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I have a male friend who had a stroke @ the age of 31. His left side (arm & leg) are still numb.

By Anonymous January 8, 2010 - 2:27pm
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I have a male friend who had a stroke @ the age of 31. His left side (arm & leg) are still numb. Do you have any suggestions besides physical therapy that may aid him on his way to getting well again. His stroke was 3 years ago

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Kathryn - Diane asked me to take a look at your post, and I'd be happy to help you. First, though, I need a better understanding of what you mean by "He has had therapy and is still going to his therapy sessions, but his health insurance is at the point where they are trying to drop him." Do you mean they are trying to cancel all of his coverage, or do you mean they are saying he has reached the limit of his coverage for therapy? What have they done or said that would indicate they are "trying to drop him?"

My next question is, where is he being treated and what therapy is being provided? There is a huge difference in patient outcomes for those treated in specialized stroke rehabilitation treatment programs. Is your friend receiving any forms of therapy beyond physical therapy such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and support for cognitive development?

Diane has asked where you live and I hope you'll respond so we can help research the medical facilities and support organizations in your area. I'm truly sorry to hear that your friend's been dealing with these problems for three years, but glad to know that he's reconnected with you. Let's see what we can do, together, to help him move forward with his life.
Take good care, Pat

January 22, 2010 - 6:08pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hello I'm Jim Pettitt a stroke suvivor. My stroke was my entire left side, speech, reading and writing. I'm fully recovered now and have a website which can help your friend.
It's about motivating stroke survivors and their caregivers. There are links to my book as well which tell how I got all I lost, back. The book is, "I had a stroke, didn't like it so I got rid of it". You and he will find it helpful if he really wants to get better. Best of luck!

January 21, 2010 - 5:00am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Jim - Thanks so much for writing and sharing your website link. You have a wealth of information to offer both stroke survivors and caregivers. I hope you will consider becoming a member of our site and that we hear more from you.
Take care, Pat

January 22, 2010 - 6:10pm


I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Can you tell us a little more?

What sorts of treatment has your friend had? I'm assuming he had a lot of physical therapy shortly after the stroke; is he having any treatment now?

Does your friend speak and think correctly, or are those functions impaired also?

How much improvement has your friend made since he had his stroke?

Did he have any surgery? Does he take any medications?

Does he eat nutritiously? Is he able to exercise?

And am I correct in interpreting your question as saying that he has no use at all of his left arm and leg?

There is a lot of detailed (and optimistic!) information available at the American Stroke Association's website. Have you explored it at all? Here's a link:


If you'll get back to us with some more detailed information, I'll be very happy to see what else I can find for you. Your friend is lucky to have you for an advocate.

January 11, 2010 - 9:26am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Yes, I can tell you more. He has had therapy and is still going to his therapy sessions, but his health insurance is at the point where they are trying to drop him. He speaks and thinks correctly, but has a little trouble remembering certain things. He has made great improvement from what I see. I wasn't in his life when the stroke occured, I only came back in contact with him within the past few weeks. From what he tells me, he was bed ridden for a few months, then was in a wheelchair for several months. Now he is walking with the help of a brace on his left leg. He can walk without the brace but his knee hyperextends sometimes. Yes he had brain surgery to releive the bleeding on the brain, and from what he tells me, it was the surgeon who touched a section in his brain that caused the numbness on his left side. Yes, he takes medication for seisures. He doesn't eat as nutritiously as he should, but I'm working on that with him. I'm not a nutritionist but I know his eating habits aren't as good as they should be. He does excercise on the days when he doesn't have therapy. Funny thing, he was in great shape before the stroke - an athelete - not a smoker or drinker. He has no use in his left arm at all, but it does move when he stretches the right arm. He can't wiggle the toes on his left foot or feel anything in the left leg, but can move his left leg when exercising or walking ( with a limp ).

Thanks for the link.


January 21, 2010 - 9:29am
(reply to sweetkat2u)


First of all, thanks so much for getting back to us with some more information.

I hate that his insurance company is trying to drop him right now! That is heinous! Does there seem to be a way to prevent it? Does he need an advocate to fight for him or anything? One of our moderators (Pat Elliot) is very knowledgeable about this area; I"ll mention your question to her too.

I want to say that it sounds like your friend is still acting like an athlete! He's active, he's improving and he wants to get even better than he is. Those attributes are going to take him far, no matter how much more improvement he makes. Just going from bed to wheelchair to walking with a brace is huge. Good for him!

I should have asked where you were in the country, Kathryn. I don't want to give you links that aren't helpful. But here is a stroke recovery research program that does clinical trials (it is in Washington D.C.; there is a PDF brochure you can download at the bottom of the page):


And here's a link to the Stroke Recovery Center, which is on the other side of the country (Palm Springs, CA):


That site has bimonthly newsletters that you can read here:


Here is one piece of exercise equipment that some stroke patients apparently find success with. A caution, this is the marketing page for this equipment, so of course all the testimonials will be good. But it still may be interesting to your friend:


Here's an article from the American Heart Association on how important your friend's rehab and extra exercise is:


I'll let you explore those links, and I'll forward your question to one of the doctors on our Medical Advisory Board. In the meantime, please let us know where you live (just city and state).

And hang in there. From all I read, your friend is doing marvelously, and there's no reason he can't continue. (Except for that nagging insurance problem. Is there really a chance that he will be dropped?)

January 22, 2010 - 9:30am
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