next launch.  I enjoy computer science, programming … what do I do?  (no answer) ….. I eat next dinner? …. I can play racquetball… I can go to restaurants….“  At night, at bedtime, and I want to sleep.  But brain is thinking, and brain can’t sleep!!

I bought sleeping pill (Costco), and I take 10-15 pills at night.  It takes 1 hours, and I am sleeping.  Prior nights, the sleep was 2-3 am, and I was awake.  I had an appointment with sleep doctor, and she said it is sleep apnea (?).  Do you do recommend stroke & sleep doctors to help with sleep?

Stroke is life-changing.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

10 Years Alive by Pat

It happened 10 years ago. My wife believed in me. She showed up to Bethesda, MD. She told me that I would make it. She flew from Seattle, Washington to Ronald Reagan Airport in D.C. She got there in the morning of Monday July 9, 2007.

My family, friends, nurses and doctors all said it was bad. This one doctor said I would be dead in a week. The nurses were good. This other doctor came to see me in the morning and at night. He was very good. I don’t remember, I was in a coma for 4 weeks.

I landed at Joint Base Andrews, AF, MD. On the way we stopped in Landstuhl, AF in Germany. I did a “tail to tail.” I was there for an hour. I had come from Balad, Iraq. They did my surgery there took 8 or 10 hours. Before I was in a helicopter from Baghdad.

When you get hurt you have one hour to live. My Thunder soldiers did fantastic!

We were in Dora, Baghdad. I had a new job for the last two months. We always went out at night to make sure we found the bad ones who were setting explosives for the next day.  That night, I had about 10 soldiers along side me on a rooftop. About 10 houses away there were 10 more soldiers from my unit. After a couple of hours we wanted to get water for the soldiers. Two soldiers were going to go to the Stryker, so I decided to go with them.

That day was July 7, 2007. It was in the middle of the night.

The first guys had moved across the roof and were going down the stairs. I was heading to the stairs on the second house and somebody shot me in the left temporal skull. I passed out right away. Two of my soldiers ran over to see what I was doing. They saw that I was passed out. It took four soldiers to dragged me downstairs and put me in to a Stryker. I went to the hospital right away.

I lived. They were so professional. And I will never be the same. My life is differently now. But I can't complain…

If you ever run into these people, give them a hug for me!

Kevin DaGraca, Larry Forrest, Frankie Vasquez, Manykhamph Douangmala, Timothy Antinick, Robert Buller, Jonathan Byerly, Ho Lee, Clayton Kline, Daniel Ward, Phillip Hoss, Daniel Iovine, Erickson Hooper, Sean Burnett, John Kennedy, Garret Meadows, Jeremy Woodard, Jose Alvarez, Jeremy Pattman, Lance Holtgeerts, Chris Kay, Clifford Mills, Jack McClernon, Brian Hux, Todd Tasco, Brandon Kinton, Travis Sparr, Taire Smith, Mathew Sukovieh and Doc Kevin McCulley

RIP Matthew Attalai (Afghanistan 2010)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How I DO MORE by Christie, Denise, and Perry

Volunteering by Christie

I give back to the Center by volunteering one day a week. I have volunteered for many years and I truly enjoy having a purpose in life. In the beginning, I felt overwhelmed with remembering tasks and issues with memory and my confidence suffered because of it.  Now, I have dealt with strategies that work and my confidence has flourished. My day usually consists of helping a mentee learn how to navigate the computer, making birthday cards for the members and brewing the coffee.
I also volunteer to host a golf event called the Kalikie Classic.  The founding fathers and I have been hosting it for 10 years. In the beginning, the founding fathers helped with different tasks because I was forgetful with remembering these tasks. Now, I have learned so much and by memory is better as long as I write them down. I am excited to celebrate this year for my 10 anniversary of my stroke and hosting the 10th Annual Kalikie Classic together. The date is set for September 13, 2017 at Raspberry Falls Golf Club.  If you are interested, please email me at kalikieclassic@gmail.com. 
All of these things are why I love the Center because they help us learn how to deal with different tasks. So, please join us in raising funds to support the Center by donating $24 or more to Do Make 24 on June 8th.
Tech Support by Denise

I have lived for six years without understanding how to speak. Now I can use the language much better. It is useful in my writing and reading.  Today I am able to understand the words that I use.  The words can be found to state my thoughts.  I make the best use of English in all aspects.
At Stroke Comeback Center I learned how to use an iPhone. I find that to be particularly useful when listening to books. Audiobooks are of great use to me. When  I  have the ideas for using  the words, I write them. I can read and send these as email and text messages. Finally, there is usage of the  telephone in sending and receiving calls.
I feel that I am making  progress. I will  continue my work with your help. Please consider giving at least $24 on June 8th.

