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Overcoming the Challenges of Post-Stroke Recovery

By: | Tags: , , , , , | May 30th, 2023

By TeleSpecialists neurologist, Dr. Joshua Johnson

Having a stroke can be frightening and discouraging. You may not be able to walk, speak, or swallow as well as you could before the stroke. Perhaps you now need help with tasks that were easy before. You may feel more dependent on your family and friends. You may have lost some of your independence.

You may feel discouraged after your stroke, but there is reason for hope. As you leave the hospital after a stroke, remember you are still very early in the recovery process. You may initially notice little or no improvement in your symptoms because the brain heals slower than other organs, but it does heal, and your symptoms will improve. Most progress is seen in the first six months after a stroke, but improvement may continue even after that time.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech/swallow therapy can help you maximize your recovery. Be as physically and mentally active as possible, but don’t overdo it. Your therapist can help you find your ideal level of activity.

Be kind to yourself. You may lose patience with your inability to do some things that came easily before but treat yourself and your brain gently. Give yourself a break when you make mistakes. Let others help you. Accept that, for a time, you will be a little less competent than you wish. Don’t push yourself too quickly. Your body and brain know best your proper recovery speed; listen to them. If the physical therapist recommends a walker or cane, then use it, even if you prefer not to: you may not need it forever, and using an assist device now may prevent a fall, a fracture, a concussion, or another emergency room visit.

Take the time to improve your overall health. People who have had a stroke are at higher risk for a second stroke, but this risk can be decreased. Visit your primary care physician for help with controlling blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Maintaining your general health will help in stroke recovery.

Exercise, even a little bit, every day, be it a walk across the living room, down the driveway, or around the block. Your brain, body, and mood will thank you. Stop smoking, get good sleep, and take your medications. Have a plan in case of an urgent medical problem, keeping handy a list of people to call for help (your family, friends, primary care physician, or ambulance) and where to go (primary care, urgent care, or emergency room).

No one can tell you exactly how you will feel in six months; every person’s stroke healing process is unique. However, healing can occur in many ways. Be patient with yourself, exercise, maintain your general health, and be safe. Lean on those who are here to help you—your family, friends, therapists, and physicians—as your brain and body recover over time.

Nattasha Acevedo, MD

Dr. Acevedo received her medical degree from the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico and did her neurology residency at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She went on to do a clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Emory School of Medicine in Atla nta, Georgia and then joined private practice in Fort Myers, Florida. She currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She likes running, paddle boarding and spending time with family.

Bernadette Borte, MD

Dr. Borte received her medical degree from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine in Grand Cayman. She completed her neurology residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa. Her areas of interest include inpatient neurology and acute stroke. When not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family. Dr. Borte joined the TeleSpecialist family in March of 2019.

Mazen Almidani, MD

Dr. Almidani is board certified in pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics and board certified in epilepsy, as well as neurology with special  qualification in child neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.  Dr. Almidani is happily married with 4 children. His oldest son has autism and his daughter has complicated seizures; both were a drive for him to become a neurologist. Dr. Almidani enjoys soccer, running and spending time with his family. He is very involved with his sons’ therapy and helping with daily challenges. He is double board certified in Pediatric and Adult Neurology and Epilepsy. He sees children and adults. He also participates in charities for children in Syria who may be underprivileged and/or affected by the war. Dr. Almidani joined TeleSpecialists in August 2020.

Amanda Cheshire, MD

Dr. Cheshire received her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky. She completed her neurology residency at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She did a fellowship in neurophysiology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Cheshire is double board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology. She enjoys traveling, reading and music. She currently resides in Viera, Florida.  Dr. Cheshire joined TeleSpecialists in June 2019.

Jessica Floyd, MD

Dr. Floyd completed her neurology residency at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida followed by fellowship training in clinical neurophysiology with focus in EEG and epilepsy at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. She has particular interest in hospital neurology and patient education as well as the blossoming specialty of lifestyle medicine. She strives to take advantage of every encounter with patients and medical staff to empower them to do their own research into how daily thoughts, choices, and habits can add up to create greater and longer-lasting brain and neurologic health for ourselves and our loved ones. She lives in Florence, South Carolina with her awesome husband of 13 plus years and three beautiful children. She is an avid yogi, astrologer, and lover of food and all things neurology! Dr. Floyd joined the TeleSpecialist family in July 2017.

Nancy Futrell, MD

Dr. Futrell received her medical degree from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. She also did her neurology residency at the University of Utah as well as a research fellowship in cerebral vascular disease at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. She currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has authored 2 books and 50 peer reviewed papers. 

Rebecca Jimenez-Sanders, MD

Dr. Jimenez Sanders received her undergraduate degree from Emory University, and her medical degree from the San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. She completed her neurology residency at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, where she also did a specialized headache medicine and facial pain fellowship. She currently resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband and her two daughters. She is also fluent in Spanish and Italian languages, and enjoys photography, baking, boating, and biking.

Cory Lamar, MD

Dr. Lamar received his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He completed his internship and residency at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Following residency, he completed a clinical fellowship in neurophysiology, with a concentration in epilepsy. He currently resides in Florida and enjoys outdoor activities.

Clifford Meyers, MD

Dr. Meyers received his medical degree from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and his MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. He completed his neurology residency at the University of Rochester, where he also did a neurophysiology fellowship. Dr. Meyers resides in Webster, New York with his wife and daughter. When not doing teleneurology, he enjoys playing sports with his wife and daughter.

Tao Tong, MD

Dr. Tong received her medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. She completed her neurology residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, where she also did a neuromuscular/EMG fellowship.  She currently resides in College Station, Texas. Dr. Tong is married with two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and reading.

Shubhangi Chumble, MD

Dr. Chumble attended BJ Medical School. She is a board certified neurologist with a subspeciality interest in sleep medicine. Dr. Chumble did her residency at Howard University in Washington DC and has practiced neurology since 2001 in private and corporate settings. She lives in Melbourne, Florida and loves the sunshine state. Her hobbies include yoga, meditation, cooking , traveling and meeting new people. She also loves to do stained glass, pottery and painting. She joined TeleSpecialists in June 2019.