Ask Leigh: It Helps to Learn from Others

Posted by Leigh Kost

Dear Leigh: My husband is a stroke survivor.  He had a stroke at age 52 on Oct. 30, 2015.  He has right side paralysis and expressive aphasia. It is very hard to see your soul mate this way. I have been trying to fix him, but just realized I can’t.  I’ve had to stop working to care for him.  He has progressed fairly well, according to the therapist, and is trying to gain back his independence.  I don’t know what to expect. I haven’t been able to find any support groups in my area. – Tammy

Leigh Kost: I do believe exposure to successful stroke survivors and their caregivers would help you immensely. To find a support group you might try looking on the support group registry on, or contacting the stroke coordinator at your local hospital. As an alternative, I personally have found support on social media groups such as Facebook, but I can’t endorse any specific internet group. These groups are unregulated, not run by professionals, and are subject to the various personalities involved, but it might be worth looking into.

There are also groups for caregivers. Interaction with other survivors helped me tremendously. I have spent countless hours online having conversations with other survivors. Be careful; not everyone online can be trusted. Additionally, whenever you encounter anyone in the stroke community, ask as many questions as you can. I have found it’s best to learn from other’s experiences. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a guidebook regarding how to address the myriad of issues faced by stroke survivors and caregivers.

Some general advice; your husband is still the man you married. He is having the fight of his life and needs you to be the spouse that you promised him that you would be when times got bad. There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for what you are experiencing. While every stroke is different, I am here to testify that many stroke survivors go on to have a very good quality of life. My stroke would have been classified as severe, but I enjoy my life. My life is different, but its’s still good. A term heard often in the stroke community is that stroke recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.


Leigh Kost is a stroke survivor who wants to help people within the stroke community cope with the emotional and lifestyle changes that can occur following a stroke. She gives advice based on her own personal experience. She is not a healthcare professional and cannot give medical advice. You can submit questions for Leigh at

The material provided in this column is designed for entertainment purposes only. The views expressed reflect those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association. You should not rely on any information on this page to replace consultations with qualified health care professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

Myths associated with Stroke


Posted by Emily Shearing

Four out of five strokes are preventable. Positive diet and lifestyle changes, as well as regular exercise and quitting smoking can all decrease stroke risk significantly.

And yet, a common myth is that strokes can’t be prevented.

Even more myths about the disease that affects 800,000 people each year exist. Here are a few prevalent misconceptions about stroke debunked.

Myth: Strokes don’t affect people under the age of 65.
Strokes don’t discriminate based on age. A quarter of strokes occur in people younger than 65, and one in ten strokes occur in people age 45 and younger, and those numbers are rising.

Myth: Recovery only happens in the first few months after a stroke occurs.
Although the time shortly after a stroke occurs is important, most stroke survivors see the effects of recovery for the rest of their lives. Continuing physical, speech, and occupational therapy for years after a stroke can still yield positive results. This is true…it is what is happening to me!

Myth: If you’re not in pain, it’s not a stroke.
Many stroke patients don’t feel any pain at all. The more common symptoms include dizziness and loss of balance, difficulty speaking, numbness in extremities, and trouble understanding those around you.

Myth: Strokes don’t run in the family.
The risk of having a stroke increases for those with a family history of stroke.

Myth: Strokes are rare.
There are 7 million stroke survivors in the United States and stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the country.

Myth: Small strokes don’t need medical attention.
Every stroke requires immediate medical attention. Prompt treatment could be the difference between life and death and making a full recovery versus having severe, long-term effects.

Myth: Stroke survivors have no life for themselves.
Although many survivors live with the effects of stroke for the rest of their lives, many make a strong recovery and live a fulfilling life. After suffering a stroke at age 21, survivor Andrew Bloom of West Palm Beach, Fla., graduated from college, got married, and had two kids. Bert Seitzinger of Virginia lost most of the use in his left hand after a stroke six years ago, but now spends his time restoring vehicles and building items by hand. “Challenges do not limit your ability to have a normal life,” Bloom says.