Thursday, April 14, 2016

Get an MRI of your brain. Keep a copy.

One thing I recommend to every survivor: Get an MRI of your brain and keep a copy.

Why? 

First of all, an MRI can tell you a lot about what parts of your brain were damaged. Knowing where the damage was can give you insight into potential recovery. 

And an MRI (probably) comes with good news: You probs didn't suffer from as much brain damage as you thought you did. In fact, the average stroke (stress average) kills about 2% of the brain. And the brain is a highly resilient and transitory environment. It is very plastic. So that's good news, not much damage in an environment that can make up for its own weaknesses. 

What is a massive stroke?

MDs often describe a stroke as massive. The problem is, there is no definition for that word when it comes to stroke.

What a free book? Here's you quiz...
Here I will offer a challenge. (If I lose, I will recant and send you a free sighed copy of my book- yay!?). When a stroke is defined as massive, how much of the brain has to die to be considered massive? I'll take a % or a # of neurons, or any other quantifiable definition

Here's what I suspect: The word massive has never been defined at all for stroke. MDs use the word like they use many words: to define what they can't define. Massive tells you nothing, as does hemiparesis, cognition, unilateral neglect, etc., etc. These are terms that are used a lot but provide no quantitative measurement. Take hemiparesis. This term runs the span from someone who can barely lift their shoulder to someone who you'd not recognize as having a stroke at all.

And poorly defined terms like massive end up providing a self-fulfilled prophecy. "I had a massive stroke." It sounds bad and it may be bad. But because its not well defined, it may not be bad. It may be pretty small. How small? Get you an MRI of your brain, or if you had one (you probably did) get a copy. And embrace it. Frame it and put it on your wall. It might be the most inspiring piece of art you have.

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