A nice note to remind you of what NOT to do….

Sometimes it is nice to see something like this…and not be compelled to answer.  A few years ago, I did want to respond.  So I thank Ms. Sannie Mutul for reminding me of all I got back.  After 11 years, I still have more to gain!

My Name is Mrs Sannie M. Nureeden,  born July 19, 1949. I need a trust
worthy person who can help me accomplish my desire wish
on earth in humanitarian service with the 10.7 million US dollars
funds that was left for me by my late husband in a financial
institution before he was murdered.

My doctor has informed me that I have short period to live because I
have been under medical supervision for over (3) months since I have
been battling with a deadly infection. I do not have anybody after my
only  young daughter who will inherit this fund if I don’t survive the
sickness through your assistance. Please get back to me if you can
give me your word of assurance to be trusted.

Yours Sister,
Mrs Sannie Mutul

Guess What I Forgot…..

NATIONAL STROKE AWARENESS MONTH

May is World Stroke Month, not June. Sorry about that; I had it all cued up and I forgot to post it.

Many health and heart organizations come together every May to raise awareness about the causes and effects of stroke.

One of their biggest campaigns is FAST, teaching the world to know the symptoms of stroke and how to respond quickly to help save a life.

  • Face – By asking the person to smile you can tell immediately if one side of the face droops.
  • Arm – Ask the person to raise both arms. Observe to see if one arm drifts lower than the other.
  • Speech – Slurred speech is a symptom of stroke. Ask the person to repeat a single sentence.
  • Time – Call 911-Fast. Time may be the difference between life and death or even partial and full recovery.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Visit the cdc.gov and stroke.org to find out more. Use #StrokeAwarenessDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

National Stroke Awareness Day was proclaimed in 1989 by President George H. W. Bush. It had been observed for many years before the proclamation. The Centers for Disease Control, the American Heart Association, World Stroke Campaign and many other have all participated in bringing education, research, and treatment on a global basis.

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day with National Day Calendar!

I THINK It Went Well….

They laughed at all the right parts.  They even laughed at a few parts I was trying to make funny.  Then, Ryan Jewell, interviewed Jill (I just stood there smiling) on his Millennial Money Matters segment (it lasts for 3.15 minutes).  Check it out:

I THINK it went well. I will let you know more once I speak with Ryan later on this week. Keep your fingers crossed!

A thoughtful blog post….

“Be Kind! ” This is what Jennifer Tyman Williams wrote on her Facebook a few weeks ago.  Her husband was only 41 when he had his stroke…..

6 years ago today our world was interrupted and changed by a blood clot that got stuck in my husband’s brain stem causing a stroke. Ryan Williams has worked so hard to overcome and I cannot be more proud of him. Has changed both of us… But changed me to be more aware.

Know the symptoms of a stroke

Slurred speech
Tongue when sticking out goes to the side
Droopy mouth
Loss of movement in limbs
Dizziness

What To Do If You See Any of These Behaviors

Be aware of the disabled
Stay clear of people walking with canes and in wheelchairs
Cross a street with someone walking with a cane to make them feel safe
Offer to hold a door for anyone
Be patient in the grocery line or any line
Be kind
Host/hostesses – be aware of a cane stop seating the disabled in the back past
open tables just bc that waiter is next
Don’t stare… Don’t stare… Don’t stare – so rude

He doesn’t always realize how far he has come. I remind him everyday when he came home he was in a wheelchair… and that put everything in perspective. My hubby is my hero.

These are beautiful words. It certainly opened my eyes to look at people with my eyes WIDE OPEN.

Do You Know What To Ask???

9 Things Most People Forget About When Buying disability Insurance

Throughout your working lifetime, you are three times more likely to become disabled than you are to die before age 65. Makes a convincing case for having disability insurance, right? Why then is it that people have historically been more likely to buy life insurance, not disability insurance?