24 Hours by Perry
Please $24 benefit for Stroke Comeback Center.
I am thankful for therapists…. 1 class for now. Thank you therapists!!
I can read e-mails, understand and learn emails and type e-mails.  I can understand and learn, I can read the books.  Stroke Comeback Center is good.
I have telephone (speech, listening, dial numbers), and Stroke Comeback Center is good.  I have telephone - talking receptionist at doctor, dentist, electrician, air conditioner, plumbing and utilities.  Stroke Comeback Center is good.
I go out restaurants, eat and talk to waitresses.  I have forks and knives and napkins and soda, I can talk to the waitress. Stroke Comeback Center is good.
I am numbers, too. It must be practice, practice, and perfect practice for numbers.  Stroke Comeback Center is good.
I am a volunteer at Ashburn Library.  Stroke Comeback Center is good.
I have two daughters in college:  I can speech and talk and Skype and email.  (thank you to my two daughters, they are very patient).  Stroke Comeback Center is good: speech, talk, and e-mail!!
Thank you Therapists Stroke Comeback Center.
Please give $24 to benefit for Stroke Comeback Center on June 8.

Support Stroke Comeback Center through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, 2017 by visiting https://domore24.org/npos/stroke-comeback

Monday, June 5, 2017

Do More 24 by Pat

Donate Now

24 hours to do it again this year. It happens on June 8, 2017 this year. The Do More 24 started in D.C. For 5 years they help charities make money. This is when the Stroke Comeback Center (SCC) needs help. I've been going there for 5 years. This center is the greatest place. If I thought I was great now or I couldn't get better at all. I would have stopped. I know that I have traumatic brain injury (TBI), aphasia and post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE). 

This last year I went to the SCC two times a week. A lot of these classes were new. And I like them. On July 7, 2007 I had been in Iraq for a year. My guys and I would go at night to see if the bad people would set IED's. That night we were on top of a house. All of a sudden, across the road, I got shot.  I got shot in my left temple. I passed out right away. Four of my soldiers picked me up, dragged me downstairs, went into a Stryker (car), drove to Baghdad, flew to Balad and I had surgery right away. They threw away my left brain. 

It took me almost 3 years later to talk again. I joined the SCC in October 2011. Now I am talking better, write a blog, practice reading books and a class for using my brain. This is what I think is the coolest! When I got shot the Broca's area was destroyed. I should never have talked again.

My speaking, reading and understanding have gotten better. 5 years ago I couldn't read at all. If you do it, use your brain. The Stroke Comeback Center has helped me. Can you please give them $24 on June 8, 2017!!!

Support Stroke Comeback Center through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, 2017 by visiting https://domore24.org/npos/stroke-comeback

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Comeback Trail by Randy

My name is Randy Kernus.  I was the Stroke Survivor Coach Team Lead.  This race was for the National Stroke Association.  The race was in Washington DC., on April 22, 2017. This was the first time it was being held in D.C. And we hope to keep it going every year.  I was with Darlene Williamson and the NSA President for the countdown to start the race…5,4,3,2,1!

I am very pleased to be involved with this event.  I am a stroke survivor 6 years post.  I also have aphasia. I will do all I can to keep stroke awareness in the forefront as we never give up.

My body does not have any paralysis so I am able to walk and run.  However as a result of my stroke I have trouble understanding words.  When I first had my stroke I could not speak, read or write.  I also cannot see out of my right side.  Due to that I am always looking to my right side.

As a survivor I have become a Stroke Survivor Coach.  However, at this time I cannot be a trainer due to my brain injury as a result of my stroke.  Since my reading, writing and memory have been compromised, studying and taking tests presents a great challenge.  I will never give up trying to be a certified trainer.

We have exercise classes at the SCC.  Having an amazing trainer (Nancy Selden) that has helped me guide other survivors through our classes.  When I began being a coach during our classes I would watch everyone through the mirrors.  Now I am able to mirror other survivors.  When they went on the right I would mirror them on the left.  If they were on the left I would be on the right.  Sometimes I would make mistakes but I have gotten better.

The Comeback Trail experience represents just that, I am coming back to life as was everyone else who participated.  It was a new challenged that I was willing to take on.  Challenges are not as scary as they used to be and that is why as a survivor We Never Give Up!!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stroke and PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA) by Perry

I had a stroke 11+ years ago and have PBA. It makes my mood happy, even when it shouldn’t. TV news shows dead people; I am sorry, but I still smile. 

