China or Die: The Shocking Truth About Your Complete Recovery Options After Suffering a Stroke

China or Die: The Shocking Truth About Your Complete Recovery Options After Suffering a Stroke

by Ruth E Lycke


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If you or a loved one has recently suffered from a stroke, then it is imperative to get this book into their hands or read it as soon as possible. Not only does it offer options and hope for healing from a stroke survivor who has now survived, found healing, and thrived for more than seventeen years, it also offers insight from a spouse and family members, which help you understand the complexity and overwhelming devastation of a stroke to a family.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781546259015
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 10/19/2018
Pages: 270
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)

Read an Excerpt


A Day I'll Never Forget

My stroke (just like all strokes) was sudden, unexpected, devastating, and seemingly permanent. I was at an athletic banquet after attending a school board meeting for which I served. I became flushed, started violently vomiting and finally made my way to a bathroom. I had an advantage, I was a nurse and paramedic and knew what was happening. After calling for help (I hollered dial 911) I was assisted by arriving first responders who drove me via ambulance to the local hospital.

The doctor on duty seemed thrilled until he did the MRI and discovered it was a bleed. If it was a blockage he would have given clot busting medications but instead I would have to be stabilized and shipped out by life flight. I was still talking at the time but the doctor asked my husband where he should send me. At this critical time and with such a serious question, I was impressed by my husbands response ... he asked the doctor if it were his wife where would he go ...? With that, he had his answer and within 10 minutes I was intubated and airborne.

When I arrived I was reassessed, moved to ICU, placed on a respirator and left in a coma state. My husband was told I would die within 24 hours but a week later I surprised everyone when I had not only survived but begun to come out of the coma. It was decided to remove the respirator and see what happened.

After a week in a coma I had woken up. Unknown to me at the time and during my coma I had experienced a secondary stroke where the original bleed had left unabsorbed blood. Due to the bleed in the brain stem and secondary stroke I was left with numerous deficits.

• Numbness on the entire right side

• Inability to walk

• No strength or control of right or left sides

• Right sided paralysis

• Inability to write

• Difficulty thinking and speaking

• Memory problems

• Speech problems (Expressive Aphasia)

• Double vision (Diplopia)

• Bouncing vision (Acquired Nystagmus)

• Emotional frailty and inappropriate crying (Pseudobulbar Affect PBA)

It is at this time in the midst of "the event" that you need to have your wits about you. Most young people who experience stroke never think they will be in this situation. They have never discussed major catastrophic events and rarely have made living wills, drawn up a medical power of attorney, or anything that might be appropriate for dealing with a catastrophic medical event.

Doctors, medical professionals, friends and family all tried to comfort me and will all try and comfort you by responding with comments such as:

• No two strokes are alike ...

• It could have been worse, you could have died ...

• Just be content with what you have ...

• Learn to live and be happy with what you have ...

• You need to lower your expectations ...

• Things will never be the same ...

• You have so much to be thankful for ...

• And many more well meaning comments ...

I lived! The fact is YOU are alive ... you did survive! Now let's begin the understanding and healing.

Remember I was only 42 when my stroke happened. I was a wife and mother of three young kids at home. This was not supposed to happen to me ... or at least not at my age ... I mean aren't strokes supposed to effect older people? Boy did I have a lot to learn.

What is a stroke

I did not set out to be an expert on stroke, but became one after surviving, overcoming, studying stroke, and bringing restoration to others. As I found out the hard way, a stroke affects the brain and for any number of reasons there has been an interruption in the blood flow to the brain. It may have been a hemorrhagic stroke or bleed caused by surgery, a vessel rupture due to high blood pressure, a bleed from a dissection or splitting of a vessel. It may be an ischemic stroke from diet or surgery, a clot in an artery or a secondary stroke from blood from a bleeding stroke. No matter the reason some part of the brain has been impaired and this results in physical deficits that present themselves.

The purpose of this book is to give you general thoughts, guides, and options available for the dramatic event that has occurred in your life or the life of a loved one. I'll begin by discussing the stroke and the basics about the event that has affected you.

If you are like most people this "event" took you by surprise so we'll begin by defining what a stroke is ... "a sudden disabling attack or loss of consciousness caused by an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain." According to western physicians there are two main types of stroke:

1. Hemorrhagic (Bleed)

2. Ischemic (Block)

Once you understand these main 2 types there are numerous sub-types or causes of each stroke. An ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. In the United States this type of stroke accounts for over 87 percent of all stroke cases. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that has been weakened in some way, ruptures. Two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). But the most common cause of a hemorrhagic stroke or a bleed is uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure).

Many times an individual will not even be aware that they have high blood pressure. This is often a hidden symptom. Once you understand the type of stroke you suffered you will begin to understand the type of treatment and choices that your doctors give you. Physicians want to stabilize the stroke sufferer and this is typically done with surgery (when possible), TPA (tissue plasminogen activator - a clot busting medication if discovered early enough), or medication for the underlying cause. Please keep in mind that 25% of all strokes are from unknown origin but once a stroke is suffered the stroke creates medical issues that must be addressed.