The answer is simple: People are confused by disability insurance. There are so many terms to wrestle with that people just throw up their hands and say, ‘I give up. I’m not buying!’

Disability insurance Buyers Guide

1. Know your PDQ

You can visit WhatsMyPDQ.org to assess your ‘personal disability quotient’ (PDQ). This a free service of the Council of Disability Insurance. Your PDQ will predict the likelihood of you needing to use disability insurance during your working lifetime.

2. Should you buy your own policy or get it through work?

Clark has advised people to buy their own disability insurance policy if they make north of $200,000 a year. If you make less than $200,000 like most average Earthlings, then you want to take the group disability policy through your employer.

Too often people will skip buying disability insurance and think that Social Security disability will help them if needed. Social Security disability won’t help. It doesn’t pay a big benefit and it’s much more difficult to qualify for than a group policy provided through your employer.

3. Do your background research

Whenever you’re considering buying disability insurance, it’s good to do some background reading on this kind of policy. The Wall Street Journal recommends sites like Disability Insurance Resource Center and Disability Insurance Quotes as good unbiased sources of info. You can also get a quote through these sites too.

4. Find an insurance agent

Whether you use the sites mentioned above for a quote or you decide to look elsewhere, one this is certain: You’ve got to get more than one quote. Find an insurance agent, preferably one who can give you quotes from multiple providers. Policy Genius and Disability Insurance Services are good starting points to find a broker. Another route is to get a recommendation from a fee-only financial adviser through Garrett Financial Planning Network. Or you can always call an insurer and ask for a local broker.

5. Buy at 60% of your current pay

Get a disability policy that begins making payments three or six months after you are disabled and continues until age 65. Buy coverage that’s equal to 60% of your current pay before taxes because that will approximate what you’re taking home after taxes.

6. Be sure the insurer is strong

You only want to consider companies that have been rated ‘A++’ by A.M. Best, which means they are of the highest financial strength.

7. Make sure your policy covers your specialty

Whether you’re a physical therapist or a construction worker, be sure that the policy your eyeing covers your skill — in case you are unable to perform your specific job duties.

8. Know if you need high-limit disability insurance

Generally, high-limit disability insurance is limited to the world of sports figures, entertainers, highly compensated business professionals and physicians/surgeons of all stripes. Pro Financial Services (PFS) is one such company that offers these policies through it relationships with underwriters like Chubb, Everest and Lloyd’s of London.

9. Get a final opinion before signing on the dotted line

Buying disability insurance is an important decision. You’ll probably want another set of eyes on the policy terms to make sure everything is kosher. That’s where a disability claims consultant comes in. They’ll help you make sense of the legalese and make sure it’s in your best interest. Google ‘disability claims consultant’ in your area and pay attention to the reviews, if there are any.

Conclusion

Of course, this is one of those things you hope you never need to draw on. But you’ll be grateful if you have it through your employer because it will protect your loved ones and you as well.

Oscar-nominated director John Singleton dies at 51 following stroke

Another high profile actor taken at 51!  Tell others who have high risk of stroke to see a physician.  You wouldn’t believe how hard it is hearing that other people having a stroke 51 years (the same age I was) old didn’t make it. Why did I make it? Am I supposed to be warning other of the risk of surviving a stroke???  Should I be telling my story more???

Please read this!!!!

USA TODAY

John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter behind films like “Boyz n the Hood” and “Poetic Justice,” has died after being taken off life support following a stroke this month, his spokesperson Shannon Barr told USA TODAY Monday. He was 51.

His family said in a statement that Singleton “passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends.”

Singleton’s family said that “in his private life, John is a loving and supporting father, son, brother, and friend who believed in higher education, black culture, old school music and the power of film.”

Earlier Monday, Singleton’s family revealed the director would be taken off life support.

Acclaimed director John Singleton’s stroke: African-Americans face greater risk

“This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors,” the family stated. “We are grateful to his fans, friends and colleagues for the (outpouring) of love and prayers during this incredibly difficult time. We want to thank all the doctors at Cedars Sinai for the impeccable care he received.”

