BOOK SUGGESTIONS

Here is a collection of books that shed some light on life after a stroke–both from the survivor’s perspective and those close to them. Hopefully you will find some of them to be useful, too. If you think that there are other books we should add to this page, please let us know!

If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, simply click on the picture of the book’s cover or the links below it. Clicking will open a new web browser window showing the book at Amazon.com, from where you can easily purchase or simply learn more about the book.

NEW!
Take Brave Steps: for Stroke Survivors and Families
by Ron Gardner

This book guides readers from bitter to better. Ron Gardner teaches how motivation meets inspiration; as he shares his heart felt personal tragedies and triumphs of stroke survival and recovery.

Change in the Weather: Life After Stroke
by Mark McEwen

Mark McEwen’s stroke was anything but sudden. His symptoms led him to a hospital, where he was misdiagnosed with the flu. Two days later, on an airplane flight just hours before he finally collapsed, flight attendants and airport staff discounted his slurred speech and heavy sweating, passing him off as intoxicated. Misinformation not only delayed his treatment but nearly cost him his life.

A candid, moving memoir, Change in the Weather traces one man’s recovery in the aftermath of temporarily losing some of his greatest gifts—his talent as a public speaker and his warm, witty exuberance. Telling an ultimately triumphant story, McEwen also offers insights into the warning signs of stroke as well as prevention and treatment options.

Change in the Weather signals a change in America’s mind-set, led by one of our most dynamic new crusaders for stroke victims and their families.

I’ll Walk With You: A Journey of Believing
by Geri Marshall

A healthy, 34-year-old mother of three was put on life support after a severe stroke left her in a seemingly lifeless state. The attending physician explained: “The way you see her today is the way she will remain until you decide to let her go. She is being kept alive artificially by machines. She has a zero percent chance of recovery. It is recommended that you call the family together and say goodbye to her and then release her. There is no purpose in keeping her like this.”

And so the journey began — from this proclamation that her life was over, to the radiant inspiration she is today — for her and the brave souls along the way that dared to believe.

Running Free
by Kate Allatt
Breaking Out From Locked-In Syndrome

Can you imagine being trapped in your own body? Able to see and hear everything going on around you but unable to move or speak – the blink of an eye your only way to communicate. Super-fit young mother-of-three Kate Allatt’s life was torn apart when she became locked in her own body after suffering a massive stroke caused by a blood clot to her brainstem. Left totally paralysed and unable to speak, her chances of survival were 50/50 and doctors said she would never walk or talk again.

She wanted to die. But her family and best friends willed her to live and with their love and support she channelled her sense of fun and fighting spirit into making a miracle recovery that amazed medical experts. Using a letter chart Kate blinked the words I will walk againA”. Soon she was moving her thumb and communicating with the world via Facebook. Eight months later she said goodbye to nurses and walked out of hospital to return home and start training for her first run.

Locked In
by Judy Mozersky
A Young Woman’s Battle With Stroke

When Judy Mozersky, a young, beautiful and vivacious university student, suffered a totally incapacitating stroke at the age of nineteen, her plans and dreams were shattered and her life could not have looked grimmer. Unable to move or speak, but with the thinking part of her brain unaffected, Judy was LOCKED IN a body she could no longer control. Yet she defied the predictions of doctors who thought she would never be able to breathe on her own or leave a hospital setting of total dependency.

Five years after her stroke, she lives in her own apartment in Ottawa, is learning to operate a computer, and takes a lively interest in the world around her. This is her story, told in her own words: words “blinked” out letter by letter in a feat of remarkable courage and determination. It is also an inspiring look at a close and devoted family offering its support and coming to terms with a terrible tragedy.

It’s Good To Be Alive (Observations from a Wheelchair)
by Jack Rushton

The author is not a stroke survivor, but someone I greatly admire–Jack Rushton, who was introduced to me years ago by a church friend when he wrote an Ensign article that then motivated me to write my Ensign article (in fact you can search our names on lds.org and find our articles). He’s an LDS man who was paralyzed from the neck down and writes weekly “observations” and sends them out as emails. This book is a compilation of some of his “observations” (and if you like them, he has more on his website).

At first, I couldn’t understand his perspective, but in time, I’ve come to greatly admire him and he is very inspiring and eloquent. He manages to put my thoughts into words.

Here he is, promoting the book on youtube. (WARNING! IT’S FUNNY!)

He also has other great stuff on youtube, like this.

I’d Like To Return This Gift
by Perry Stevens

I haven’t read it and he has two books, but he has a great perspective on my stroke group. He has a website/blog.

About the book: On Christmas morning, 2000, while many people awoke to a morning of celebrating Jesus’ birth and opening presents, Perry Stevens awoke to a brainstem stroke – not exactly the gift he was wishing for. With a prognosis of being bedridden with no movement below his eyes, Stevens was told he would be sent to a nursing home to await imminent death. But with faith, hard work, caring healthcare professionals and the love and support of his wife and family, Stevens defied the odds and was able to regain some of his physical abilities.

Locked In Locked Out
by Shawn Jennings

In 1999, Dr. Shawn, a busy family physician, suffered a brainstem stroke that left him a living person in a dead body, unable to move, speak, smile or feed himself… He did the only thing he could. With only two functional fingers, he wrote a book.

This book has given hope and comfort to other stroke victims and their families, and is an important tool for medical practitioners and caregivers, particularly heart specialists, interns, nurses, nursing students and physiotherapists. Dr. Shawn has taken his PowerPoint presentation to venues in Canada and the United States. He maintains a busy schedule and says he is joyous to be alive.