After the work of stabilizing the individual, an evaluation is done, and rehabilitation is the next phase of recovery for most stabilized stroke survivors. In the US you are told that the effects of stroke will most often mean that you must change, relearn or redefine how you live and that stroke rehabilitation will help you return to a form of independent living. You are also told that rehabilitation will not reverse all the effects of a stroke.

In this I must disagree. Many effects of a stroke that are seen or identified as improbable if not impossible to reverse are difficult to reverse but not impossible. This is where time is critical. Most US rehabilitation programs are unknowingly designed to limit and lower expectations to what the "medical establishment" believes is "realistic." Because of this attitude and the delay that results many individuals are often slowed in deciding to take part in our program in China.

In my restoration program we have actually had to reverse damage to limbs (atrophy and subsequent subluxation of joints) that occurs from a lack of or total disregard of limb rehabilitation or involvement. We usually hear from clients late in their recovery process or as a last ditch effort. We are often informed that they will undergo the 3 months of rehabilitation or whatever their insurance will cover in the US before they will even think of coming to China.

For that reason let me begin your rehabilitation search by challenging a commonly accepted concept ... "we have the best rehabilitation in the United States ..." this typically means that we have the most expensive and/or seemingly comprehensive rehabilitation. I wound up in that system, complete with expensive machines and gadgets, with limited time and hands on therapy. After finding treatment in China almost 3 years after my stroke my only regret was that I wasn't in China sooner.

Trust me when I say that if I could see the same things done in the US that I can experience here in China I would integrate my program in the US! You have to balance things for yourself and your family. Keep in mind my husband was in the US, my 3 grown children and their families are there, my extended family and friends are there ... but after suffering my stroke I feel dedicated and devoted to stroke survivor's best recovery, so I spend a majority of my life in China. I want to help them get back all they can and live a quality life.

To be clear, rehabilitation in the US is designed to attempt to rebuild strength and function, but subtly focuses on modifying and lowering patient expectations. Therapists and doctors attempt to expand capability and increase confidence so you can continue your daily activities despite the effects of the stroke but their time is limited and their actions and goals are affected.

Typically rehabilitation works to identify the things needed to increase independence. These can include:

• Skills such as feeding, grooming, bathing, toileting and dressing

• Mobility such as transferring, walking or self-propelling a wheelchair

• Social skills for interacting with people

• Cognitive skills such as memory or problem solving

• Communication skills including speech and language

In all honesty most rehabilitation programs are forced to reach a maximum effect in 30 days and only seem to increase stamina minimally after that point. Doctors and technicians alike will tell patients if you don't have something back in 6 weeks it is probably gone for good.

I could not argue with their assessment or statements ... if it were not for one fact. ... they focus entirely on attempting limited rehabilitation and not healing of the body itself. When a stroke occurs in the U.S. it is seen as a "medical event" and the body must be stabilized (stabilized ...not healed), future damage limited, and then rehabilitation attempted.

I have found that the Chinese unpack stroke a bit differently in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), the event occurs and immediately the TCM doctor is determining what caused the imbalance that led to the event so that the underlying health issue can be addressed and healed. Remember when I spoke of two kinds of stroke ... blocks and bleeds. In western medicine they seek to modify the cause through intervention with surgery and/or medication. Many blocks are treated with TPA (if found soon enough) to limit potential damage, then managed for the life of the patient with dietary changes, blood thinners, and cholesterol medications that build up and damage other systems while attempting to reduce the occurrence of another stroke.

Bleeds that do not kill you are typically blamed on high blood pressure, a congenitally weakened blood vessel, or unknown origin and are managed with a lifetime of medications usage that also effects other organ systems.

The Chinese doctors who utilized "completely integrated medicine" deal with the immediate issue but also begin immediately assessing how to balance the body to prevent future medical issues. What I found most fascinating was that in the US 87 percent of strokes were blocks and 13 percent bleeds where in China that number is reversed. We can easily point to our high fat and sugary diets in the states and a high stress environment in China as potential causes. Suffice to say traditional Chinese methods of treatment are quite different here in the long run and I can report that we have witnessed the results and want to expand on them.

It has taken me years of personal rehabilitation and observing and interacting with hundreds of patients I have introduced to China, to get to a point of deep understanding and develop a better form of rehabilitation. I am dedicated to reducing suffering, establishing and promoting health & balance, and maximizing complete restoration for individuals. I hope to continue to bridge understanding and cooperation between two very different countries whose people often end up caught in the middle of a political discourse. Instead I want to focus on people, the quality of their life, and what we can do to foster understanding and a joint effort on treating and conquering a disease process that too often takes loved ones from us too soon or reduces them to bodies that exist, rather than individuals that truly live and give to others.

