It is now almost 26 months since my wife was felled by a stroke.  What followed was 3 months in residential rehab and almost 23 months of hard work in the gym.  Her physical recovery has been strong – not 100% – but enough.  The impact on her working and short-term memory was significant and apparently permanent.  Also, as with so many other post stroke victims, she runs out of energy quickly.  The wash of exhaustion is annoying to someone who was known as having unending energy.

Immediately after a stroke, the medical people throw you on every med under the sun.  You will not have another stroke on their watch.  It wasn’t until she came home that we regained a bit more control over her meds and continuing treatment.

Some of the meds I understand.  I have come to learn that her body has been permanently thrown out of whack.  What was her norm, is no longer her norm.  She always had low blood pressure.  Now she is on BP meds.  Probably would still not be on them – but for the fear of another stroke.  Cholesterol meds are the big problem.  Her ability to lose weight – seriously – impaired.  She eats less than I do and weighs more.  The weight does not come off.

I’ve previously spoken about Statin Drugs.  She was on them coming out of rehab.  We finally realized that she was suffering some of the side effects.  Muscle pain – which was effecting her exercise program.  Increased exhaustion – which exacerbated an already known problem.  And – Most importantly – Impairment of her thinking and memory.  All of these are more pronounced in women over 60. 

Our Primary Doc listened and took her off the Statin Meds.  A holiday period ensued.  When the blood tests showed that her numbers were still wrong, he prescribed Zetia – an alternative med.

She was in for a follow-up blood test and physical.  Here are her numbers:

  • Triglycerides: 78 (<149))
  • HDL: 83 (>39)
  • Total: 208 (significantly below 199 is where he wants it.)
  • VLDL calc: 16 (5-40)
  • LDL calc: 109 (significantly below 99 is where he wants it.)
  • Non-HDL: 125 (0-129)

But after listening to the amount of exercise she does and revisiting the side effects of the Statin Meds, he said:  “I’m not putting her on Statins just for the sake of numbers.”  Wow!

He was at the hospital shortly after the ER doctors called him and alerted him to the situation.  He has followed her progress from the beginning.  This time he told us that some of the new information indicates that the brain continues to lay down new pathways for up to 5 years – a lot longer than the original 6 months we were told.

Given the Triglycerides and HDL numbers along with her glucose level, (and my levels as well) he has stopped questioning the efficacy of a Ketogenic diet.  Everyone can change – even your own Doc.

PS:  FDA Recent Consumer Warning