The family also said in the statement that Singleton “like many African Americans … quietly struggled with hypertension.”

His family revealed he’d suffered a stroke on April 17

Singleton was nominated for two Oscars for 1991’s “Boyz n the Hood,” becoming the youngest best director nominee and first black person nominated for the same award.

His other films include “Poetic Justice,” starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur, “Shaft,” “Baby Boy,” “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Four Brothers.”

Singleton’s recent projects include creating and executive producing the FX Networks TV series “Snowfall,” as well as directing the fifth episode of the network’s “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

“We are heartbroken about the passing of our friend and partner, John Singleton,” John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks, said in a statement. “For almost three decades, John was one of the most important filmmakers in this business, dating back to his masterwork, ‘Boyz n the Hood.’ Over the course of his illustrious career, John remained steadfast in telling stories that illuminate the daily challenges faced by African Americans, particularly those living in the inner city.”

Landgraf said the network was “honored and fortunate to have worked with John … I know that the cast and crew loved John as much as we did, and that they are heartbroken over this news. Today we lost an incredibly talented artist, leader, activist, partner and friend — far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”

When news broke of Singleton’s stroke, prominent celebrities took to social media to wish him a speedy recovery.

“His films helped form me. His kindness lifted me up,” Ava DuVernay wrote. “I remember him coming to the premiere of my indie years ago. Showing love/support for a fellow black director from LA. He is a lovely man. Pray with me.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Snoop Dogg and Guillermo del Toro also sent well wishes.

Disability Challenge!

No alt text provided for this image

Ben Davis, of DI Broker, offered this challenge:

Disability Insurance Awareness Month begins on May 1st. Now is the perfect time of year to bolster your DI sales with the promotion of income protection to your clients. Protecting income should be the cornerstone of every sound financial plan. The economic safeguard of one’s most important asset – their ability to earn a living – is absolutely paramount.

Without a steady paycheck, your clients and their dependents face financial ruin and a future of uncertainty. In order to help with the advancement of the disability industry in general and to support the upcoming Disability Insurance Awareness Month, I’d like to issue a call to action. I decree a “90-Day DI Challenge” to any and all capable licensed life/health insurance brokers and general agents in this country. I’d prefer to challenge you to write a certain number of policies. But the truth is, most of you out there are unlikely to write one DI policy a year, let alone a dozen. So, my personal challenge to each and every one of you is to tell 15 clients about protecting their income in the next 90 days. That’s just 5 a month! All you need to do is have a client’s name, sex, age, income, occupation and state of residence to get a quote. There’s a link to request a quote in the comments below. hashtaginsurance hashtagDIAM

Ben Davis
Helping Insurance Agents increase revenue by identifying Disability Insurance opportunities in their books.

Insurance Agents:  Please take Ben’s Challenge. We really need to raise Disability awareness. Sometimes is the near future, you will be getting a calling thanking you for making then purchase disability insurance!

Emilia Clarke, from Game of Thrones, suffered 2 strokes!

Emilia Clarke Suffered 2 Brain Aneurysms

The HBO television series Game Of Thrones is not a romantic comedy. But no matter how harrowing the Game of Thrones fictional plot line may get, it is very unlikely to match the distress that series star Emilia Clark experienced in real life, twice.

Clarke, who has played Daenerys Targaryen in the television series since 2011, penned a piece in the New Yorker describing how she had to deal with complications of her brain aneurysms in 2011 and then 2013. A brain aneurysm is otherwise known as a cerebral aneurysm, because if you want to sound smart you can call your brain a cerebrum. An aneurysm is when part of a blood vessel begins to bulge or balloon. This means that the walls of the blood vessel in that location are weakening. Imagine if a blood vessel were like a garden hose. If you were to see part of a garden hose swell like part of a balloon animal, you would concerned that the hose might begin leak or even burst in that area. That’s the same concern with an aneurysm.

