What to do?? Life after a stroke

Posted by cinque @cinque, Jul 27, 2020

I am a 49yr old Black man revering from a stroke. I don’t know what to do or where to look to do something with my life. By the way i had my stroke in Sept 2019. I have to use a walker and I can’t really talk. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Hello @cinque and welcome to Mayo Connect.

I am sorry to hear of the long term effects of your stroke. Are you aware of the type of stroke you had?

I'm also wondering if you have had physical/occupational and speech therapy after your stroke? These therapies can be very helpful.

What does your doctor say about your recovery?

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Hi @cinque, I'd like to add my welcome. There is life after stroke and connecting with others here on Mayo Clinic Connect can help. I echo @hopeful33250's questions. Are you currently able to go to rehab or are you recovering at home? Can you tell us a bit more about you? I will connect you with other stroke survivors like you.

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I was 53 May 17, 2015 at work. My stroke was small and you can't tell unless I tell you. Keep smiling 🤗 take one minute at a time and enjoy life. As we found out life changes quickly and changes may take a long time to chance.
What did you do before?
Make sure use all short term disability, long term disability, accident insurance (I had and didn't know it covered stroke until almost too late) all P.T., O.T, and speech and maybe use all your time left for speech and spread it out. You were not born with everything you had and you can get more back then you had -just keep working. Join free support groups -stroke -alphasia -water walking exercises- Tia Chi- chair yoga-library kids dept and read outloud to yourself or a tape recorder (it's hard to listen to but it helps). 🎼🎵🎶

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My husband 64 yrs. had 2 strokes. One on 9/8/2020 the other 9/18/2020. He has made great progress. He's physically fine and speech is good. His biggest problem is apathy. He has zero motivation. Doesn't really care about much.
Has anyone experienced this?

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Hi @nicky7 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you for joining the conversation and sharing your husband's stroke history as well as your concern with regard to his lack of motivation.

It sounds as though this is new following his stroke, is that right? If so, what is he doing/not doing that is most concerning so that other members may provide some support?

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My main concern is he doesn't want to do anything to help with his recovery. He's doing speech therapy but once his session is over that's it. She asks him to practice until their next visit but he doesn't care. If I leave him alone he will sleep for hours during the day. He sleeps well all night. The dr gave him antidepressants but there's no change.

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@nicky7 thank you for sharing some more details. This may seem over simplified, but have you asked him about his lack of motivation and what may be going on or to get some more insight?

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Hi @nicky7

I've been reading your posts about your husband's strokes. As you probably know, these strokes have probably left him with some brain disorders. Do you know which parts of his brain were affected by the strokes?

You mentioned that he tried an antidepressant that did not seem to help. Some meds of this type take a few weeks up to a few months before they begin to show their help. How long did your husband take the antidepressant? You might also consider asking the doctor for a different med to deal with the depression to see if something else might work better for him.

Also, I'm sure that after two strokes he must be taking a lot of meds. Probably different blood pressure meds as well as other meds. You might consider talking to his doctor about the timing of these meds. Most of these meds do promote sleepiness. If that is part of his problem, you might ask the doctor which of these meds he could take later in the day (with the evening meal or at bedtime) in order to avoid daytime sleepiness.

You might also consider music as therapy for his depression. Whatever music he grew up with or has enjoyed might be helpful. It has been found that even very cognitively impaired dementia patients will often be perked-up when they hear the music of the '60s or hymns that they knew as a child and or teenager.

Thank you for the caring and support you are trying to provide for your husband. I'm sure that on some level he appreciates your efforts. Will you post again and provide an update?

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@nicky7

My husband 64 yrs. had 2 strokes. One on 9/8/2020 the other 9/18/2020. He has made great progress. He's physically fine and speech is good. His biggest problem is apathy. He has zero motivation. Doesn't really care about much.
Has anyone experienced this?

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@nicky7
Hi Nicky – I had a thalamic stroke last Memorial Day. Yes, one can experience apathy as well as a lot of fatigue, but with all this Covid stuff going on there may be some of that that affects him as well. Being separated from family and friends is very difficult. What keeps me going is my husband takes me for walks every morning – doing something physical and getting out in the fresh air helps. Also, my daughter calls me daily with Facetime so I can see my little granddaughter and my daughter-in-law and grandkids post videos on "Marco Polo" and ap where you can video back and forth so I can see the other grandkids as well. Part of his apathy may also be from seeing that he is a mere mortal. If he could actually connect on this group or a local support group would help him. This I know as I also have gone through cancer and being in a support group where you can talk freely with "your own kind" helps immensely. All the best to you both.

