Stroke – Looking for a Cure

By Lin Wisman


Several months ago someone posted on the board asking if anyone knew of a prescription which could cure stroke. Of course there is none. People were kind in their responses. I realize initially stroke survivors and their families often believe there must be a cure. By cure they seem to mean restoration of health identical to what was before the stroke. The other day someone in chat was saying that she was no longer looking for ways to recover, but was looking for a therapy which would insure that her symptoms would disappear. Yearning for cure, in her case, has continued for years.

The conversation on Stem Cell Therapy has brought this issue to the forefront. Those who offer Stem Cell Therapy, for obvious reasons, do not guarantee that the therapy will eliminate all post stroke symptoms. I am not aware of any therapy which insures complete success. It does not matter if the therapy is mainline or alternative. It is highly likely that the survivor will not return to their pre-stroke state. At the very least various options help, but I know of none which is a panacea. At the same time, if one doesn’t try various options, the chance to improve diminishes.

Mainline therapy helps most people. I owe my ability to walk to it. Physical, occupational and speech therapies all are critical. Most of us attest that it also takes the will power of the survivor, and the backing of caregivers and family. We live in a world where we would like to think that every medical problem can be solved by a pill, or at least easily by some method. Not true for stroke. Hard work continues to be the principle option.

In addition to traditional therapy, I have personally tried several alternatives, most of which I have stumbled upon. It is unfortunate that most people have to stumble upon alternatives. The medical community is just not equipped to offer more that mainline solutions.  Stroke Network members have tried and reported on various alternatives.

Currently I know that I have to work to maintain what I have. For me this includes walking, exercise, healing music, yoga, acupuncture, crosswords, vitamins. These things keep me from losing what I have and continue to push toward more recovery, although it is painstakingly slow.

Another crucial area is diet. Improving diet can help the body to heal. It can also help to insure future health. Be sure to check with your doctor. If you have special needs, like diabetes, and adjust your diet accordingly. And, of course, taking medicines prescribed is important. It is also wise to research prescriptions and to ask lots of questions. Prescription needs can change.

Stem Cell therapy does provide hope. The research is encouraging. But, I have a feeling it will not be a panacea. It will be great to hear the reflection of a Stroke Network member. It is somehow reassuring to hear from one of your own.

Post stroke recovery takes lots of work. There is not currently anyway around it. A cure would be great, but I’m not basing my future on it.



Lin is Director Information Resources for The Stroke Network


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