Brain Aneurysm

A brain or cerebral aneurysm is when the aneurysm occurs in one of the blood vessels, usually an artery, that supplies blood to parts of the brain. A brain aneurysm bursting or rupturing is a major emergency. That is what happened to Clarke in 2011.

As she described it in her article, she was about to work out with her trainer on the morning of February 11, 2011, when she “started to feel a bad headache coming on. I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers.” Her struggles continued through the workout:

Then my trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t. I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain—shooting, stabbing, constricting pain—was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.

She was eventually helped to Whittington Hospital in the United Kingdom, where an MRI of her head revealed that she was suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage. A subarachnoid hemorrhage is a bleed into the space between the brain and the membranes surrounding the brain. Apparently, she had developed an aneurysm in an artery in her brain, which then had ruptured and started bleeding. Her description of events in the New Yorker piece matched the classic symptom of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm: the sudden onset of the worst headache of your life. Other common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, double vision, sensitivity to light, necks stiffness, seizures, disorientation, and loss of consciousness.

There are “emergencies”, like your TV or Tivo not working when Games of Thrones is being broadcast. There are bigger emergencies like having explosive diarrhea with no toilet in site. Then there are your-life-is-in-serious-danger-every minute-counts emergencies such as a subarachnoid hemorrhage. You can’t just walk off a subarachnoid hemorrhage. If you do not get treatment as soon as possible, you will die.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), each year ruptures of cerebral aneurysms occur in approximately 30,000 Americans. About a quarter of these unfortunate people do not even survive longer than 24 hours. Another quarter pass away within 6 months. That means ruptured cerebral aneurysms will kill at least 50% of people. Many of the surviving half will suffer long-term or permanent loss of brain function. It is possible to survive and eventually fully recover, but the likelihood depends on the size and location of the bleed and the speed at which proper treatment can be administered and the blood vessel can be repaired.

Thus, Clarke had to have emergency surgery to repair the artery. While this may sound simple, in real life there’s no CGI, no props, no stand-in brains. As I wrote previously for Forbes, when brain cells can’t get blood and thus oxygen, they die within 5 minutes. Bleeding and the resulting inflammation can cause further damage to the brain. Thus, surgeons have to act quickly to repair things as much as they can while moving delicately enough to not cause further damage. Besides stopping the bleeding and repairing the artery, other typical treatments for a ruptured cerebral aneurysm include giving anti-seizure drugs to prevent seizures and calcium channel-blocking drugs to prevent the blood vessels from having spasms that can then result in a stroke. Clarke wrote:

I remember being told that I should sign a release form for surgery. Brain surgery? I was in the middle of my very busy life—I had no time for brain surgery. But, finally, I settled down and signed. And then I was unconscious. For the next three hours, surgeons went about repairing my brain. This would not be my last surgery, and it would not be the worst. I was twenty-four years old.

This first surgery was “minimally invasive,” lasting three hours. Minimally invasive means not completely opening up the body, in this case the skull, to reach the part that needs fixing. Instead, to reach the artery in her brain, the doctors created a small hole in the femoral artery in her groin and then threaded a tube through her connected arteries up into the affected artery in her brain. They could then push a coil, a spiral-shaped object, through the tube, up to where the ruptured aneurysm was. The coil could then expand like a spring, form a clot, and consequently seal off the aneurysm.

This Cleveland Clinic video shows the different ways to repair an aneurysm:

The recovery after such an emergent procedure is the opposite of a picnic, unless that picnic involves suffering severe pain and other symptoms, having a tube constantly down your throat, and not knowing whether you will live, die, or permanently lose some type of body or mental function. During the first two weeks after such a surgery, a patient could go downhill very quickly, downhill in a bad way and not a skiing way. Therefore, a patient’s progress during this post-operative period really determines which direction he or she will eventually go.