Watch TV, PBA commercial (https://www.pbainfo.org/) is good, some 3-4+ years have stroke. It was creating mood. The PBA commercial is stroke and brain injury. You are happy when TV has a bad story, and you cry when it is a great time.

For instance: Ex-wife before divorce, and I told her that I have PBA. The ex-wife’s mother died, and I was in a happy mood. I could smile, stand up for receiving line at funeral.

The practicing doctor is clueless. I can’t speech. I don’t see my neurosurgeon anymore. The Stroke Comeback Center was not telling, and realized my mood was happy and cry. Physical Therapy didn’t realize my mood. My family, parents and sisters, were normal. I am normal mood (I can’t speech). The 4+ years was heavy PBA, and no drugs for PBA (23 results -
https://www.pbainfo.org/pba-quiz). I am minor PBA today (9 results).

Kids were young: The actions is I might be, and I can change the mood quickly. My kids are rock strong, and I can thank you. Kids/Young adults (college freshman): THANK YOU!! Thank you!! I love you!! Thank you! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Flying Down by Pat

So this made flying very good, then bad. On St. Patrick Day, Patty, my nephew Austin, and I flew to Sarasota, FL. I had called the TSA two weeks before and gave them my information. I told them my VetDog (WILSON) was coming. Two weeks later we went to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. We flew on American Airlines. Patty and I sat at the bulkhead. We sat there because Wilson is a big dog. He weighs 100 pounds. They let Austin sit in the first-class. It was easy and relaxing.
It was nice in Florida. We stayed at my mom's house and my sister, Mary, showed up. And the weather was beautiful everyday. It was about 75 degrees outside. After five days we went home. It was time to go back to reality.
We used Delta Airlines to go home. We were going to Atlanta then Reagan. I realized the airport was not huge in Sarasota. I thought there were nice people from Delta. So I did not call the TSA. First we asked about Wilson when we checked in. They told us to ask the gate agent. They said they would try to fix it. Then they started boarding. So I started getting mad and went over to ask here. "What's going on?" "Can I sit in the bulkhead?" They told me they were still trying to figure it out. They told me Wilson and I were in the 30th row. We went back there and Wilson couldn't lie down. He and I walked next to the back bathroom and waited. A flight attendant asked if I knew to go. "I told him that my VetDog and I can't fit in our row. I told them that I needed to be in the bulkhead. What to do now?" At the end, they did. Well, Delta is strange! The back the rows are tiny.
We waited for about 15 minutes. Then Wilson and I got a row at the bulkhead. While I was walking up, tons of people were Tweeting on Delta. "Do your job in the beginning!!!" 10 minutes later we flew to Atlanta. I was still mad! (The Irish come out of me sometimes...) I got my ginger ale and started to relax. There was a doctor sitting next to me. He liked Wilson and he helped people's brains. When the plane landed I got out of the way.
I got out and was figuring out where to go. Somebody was waiting to give me a ride to the next airplane. It became nice again. I hope that airplanes can be nice all the time. Now I know I need to call the TSA two weeks before I am going somewhere!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Music by Denise

I have two musical instruments that I play, the flute and the piano. The flute was my first study. I practiced the flute for at least four hours per day. There was little that I could not accomplish. I was a well accomplished flutist by the time I was ready to retire. It was a perfect time for playing the flute. I played the music for a long time. When it ended I was already a person in need of a new instrument. I bought a perfect piece, a beautiful piano. The piece was involved in all parts of the study. I cannot give a complete account of efforts during the years studied. But I will say that I was with a growing use of my hands.

Today I am struggling with notes, using only the notes that are played from one hand. My right hand is completely paralyzed. And I have only one hand to use. Work is slow.  You want to meet all of the notes on each line.  There is one more difficulty, and that is with the use of the language or words.

I will work with the one hand available to me.  This will bring all the notes from one hand. I have a friend who was a teacher and will bring me some things to practice. I am at the very beginning of learning, and it will take a long time to learn. I intend to be very happy with this work.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

People Can’t See Aphasia Disability by Perry

I am aphasia speech – not digits and words. Society: Aphasia is not important – society (handicapped people: wheelchair, cane walk, walking/seeing dog and speech. I am speech aphasia. Society can people see wheelchair and cane walk.). I go to Stroke Comeback Center. We run the gamut - technical, financial, high school and/or college student, and President of companies, etc. The people here have aphasia, disabled from speech.