We see rehabilitation typically beginning when your doctor determines that you're medically stable and can potentially benefit from it. Most rehabilitation services will require a doctor's order and rehabilitation services are provided in many ways and different places such as:

• Rehabilitation hospitals

• Long-term medical care facilities

• Outpatient facilities

• At home

• Involvement of "home" health care agencies

• TCM Restoration's program

Most individuals become involved in one or many of these types of rehabilitation services. Each individual's needs and deficits determine what, if any, type of rehabilitation program you will be offered and allowed to use. This book is meant to serve as a guide or help to what is available but I must say openly that I am biased and after using:

• A Rehabilitation Hospital

• Outpatient Facilities

• Home

I was unhappy and came to China for healing. I have since developed a "program" that has over the years offered healing and choices to hundreds of people all over the world.


In the US and under a doctor's direction, rehabilitation specialists will provide a treatment program they will say is specifically suited to your needs. In other words they look at your deficits, determine if, according to them, they are worth attempting to rehab ... and develop a program based upon what you can afford or insurance will cover. These services typically include:

• Rehabilitation nursing

• Physical therapy

• Occupational therapy

• Speech-language pathology

• Audiology

• Recreational therapy

• Nutritional care

• Rehabilitation counseling

• Social work

• Psychiatry or Psychology

• Faith based counseling

• Patient/Family education

• Support groups

The program I developed here is entirely different. It is not based on insurance, but based on the needs of the client and their desire to be healed and restored. You see I discovered (you will too) after suffering my own stroke that I really had only 1 question ...

"Can I do tomorrow ... what I did yesterday?"

It was that simple ... I didn't want some of my body restored ... I wanted it all!

In fact, during my research in building the TCM Restoration program I sought out many insurers and was told that they were more concerned about being seen as "outsourcing" patient care, more about a "perception," than restoring function... even if restoring someone could be done for a fraction of the cost that they currently paid. It was at this time that I decided that our program would be limited in scope and be an outreach to those who wanted it. (I'm happy to entertain insurance inquiries but most have to be covered as "out of area," or use funds from their Health Savings Accounts, or deductions on taxes.)

To give you a better understanding about who we are and what we do and more importantly how it is done ... it will require a bit of reading and understanding who I am and why I am in China. After helping you understand that, we will get in to what we do and how we do it.

What has been affected ...

It is important for you to understand that those caring for you in the hospital will begin to assess what all has been affected by the stroke. I know that with each passing day you are reminded of what you once did and that is either impossible now or challenging at the least. As I have mentioned earlier my secondary stroke (after the bleeding stroke) left me with numerous deficits. They were:

• Numbness on the entire right side

• Inability to walk

• No strength or control of right or left sides

• Right sided paralysis

• Inability to write

• Difficulty thinking and speaking

• Memory problems

• Speech problems (Expressive Aphasia)

• Double vision (Diplopia)

• Bouncing vision (Acquired Nystagmus)

• Emotional frailty and inappropriate crying (Pseudobulbar Affect PBA)

Although this list is not complete, its long enough to make even the biggest doubter realize that my stroke was physically devastating. You will be told that all strokes are different and affect speech, memory, circulation, movement, mobility, thought, emotions, sensation ... in essence ... everything in different ways for each individual!

Remember I said most physicians and other medical professionals will tell you that what you regain in the first 6 weeks to 6 months is pretty much all you will get back. They put you through a series of tests to determine what they think can or is worth the effort of rehabilitation or focus. Don't believe you are only limited to months! I have found that our body is wonderfully created and we can and need to trigger a more complete healing process to regain much of what appears to be lost.

In the west most treatment is aimed at seeking the cause of the stroke and then managing the symptoms of the stroke in hope of preventing future strokes. That would appear to be fine for 75% of the US population but 25% of all strokes are from unknown origins. They don't know what's happened or why. Also western treatments, which are medical management modalities often stymie the healing process, putting it into a "holding" pattern. That 'medical management' is the unspoken secret of never seeking to cure the actual underlying disease. Physicians will even often assume that stroke survivors have cardiac issues, are diabetic, had high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Any number of conditions that may have increased your chances of a stroke ... that can and often are found to be untrue.


Excerpted from "China or Die"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Ruth E Lycke.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword, ix,
Preface, xi,
Introduction, xiii,
Dedication, xv,
Chapter 1 A Day I'll Never Forget, 1,
Chapter 2 The Birth of TCM Restoration, 26,
Chapter 3 Repeating The Process, 49,
Chapter 4 Why China?, 56,
Chapter 5 Understanding TCM, 71,
Chapter 6 What Now., 87,
Chapter 7 Exercises, 103,
Chapter 8 90 Day Journey, 142,
Building An Attitude of Gratitude Journal, 253,

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