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@nicky7

My husband 64 yrs. had 2 strokes. One on 9/8/2020 the other 9/18/2020. He has made great progress. He's physically fine and speech is good. His biggest problem is apathy. He has zero motivation. Doesn't really care about much.
Has anyone experienced this?

Jump to this post

Hi, sorry to hear about your husbands stroke. I had a stroke 2019 and I find my self relaxing more than I should with Covid being retired since the stroke. I do know everyone is different and recover different. I worked really hard on getting my eye sight and left arm and hand up to where it should be. You would never ever had known I had a stroke by looking or talking to me. I knew things were not right. Still going on three years later I notice something's, but I keep working at it. I am more tired than I was before, so be patient and remember it was his stroke and he alone can make it better.

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@nicky7

My husband 64 yrs. had 2 strokes. One on 9/8/2020 the other 9/18/2020. He has made great progress. He's physically fine and speech is good. His biggest problem is apathy. He has zero motivation. Doesn't really care about much.
Has anyone experienced this?

Jump to this post

Hi @nicki7

Sorry to hear of your husband's stroke, keep affirming to him that there is life after stroke. Sounds like he is at that 6 months after stroke period, from what I have read this is called the chronic period, and the recovery can really slow down or plateau. This is when you really have to go to work to facilitate the neuroplasticity. There are literally thousands of us out there that are fighting this fight. I am 65 and I had a moderate to severe cerebellar stroke in September of 2019, I was very active prior to this, teaching Spin classes, fly fishing, rafting, bow hunting, biking. etc. My stroke certainly took the wind out of my sails, it significantly affected my balance and coordination. I also have experienced the apathy your husband is going through. Unfortunately, in my case anyway, there is no easy cure, it just takes lots of work. Many days I don't feel like doing anything, but if I just get out there and stop feeling sorry for myself, everything slowly, emphasis on slowly, starts to get better and then you begin to see a glimmer of hope. See if you can find something, anything, that he might be interested in, and help him get set up to do that. Key to anything working for him will be baby steps at first, start and increase slowly. I know a lot of this seems pretty obvious, but sometimes you just have to hear it anyway. I have read several books on stroke recovery, "Stroke Rebel" and "Stronger after Stroke" are two good ones. Another one that really helped me come out of the after stroke funk was, "The Obstacle is the Way" by Ryan Holiday, this is not about stroke recovery, but mainly about dealing with all the obstacles that life puts in our paths. It's about Stoicism, and references some of the great stoics like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, etc. It is a quick read and was very helpful for me. If he is not up for reading, might be good for you to read, or even see about getting something on Audible so he can just listen. It will be work for both of you, just get him going on something and he will thank you in a year or two.

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@nicky7

My husband 64 yrs. had 2 strokes. One on 9/8/2020 the other 9/18/2020. He has made great progress. He's physically fine and speech is good. His biggest problem is apathy. He has zero motivation. Doesn't really care about much.
Has anyone experienced this?

Jump to this post

I really feel for you. My husband had several strokes before they found out the cause and fixed it through surgery. Until his last stroke, he would bounce back very quickly but this last one affected his brain so badly that he now has issues with short-term memory, apathy, his empathy has disappeared, he has absolutely no motivation to do anything but lay in bed and watch television and is extremely fatigued. I took him to speech therapists until they stated that due to his lack of motivation they had gone as far as they could. I then took him to a cognitive specialist who dealt specifically with stroke patients but because my insurance didn't cover her it got quite expensive and there was no change anyway so we stopped after 6 months which is when COVID reared it's nasty head anyway. Keep in mind that your husband's strokes were very close together and fatigue also can cause apathetic behaviour. It sometimes takes a while for the fatigue to get better. I had to force my husband to take small walks with me every day and explained that laying around just causes more fatigue. He tried it for about 3 months and then told me he was done with it. However, I have seen many people who didn't have as many strokes as my hubby and didn't have as severe damage and they were back to full abilities and their fatigue got better over time so keep working at it and see what occurs. There might be times he might seem to improve and then go backwards and then go forward again so don't get discouraged.

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