Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review - My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Journey

My Review

Some of you may remember I said my 45 year old brother had a massive stroke a month ago.  My blogging friend Christa from blog Mental Foodie:  A Book & Food Lover recommended I read this one.  Thanks Christa.

Another blogger reviewed this one also, here is her review - Julie from My Book Retreat

I am unable to give a true rating to this book because there were was invaluable information at times that is priceless for those that have had to experience stroke in their lives, themselves or a family member.  The memoir parts were shocking and amazing, when she realised she was having a stroke, this was her reaction. "Oh my gosh, I'm having a stroke!  I'm having a stroke! And in the next instant, the thought flashed through my mind, Wow, this is so cool! .... I kept thinking, Wow, how many scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain function and mental deterioration from the inside out?" .... Remember, please remember everything you are experiencing! Let this be my stroke of insight. Talk about a reaction. Some parts of the book are extremely clinical information, tons about the right and left hemispheres, but she does say when she thinks you may want to skip a section which I found interesting from an author.  So at times for me this book was a 3, 4 or 5, very hard to rate.

There are a few quotes, passages I would like to share with you because even if you have never experienced a stroke or someone you love with a stroke it is important information to know, just in case.

Although many of us may think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think.

I had forgotten about my job and all the things in my life that brought me stress-and with this obliteration of memories, I felt both relief and joy.

I wanted my doctors to focus on how my brain was working rather than on whether it worked according to their criteria or timetable.

I desperately needed people to treat me as thought I would recover completely.  Regardless of whether it would take three months, two years, 20 years or a lifetime, I needed people to have faith in my continued ability to learn, heal and grow.

A quote she loves from Einstein.  "I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be."

I thought the Appendix - Forty Things I Needed the Most - was so important and I wish Doctors could share with all families of stroke survivors.  Here are some of my favourites:

- I am not stupid, I am wounded.  Please respect me.

- Approach me with an open heart and slow your energy down. Take your time.

- Make eye contact with me.  I am in here - come find me.  Encourage me.

- Please don't raise your voice - I'm not deaf, I'm wounded.

- Celebrate all of m little successes.  They inspire me.

- Love me for who I am today.  Don't hold me to being the person I was before.  I have a different brain now.

Jill Bolte Taylor would also like everyone to dial 1-800-BrainBank for more information about donating your brain.

Thanks for reading.

Personal Note - My brother started moving his left side that was completed unresponsive, it has been scary but we have hope.  He is not speaking yet but you can tell he wants to and is trying to communicate with us.  Again thank you for the support and prayers, I truly appreciate it.

This has also been the reason for less reading, blogging, networking etc but my brother is back home in the Bermuda hospital, he was air ambulanced back from Boston once he was stable enough last week.


  1. my stepdad (at 55) had a stroke two years ago. he had a hemicraniectomy and was put in a medically induced coma for awhile. these days he is doing much better but is he is still paraylzed (almost completely, has slight ability to move his hip) and needs somebody around almost all the time. another book I found very helpful was Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, although it is a brain injury due to a car accident and not a stroke, the implications for a person who has lost "sight" of one side of their world as often happens in a stroke (for my stepdad it was also the left side) was very true to life and helpful to read about. everything I discussed with him he said she got perfectly. also when he was recovering he read both this book and "the brain that changes itself" so that may be another one for you to look into if you are interesting.

    when my stepfather was first taken out of his coma he didn't talk either and we were worried. however the breathing machine really irritates the throat and a few days later he began to speak softly so that may be the case with your brother as well. I hope you continue to see improvement in him.

  2. Zoe, thank you, all these stories give me hope. My brother may get the breathing tube taking out next week and I am hoping for him to be able to speak.

    My thoughts are with you and your dad, it is a forever new journey of life isn't it.

    I also have Left Neglected, I loved Still Alice and had this one before my brothers stroke, I definitely will read soon.

  3. Wow, that made me teary eyed. I love the list of things victims need and think that could extend to many other wounded people.

  4. Kathy, some parts were very hard to read and made me emotional.

  5. I am so glad to hear that your brother has started moving his right side. Hang in there - he will get through this.

    I totally appreciate the Appendix items that you shared. That is so important. I hate it when people over-coddle victims of any nature, and also when they try to pretend nothing happened, which is even worse.

  6. Glad to hear your brother is improving! I agree that some parts of the book were very dry. Even though I don't remember all the "40 things" I remember enough that it was my biggest take away from the book - if I ever needed it, I know where to go to get that information. So I am glad I was able to pass on that information.

    Now I wonder when you read Left Neglected if you'd be able to read it from a different perspective...

  7. Marce, I did not know about this. I am so sorry. Even the smallest step is progress and he is so young! I will keep you and your family in my prayers, this is so tough. Life sometimes deals a real crappy hand to us. {{{{hugs}}}}

    Tomes Devotee

  8. I will right away take hold of yοuг rss feeԁ as Ι can't to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me understand in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    my website shiatsu homedics
    Here is my weblog massage shiatsu


Thanks for visiting Tea Time with Marce, I appreciate your comments. I have decided to make this an Award Free Zone, thank you for thinking of me but I prefer comments and do my best to be a good networking blogging friend also.

If you are a new follower, please tell me so I can come visit also.