Clarke wrote how she managed to get through these two weeks, making good progress. However, shortly thereafter, another issue emerged. When she was asked to say her name, she couldn’t remember it. Granted her full name is Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke, which is at least two more names to remember than what most people have, and four more names than a Brazilian soccer star would have. But her inability to say her name and instead utter what she described as “nonsense”was the result of her suffering a type of aphasia. Aphasia is a general term for an impaired ability to either use or understand words that results from injury to the parts of the brain that control language.

Depending on the amount and location of the brain damage, an aphasia can be temporary or permanent. Fortunately, in Clarke’s case, the aphasia disappeared after about a week. As she described, one month after the surgery, she was able to leave the hospital and soon resume her acting career. One caveat was that the doctors had discovered a “smaller aneurysm on the other side of my brain, and it could ‘pop’ at any time. The doctors said, though, that it was small and it was possible it would remain dormant and harmless indefinitely.”

Fast forward to 2013, when she underwent a brain scan in New York City to do a routine check on her other aneurysm, the doctors, in her words, found that “The growth on the other side of my brain had doubled in size, and the doctor said we should ‘take care of it.’” Doctors first tried another minimally invasive procedure, but when things went awry and she began bleeding in her head, an emergent open surgery was necessary. The recovery from this much more invasive and involved surgery was significantly tougher, according to Clarke. But as she explained, she eventually fully recovered, except possibly that the one thing it may have “robbed me of is good taste in men.”  Her experience has inspired her to develop with others a charity called SameYou that “aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke.”

As you can see, Clarke, who is now 32 year old, had a brain aneurysm rupture and another that was at risk of rupturing while she was in her 20’s. How unusual was this for someone so young? Well, no one knows for sure what percentage of people of different ages are walking around with cerebral aneurysms. Most of the time, a cerebral aneurysm that is not leaking or has not ruptured will produce no symptoms. The exception is when the bulge begins pushing on some other structure, like a nerve to cause numbness, weakness, paralysis, or pain. If the aneurysm is near the eye or a structure that affects the eye, eye-related symptoms like a dilated pupil or changes in vision may occur. Currently, the only way to really determine how many people actually have cerebral aneurysms would be to give everyone regular brain scans, which would be ridiculously expensive. Plus, brain scans may not always detect aneurysms and could have false positives that could lead to unnecessary tests and procedures.

Cerebral aneurysms could evolve at any age but are probably more likely the older you get. That’s because an aneurysm forms when the blood vessel wall weakens and becomes thinner and more pliable, which may occur with age. High blood pressure can cause such weakening just as a garden hose may not be able to handle being connected to a fire hydrant. Certain less common infections, trauma to the head, or brain tumors can weaken blood vessel walls as well. Then, there are conditions such as connective tissue disorders, polycystic kidney disease, and arteriovenous malformations, which are abnormal connections between arteries and veins that then change how blood flows and potentially raise blood pressure in parts of the brain circulation.

What may make an existing aneurysm rupture? Anything that weakens the aneurysm walls like high blood pressure and smoking. That means anything that raises blood pressure like cocaine or other stimulant use can lead to rupture. But not all ruptures necessarily need a precipitating event. Aneurysms can just grow bigger and bigger over time until like a balloon that’s overstretched, it pops, and bad stuff ensues.

As Clarke described in her piece, she apparent kept these events quiet until now for fear of repercussions their revelation may have on her career. Such concerns are natural. Nonetheless, her revealing her medical history may now bring more needed attention to these silent time bombs. More attention could help more people get proper treatment in a more timely fashion. It could bring more attention and care to those who have suffered brain injury. It could also galvanize more research to identify better ways to detect and treat cerebral aneurysms. More awareness is especially important in this day and age when science, scientific research, and funding for scientific research are being treated a bit like many of the Game of Thrones characters in how they are being cut and eliminated.

Follow me on Twitter @bruce_y_lee and visit our Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Read my other Forbes pieces here