Paralyzed but Not Powerless: Kate’s Journey Revisited
by Kate Adamson

Kate’s Journey is a touching story of a woman’s survival and recovery from a double brain-stem stroke. The book provides information on the warning signs of stroke and teaches us how to meet life threatening challenges with grace and valor. Kate’s determination, humor and wisdom are inspiring. Her lessons are a model for anyone who struggles with a terminal illness to reach beyond the pain and fear to over come and celebrate life.

Go Back And Be Happy
by Julie Papievis

What happens when life changes in an instant? Is faith enough? Go Back and Be Happy recounts the near-death experience and miraculous recovery of Julie Papievis. Feel firsthand what it’s like to wake up from a coma, paralyzed from a severe brain stem injury after a teenager runs a red light. Share in the joy and personal pain as Julie faces the everyday struggles of reclaiming her life. Read how God provides grace in an unbearable circumstance.

Only the Eyes Say Yes
by Philippe and Stephane Vigand

The story of Philippe Vigand, a man who became locked-in in 1990 at age 29. He was in a coma for two months, but then began to recover a little. Although his recovery has been limited, he has still managed to accomplish much. This book reminds us of the importance of love, courage, and hope, highlighting one of the things that is truly important in life: our relationships with other people.

The book is written by Philippe and his wife, giving the perspectives of both a victim of locked-in syndrome as well as that of a family member. Amazon.com also has a downloadable, electronic version available for about $10.00 if the hardcover price is out of your budget.

Don’t Leave Me This Way: Or When I Get Back on My Feet You’ll Be Sorry
by Julia Fox Garrison

Julia Fox Garrison refused to listen to the professionals she called Dr. Jerk and Dr. Panic, who—after she suffered a massive, debilitating stroke at age thirty-seven—told her she’d probably die, or to Nurse Doom, who ignored her emergency call button. Instead she heeded the advice of kind, gifted Dr. Neuro, who promised her he would “treat your mind as well as your body.” Julia figured if she could somehow manage to get herself into a wheelchair, at least she’d always find parking. But after many, many months of hospitalization and rehab—with the help of family, friends, and her own indomitable spirit—Julia not only got into a wheelchair, but she got back out.

Don’t Leave Me This Way is the funny, inspiring, profoundly moving true story of a woman’s fight for her life and dignity—and her determined quest to awaken an entrenched, unfeeling medical community to the fact that there’s always a human being inside every patient.

Out of the Blue: One Woman’s Story of Stroke, Love, and Survival
by Bonnie Sherr Klein

In 1987, Klein, a Canadian documentary filmmaker (Not a Love Story), suffered two strokes that left her paralyzed, unable to speak and near death. Although she was not locked-in, her stroke was near the brain stem and left her mostly paralyzed.

Based on the tapes and journals Klein kept during her illness and the long rehabilitation period that followed, this account clearly details the physical and psychological aspects of recovering from such a serious illness. She graphically describes her persistent pain, the loss of bladder and bowel control, as well as her growing awareness of the plight of those whom society designates as disabled.

Klein, who now walks with the help of a cane, credits rehab workers and other health-care professionals who encouraged her to struggle for a creative life and express anger at those who did not. She and her husband are committed to the disability-rights movement which fights to change the distorted, but common, images of the disabled.

For those who have never experienced such a catastrophe, this book will help explain what it is like to be a stroke victim and how difficult it is. Out of the Blue is recommended reading for stroke victims and their families as well as medical personnel who take care of them.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Jean-Dominique Bauby was the victim of a stroke in 1995. Age 43 at the time, he was in a coma for 20 days and was locked-in when he awoke. The entire book was written by blinking his eyes to select letter after letter. He never did recover, and died of a heart attack in 1995, two days after the French publication of this book.

Reviewers describe this book as “beautiful and haunting”, two words that when used together typically are artsy-person speak for “depressing”. At the same time, many readers call this book inspirational, probably because of how it helped them realize how precious life is and how fleeting it can be. This book provides a contrasting perspective to
the two books above, showing in stark relief how important it is to nurture family relationships and keep close to loved ones. If nothing else, it will make the reader appreciative of all that they have.

Look Up For Yes
by Julia Tavalaro

When Julia Tavalaro opened her eyes after spending seven months in a coma, she awoke to a nightmare. Nobody in the hospital ward to which she had been consigned even noticed that she was alert. Paralyzed and unable to speak, Tavalaro had no way of making them take notice. She spent the next six years languishing in her bed, and although able to hear everything around her, she was unable to communicate.

Finally, a young speech therapist broke through Tavalaro’s isolation by composing a method by which Tavalaro could spell out words with her eyes. After mastering the technique, Tavalaro went on to write poetry about her life both before and after the stroke that crippled her. Tavlaro is able to recall her past in minute detail and weaves her memoir from threads of the past, her present, and her poems that transcend the two. Look Up for Yes is the courageous story of a woman struggling to find her voice and make it heard.

3 comments

  1. Hi Jenny! I am towards the end of a long process of editing a book for a stroke and coma survivor. She has decided to let me help her self-publish this book through createspace, with a paperback published on Amazon and downloads published on Kindle e-books. Once the book goes live, could you please add it to your list? It’s an amazing story of survival and giving back. Laura was not only trying to recover, but helped others along the way by taking in foster kids, as well as a handicapped Foreign Exchange Student. She’s amazing!

    1. I feel so bad that I never replied!!! I just saw your comment! Please feel free to contact me personally!

      I would love to…what is the name of the book?

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