I don’t say “verbs” in my speech, and/or I don’t speak “objects” and “people” speech, etc. The society are waiter/waitresses, people and computer scientists, managers can talk I -- I can speak. People and Society can not know my disabled aphasia people. The highest aphasia, and never speak and forget words – society can know. The number is severe aphasia (I am several years), not words, or words (aphasia “xyzzy”: but “I am sorry” I would say!) not feeling but subject and object (I am now later), or story locally …. Most people is short time, and extra time.

(St Patrick Day I can walk to an Irish bar. The drink is Irish beer. I talked bar waiter, and I order the whiskey, and see I point third bottle on top. I speak to waiter: “I want the beer” but I should “I want whiskey, third bottle whiskey – not iced”. The waitress brings beer. The waitress can’t understand!! Right in my brain, not speech!!)

Because: Aphasia people is time and extra time.

The most important thing for people in society is time, time, and TIME!!!

With time, and I can talk.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Foster's Grille by Randy

The Stroke Comeback Center received a phone call from the manager at the Vienna Foster’s Grill. They asked if the center would be interested in doing the Dining for Dollars. Apparently they have seen many survivors from the center come in for lunch.
Foster’s Grill is located in Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. When I was a UPS Driver, I used to have lunch at the one in Herndon. Back in the day, a burger for lunch was one of my favorite weekly rituals. It was a great time to catch up with my UPS buddies. Now as a stroke survivor I was happy to learn that Foster’s was located in Vienna. I know have my weekly ritual of having a burger at Foster’s with my stroke survivor buddies.
20% will be donated to the SCC. We are using this monthly. Dining for dollars will be used every 4th Tuesday of every month. We did it for the first time on January 24, 2017. 
The center gets a check from Forster’s Grill every month. That is awesome for the SCC. Foster’s Grill is a fantastic neighbor! Just as they support our community, let’s support Foster’s and the SCC by Dining for Dollars next Tuesday!! 

Foster's Grille of Vienna
Vienna Shopping Center
138 Maple Ave W
Vienna, VA 22180

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Super Slippers by Christie

Wouldn't you like to wear slippers in your house? For 10 years, I have struggled to try to find slippers to wear around the home. I've tried many different shoes without luck. I needed slippers that have heel support and grips and won't twist my ankle when I walk.
I think I solved the problem. I found a shoe that has the support I needed. It's called Mahabis and it's made in London, England. It has a sole which protects walking around the house and taking Kona outside as well. It's relaxed and comfortable but feels like slippers.  Here is the website if you interested:  https://mahabis.com/pages/classic-slipper  
This is the style I chose:

Friday, February 3, 2017

ALIVE for 10 years! by Pat

Today is the start of 2017 and I need it. The beginning of 2016 was great. Then in the summer I got sick. My body was in charge the rest of the year. I didn't do the Army 10 Miler. Then I went to see a lot of doctors. I just was not having fun.

But I am mad. I can only say, "Thank You!" When I got hurt, I lived. I am ALIVE... July 7, 2017 will be Alive for 10 years. Think about it. I am retired. There are two things that needed to happen.

  1. Exercise! I need to walk often (WILSON, he loves walking) and use my trike. I read that walking is better than running on your brain. And I need my brain to be working on the time.
  2. Speak! For my friends, you know I has gotten better speaking. That is incredible. But let's keep going. Do you remember these words? Every year it has gotten better. Talking, listening, reading and writing.  
Since I got hurt I met so many great people. I need to thank my doctors, nurses and the military friends. I went to different places: RIC Chicago, Casa Colina, University Michigan Aphasia Program, Walter Reed and the old NNMC, Bethesda, Stroke Comeback Center and Learning RX. My PT, OT and speech teachers have been incredible!! (There are 3-4 that Were bad. So, it is possible that 95% of therapists fixed me back together.)

