Flying Over Cement to A Better Community For All (ABC4All)!
Report A Year Later: Left Pontine Stroke and Recovery with
P. O. Box 1624,
Manhattan Beach, CA 90267-1624
A brutal accident on November 26, 2002 is described here:
CASE REPORT: A YEAR LATER
Recuperation following this accident has been slow, but
A post-traumatic fibromyalgia condition was evaluated
and diagnosed by Stuart Silverman, M.D., Medical Director, Cedars-Sinai Fibromyalgia Pain and Treatment Program,
Los Angeles. All prior cardiac tests, including a Thallium Treadmill Stress
Test, had proved negative. As part of the evaluation, carotid duplex scan to
rule out carotid artery stenosis
proved negative. An overnight sleep study, a polysomnogram, however, proved
positive with “mild to moderate sleep apnea” diagnosed. Continuous Positive
Air Pressure (CPAP) was prescribed and has been used since with greatly improved
breathing during sleep.
There developed following the accident, over the ensuing
year, a symptom complex consisting of increasingly frequent episodes of chest
tightness, lightheadedness during exercise (walking) with a need to stop and
recover for 10-20 seconds before moving on.
This experience, since it was occurring more frequently, included a
concern for potential syncope that could also prove dangerous, for example, were
such an event to occur while crossing a main thoroughfare.
The best guess was that the chest tightness was caused
by fibromyalgia-type muscle spasms involving the breathing apparatus. With all
cardiac/carotid artery issues ruled out, Dr. Silverman made the referral for
physical therapy evaluation and treatment which offered a series of stretches
and exercises designed specifically to assist with the muscular breathing
apparatus. These sessions were helpful in reducing the breathing difficulties
and the lightheaded events were occurring less frequently.
On November 12, 2003, however, the following occurred.
As a passenger in a van, I was being driven on an errand. During the ride
I felt the lightheadedness that had accompanied the breathing difficulty (chest
tightness) come on. However, the lightheadedness extended down along my entire
right side, with a sense of it becoming numb.
Subsequent ER evaluation and a two-day hospitalization
led to a diagnosis via MRI of a non-hemorrhagic, left pontine brainstem infarct,
or stroke. I experienced impaired right-sided hearing, distant double vision
with difficulty seeing the computer screen, and my speech was quite affected.
The muscles in my lower face no longer had the same tone they used to have.
The interesting phenomenon is that since the stroke, I have had NO breathing
problems that I had been experiencing periodically and more frequently prior to the stroke. This has been true even with the recent introduction of an exercise program under the supervision of a home physical therapist.
During the stroke itself, I experienced a similar "lightheadedness" to that described above, associated with the chest tightness and breathing difficulty I had so typically been experiencing with exercise prior to the stroke, except that this time the "lightheadedness" I now realized affected the entire right side of my body, head to toe. I felt as if the lightheadedness/breathing problem now was extending to the entire right side of my body that was becoming numb. I did not get alarmed and chose not ask for an ambulance to be called. We waited till that evening to go to the ER because all the roads were blocked with a bad storm that day. Following ER evaluation, I was in hospital for two days.
Movement and strength have NOT been affected. The stroke findings are limited to right “hemianesthesia,” something somewhat unusual according to several doctors who have examined me.
A recent Physical Therapy evaluation at home with subsequent follow up has been very helpful in getting me to adjust to the new status as someone who has experienced a stroke. I now know to move more slowly and to walk with a cane, as well as to go downstairs one at a time while holding onto a rail. I have begun riding the stationary bicycle and walking on the treadmill (10-12 minutes each day).
FROM CERAGEM TO CIGNET
Prior to the stroke, infra-red therapy had been
recommended (and I was referred to www.anodynetherapy.com
and Anodyne Therapy being offered by Outpatient Physical Therapy at Brotman
Memorial Hospital in Culver City, California. Infra-red therapy was explained as
providing excellent support to rehabilitation efforts and included the
production of greater amounts of “nitric oxide” which aided circulation in
Following the stroke on November 12, 2003, I was, for
the first time, introduced to infra-red therapy via the Ceragem bed (www.ceragem.com).
These free daily treatments proved beneficial to the recovery process subsequent
to the stroke.
Most recently, the Ceragem distributor, for a variety of reasons, has changed to CIGNET - he has brought in 50 Cignet "Thermo-Peutic®" beds, replacing the Ceragem beds, which offer excellent advances and upgrades in delivery of individualized infra-red therapy in multiple simultaneous ways, far superior to the original Ceragem bed.
This information is so new that the Cignet web site is
under construction. The brochure states that CIGNET® Thermo-Peutic® is “an
ergonomic system designed for precise alignment of
infrared-heat-emitting-jade-balls with key body points, according to Chinese
This blend of cutting-edge state-of-the-art technology,
combined with Traditional Eastern Medicine features an elevator mechanism for
acupressure. “Thermo-Peutic® is designed to customize the intensity of the
pressure applied to specific body points along the vertebrae by allowing for
control of the up and down movements of the jade massage balls at desired
There are an unlimited number of massage patterns
resulting from adjusting horizontal and vertical movements of the jade massage
balls with a user-friendly remote control. The CIGNET® system includes
“Therapeutic Acupressure Using Infrared Heat, Natural Healing Without
Medication or Surgery, Total Body Therapeutic Massage.”
The brochure states, “Chinese acupressure and Korean
moxibustion are known to help with: muscle relaxation, blood circulation,
metabolism, slowing of the aging process, immune system functions, hormone
production, spinal irregularities, postmenopausal symptoms, autonomic nervous
system, cellular function.”
The Cignet bed is the closest approximation I have
experienced on dry land to being in a therapy pool heated to 96 degrees
Fahrenheit. The whole-body delivery of undulating massage, acupressure,
infra-red heat, with multiple external applicators while receiving infra-red
heat both upper and lower body offers a remarkably beneficial experience, and I
am grateful for having been provided this information. Infra-red and heat
therapy have been reported in the scientific literature as providing benefits,
including improved athletic performance, increased production of nitric oxide
(and therefore improved oxygen distribution throughout the blood stream) and the
elimination of toxins leading to health improvements.
In my case, I have experienced great increase in energy,
cessation of periodical “exhaustion” fits during the course of the day
requiring rest/sleep and an improved sense of well-being that I have not
experienced since prior to the brutal trauma of 11/16/02.
Dr. Silverman is planning to rule out calcium in my arteries via EBCT scan, and I have also been referred for 2-D Echo and Venous Duplex of extremities by a neurologist. Dr. Silverman will also evaluate triglyceride level. If all cardiac and circulatory issues continue to be ruled out (as they have been up till now), then we will be left with an impression/hypothesis that the stroke is post-traumatic (I read about a 9 year old boy who fell off a bicycle who also had a brainstem pontine stroke from the accident) following my 11/26/02 serious triple trip and fall accident: (http://prweb.com/releases/2002/12/prweb00000052829.php)
My wife, Marsha, challenged with multiple forms of arthritis and also being the victim of car accidents in our history together, with multiple disk herniations and “natural” disk fusions, is, first with Ceragem and now with Cignet infrared treatment, reporting a variety of improvements, including diminishing shoulder pain, the experience of additional circulation in her legs for the first time in years, and other benefits. The quality of her sleep has improved since starting the infra-red therapy. We both are attending faithfully these FREE treatments (I am going 6 x week wherever possible, she is going 3 x week) available at: Cignet Hawthorne, 12395 Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne, CA 90250, 310-263-0077.