One year ago, my husband Adam had a massive stroke at the age of 41. The stroke he had in February of 2013 took his left side (completely) and among other things, left him unable to swallow solid food without getting choked. He was left blind and unable to use his left arm and leg. He was split in half. He had a lot of trouble swallowing. In the beginning we didn’t know if he would live through it. He had no medical insurance, so we researched online how to rehabilitate after a stroke. I prayed for wisdom in how to care for the man I loved in so many ways. He quickly relearned how to walk, and learned how to talk using only the right side of his mouth. He regained his sight by practicing exercises I found online to strengthen the peripheral vision, but after about 6 months of watching Adam lose weight and become nothing but a skeleton, I was scared. I didn’t want to lose the love of my life. He didn’t want to die either. We were willing to try anything, even if it was crazy to everyone else.
I decided to go out and buy us a little hand blender, and started making smoothies out of everything. We also decided to become gluten and lactose free, to aid his digestive system and enable him to maintain or possibly regain lost weight. (By the way, going gluten free does not make you lose weight, so do not use this as a fad to diet. In truth, it makes you gain weight.)
I spent a whole $12 on the little life saving device, so don’t let anyone tell you it is too expensive or too complicated to “smoothie.”
I started by smoothie-ing everything. Strawberries and Oreo’s, bananas and HO-HO’s with lactose free ice cream, and then we dove into more healthy food options: cherries, blueberries, raspberries, oranges, avocados, carrots, flax, and spinach. I added protein powder. For almost everything, I used soy milk, and/or ice, as a base. With more practice came confidence, and a powerhouse of foods that were aimed at cell regeneration.
This plan extended his life and allowed him to lose weight more slowly than before, giving him more good days than bad days. He still lost weight, but more gradually than before.
Adam is one of the most stubborn people I know. Never listens to doctors. This is a good thing, because in January of 2014, after losing 56 pounds in the last year, he was admitted into ICU. He was told the night he was admitted that he would die during the night. He came the closest a person can come to dying, slipped into a deep sleep for a few hours, and then he bounced back, without being resuscitated. Over the course of 24 hours, all of his organs turned back on. After 5 short days in the hospital, he was discharged, able to walk, and talk with more strength than he has had in the last year, and the biggest miracle of all is that he is able to eat solid food again without choking!
Yes, he is now eating everything that is not bolted down, and regaining weight. God is amazing! Seeing him renewed physically has renewed my faith.
We know that his life was saved by the introduction of smoothies and power-filled juices into his diet. I want to encourage anyone who is searching online for ways to beat the odds, or to reverse organ damage, to get a juicer or a blender, and look crazy to your friends. You don’t have to be a pro. I sure wasn’t! Have faith in the process, and savor and learn from every moment. It’s about quality of Life!
Carolyn J. Brown, graduate of Athens State University with a degree in Elementary School Education, lives with the love of her life and their sweet four-legged child. She has followed her heart where health is concerned and has shared more of Adam’s story on her blog.