It is the last thing I need to tell you, "Thank You!!!!!!!" Friends, you came to see me right away in the hospital. Now hundreds of you have come for the Army 10 Miler race. Then they really love the party! My family as been good, also. If you know the Horans they are quiet. But they showed up and they never let me quit.
Finally my wife, Patty, has change my life. Doctors said I was going to die, she told herself that I would get better. I was able to go to a really good hospital. The speech therapist said I would never speak and got a DynaVox. Two years later she gave it to the speech class at Walter Reed. When I was in Walter Reed I did PT, OT and speech too. She knew 3 hours was not enough. She found different therapists and programs. I didn't know what I was doing. But I got better. And after 10 years I wake up in the morning, thankful I am still alive and my wife made me better than I ever was supposed to be. I LOVE PATTY because she saved me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 27, 2017

I need Obamacare by Perry

I need Obamacare, and I got stroke and aphasia.  I am divorced, and two daughters college.   The Obamacare protects preexisting conditions like stroke.
(Canada/England/Australia/… insurance companies don’t have preexisting conditions.) 
FYI: I am standing up for these rights as American:

  1. Obamacare (Stroke and aphasia)
  2. Women’s’ Rights (2 sisters; 2 twin daughters)
  3. LBGT (constitution says: “all men are equals…”)
P.S. After 11+ years on a stroke, right hand is feels nerves!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

10th Anniversary of my Stroke by Christie

How life passes by.....you don't realize it until it becomes a milestone to stop and reflect...what have I accomplished in my 10 years after my stroke.  In the beginning, I felt overwhelmed with my situation dealing with many issues.  I had a support of many people helping me including my husband, Chris, my parents, Eileen and Oma.  They have been my support from the beginning and will continue until the end. 

Looking back, I have been positive throughout my ordeal.  There are high and low days but that is normal.  You always believe that there is a silver lining in life and you never give up regardless of your issues.  That has been my mantra.....you roll through the punches! 

A highlight that I have accomplished was speaking at Gallaudet University graduation.  I had a special bond with an intern, Kiki, and she asked if I could speak about my stroke.  I totally said yes.  I started to prepare what I was going to write, many versions later I was pleased with the result but still some tweaks to change.  I started to practice my speech, over and over again.  It was hard back then. I was at the point of my recovery that I felt happy with my result.  It was 5 years ago and now I have grown so much since then.  Now, I can speak well with no problems when it involves conversation which is what I wanted to do.  I'm still working on writing and reading.  It has improved tremendous in the 10 years that I have struggled and I am still hopeful that it will continue to get better.

I continue to make progress even though slowly.  I haven't plateaued yet and let's hope it doesn't stop.   Just remember to believe in yourself and you can accomplish many things.....I promise!

Black-Bottom Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 7 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) peanut butter chips
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned style or freshly ground)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray. Blend graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pie dish. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine chocolate chips, 2/3 cup cream, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium heat until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Whisk until melted and smooth. Spread chocolate mixture over bottom of crust. Freeze 10 minutes. 

Microwave peanut butter chips and 3/4 cup cream in large microwave-safe bowl on medium heat at 15-second intervals just until chips soften, stirring often. Whisk in peanut butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool to barely lukewarm. Beat remaining 1 cup cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until very thick but not yet holding peaks; fold into peanut butter mixture in 3 additions. Spoon mousse over chocolate layer. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

One Loudoun Review - by Perry

It is Ashburn One Loudoun, and dinner, movies, shopping and business.  It is good farmers market… Saturday!! It is parking, and handicapped parking.  A drive is 7 hwy (harry barry blvd), and 28 hwy close by.  A close by is Redskins Training Camp.
Hail & Hogs Redskins Restaurant (https://hailandhog.g3restaurants.com) was I.  The trophies, 3 super bowl trophies, and pictures are memorabilia. I was lunch and dinner eat.  Restaurant is roof when people, and cheering redskins winning.
The all windows open is fine day. The Redskins memorabilia is fan.  A hall is Redskin’s photographs.
Food – okay.   Beer – okay. 

Bar Louie (http://www.barlouie.com/)* – Good.  Food – Good.  Beer – Good.  Food – I am A+.

Copperwood (http://www.copperwoodtavern.com/) – pricey.

Uncle Julio’s (https://www.unclejulios.com/) – Good, and excellent.

World of Beer (https://worldofbeer.com/)* – Good.  Beer – Great excellent – A+++.  Food – I am A+.

 Zoe Kitchen (http://zoeskitchen.com/) – Good.

 SpinFire Pizza (https://www.spinfirepizza.com/home) – Good pizza.

 Elevation Burger (http://elevationburger.com/) – Good.

 Alamo Restaurant & Movies (https://drafthouse.com/ashburn) – Good, and see in movie.  Food – Good.

 Aggio (http://ashburn.volt-aggio.com/) – I am eat never.

 Okada Japan (http://okadajapaneserestaurant.com/) – I am eat never.

 Pho Royal (http://phoroyalrestaurants.com/) – I am eat never.

 *- I am A+ restaurants and beer.