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By: Jenny


Among the BIND membership, 52% are survivors of a stroke, while 10.5% are on the other side of a brain tumor diagnosis.  We have 3 overcomers who fit into both categories, a statistical anomaly that can only be explained by the miracles that happen within this small community, one of which happens to be me. We, unfortunately, are counted within the 1-5% of people who experience a stroke after brain surgery to remove a tumor.

795,000 Americans endure strokes each year, with more than 140,000 people dying.  Stroke is also the leading cause of serious, long-term disability.

The effects of a stroke vary from person-to-person based on the type, severity, location, and number of strokes. The brain is complex. Each area of the brain is responsible for a specific function or ability. When an area of the brain is damaged from a stroke, the loss of normal function of a part of the body may occur. This may result in a disability.

The twelve most common effects of a stroke are:

1.          Paralysis on one side of the body (Hemiplegia)

2.          Weak Motor Control (Hemiparesis)

3.          Tight, stiff muscles (Spasticity)

4.          Extremely stiff, painful muscles (Contractures)

5.          Shoulder complications

6.          Foot drop

7.          Curled toes

8.          Balance issues

9.          Learned nonuse

10.          Visual problems

11.          Difficulty swallowing (Dysphagia)

12.          Impaired vision or spatial attention

Furthermore, at least 86,000 new brain tumors are identified in the U.S. annually. There are more than 120 different types, and they are the leading cause of cancer deaths in children and young adults.

In my obviously biased opinion, research into this disease and possible cures is grossly underfunded and ineffective. Data collected by Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) in “CBTRUS Statistical Facts Report of Primary Brain and Other Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2010 – 2014” suggests:

  • Despite the amount of brain tumors, and their devastating prognosis, there have only been four (4) FDA approved drugs – and one device – to treat brain tumors in the past 30 years.
  • For many tumor types, surgery and radiation remain the standard of care.
  • There has never been a drug developed and approved specifically for malignant pediatric brain tumors.
  • The four approved drugs for brain tumors have provided only incremental improvements to patient survival, and mortality rates have not changed over the past 30 years.
  • Between 1998 and 2014, there were 78 investigational brain tumor drugs that entered the clinical trial evaluation process.  75 failed.   That is a 25:1 failure ratio in developing new brain tumor treatments over the past two decades.

It is often difficult to talk about such a hard topic, but always remember statistics don’t paint the whole picture. Brain tumor warriors are usually the bravest, toughest fighters you will ever meet. NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!

More than any other cancer, brain tumors can have lasting and life-altering physical, cognitive, and psychological impacts on a patient’s life.

This means malignant brain tumors can often be described as equal parts neurological disease and deadly cancer.

It has been my experience that saying your tumor is benign gives people the impression that it is curable, and isn’t a very serious situation, however, this is not the case. Even benign brain tumors can be deadly if they interfere with portions of the brain responsible for vital bodily functions. It is also pretty safe to say that brain surgery is seldom benign.

We at BIND are passionate about spreading awareness of both these maladies. That is why we choose to draw attention to both the American Stroke Association (https://www.strokeassociation.org/) and the American Brain Tumor Association (https://www.abta.org/). We should all spread the word and get a spotlight aimed at these causes, so that we can give hope to and encourage those living with or affected by strokes or brain tumors.

Don’t Drink That Soda!

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What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Soda
*See below for article reference

Drinking soda is an easy habit to fall into—it’s everywhere, and it’s easy to consider diet versions to be a relatively harmless vice. A sip for nostalgia’s sake or a quick caffeine hit can lead back to a three-a-day habit. Two diet experts tell us what happens to your body once you finally give up the colorful carbonated menace for good and in their view, soda isn’t just bad for you—it’s barely even liquid.

1. You’ll Reduce Your Cravings

Cutting the calories from sugar-spiked soda is a no-brainer: At 150 calories a can, those can add up to serious poundage. But diet soda packs on the pounds as well—it’s just more passive-aggressive about it. “Artificial sweeteners affect our sense of satiety,” says Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN, of Isabel Smith Nutrition. “Our bodies have evolutionarily developed to expect a large amount of calories when we take in something exceedingly sweet, and those artificial sweeteners are from 400 times to 8,000 times sweeter than sugar. It causes a couple things to happen: The muscles in your stomach relax so you can take in food, and hormones are released. With artificial sweeteners, your body says, ‘Wait a minute, you told me you were going to give me all this high-calorie food.’ It can actually send some people searching for more food, out of lack of satisfaction.”

2. You’ll Lose Weight

“Even though diet drinks are calorie-free, they cause insulin to be released in your gut because their artificial sweeteners are sweet like sugar, and that actually prevents weight loss,” says Miriam Jacobson, RD, CDN. “Insulin is your body’s primary fat-storage hormone, so it will have the body hold on to any extra fat,” she explains, adding, “Trying to lose weight by trading a Coke for a Diet Coke is doing the body just as much harm, if not more, because of all the chemicals in the calorie-free version.” While you’re weaning yourself off of your soda habit, add these fat burning foods to your diet, some of which actually block adipogenesis, the process by which fat is stored on your frame.

3. You’ll Get Sick Less

The acidity in soda is bad news for your digestive system, eroding tooth enamel and worsening acid reflux. But diet sodas are especially treacherous for your gut—and the far-reaching bodily systems it affects. “Researchers are finding that artificial sweeteners may affect our healthy gut bacteria, which can affect everything from blood-sugar control to weight management to disease—how our immune system works and how our body responds to infection,” says Smith.

4. You’ll Have Stronger Bones

The caramel color in soda contains an artificially created phosphorus that can be bad for long-term bone health, says Smith. Phosphorous is a natural chemical found in foods like beans and grains, but the mutant variety found in dark soda is like a dinner guest who refuses to leave. “Basically, you’re taking something that exists in nature but making this hyper-absorbable form of it,” says Smith. “Your body doesn’t have the choice whether to absorb it or excrete it, so it can cause calcium to leach out of bones. It’s particularly bad for anybody with kidney disease,” she explains.

5. You’ll Have More Energy

No shocker here: The caffeine in soda is not your friend. “Drinking too much caffeine can make you dehydrated, and it can overstimulate the nervous system, making you fatigued and exhausted,” says Smith. “I find that when people cut back on caffeine they have more energy because the caffeine causes very big highs and lows,” she adds. In her practice, Smith has seen that quitting soda can lead to a positive domino effect. “There is way more energy for our bodies in real food than in processed foods,” she says, adding, “When people cut back on processed items, they often look for more fresh foods and make better choices. By giving up soda, it may seem like you’re making one change, but it can actually change a couple aspects of your diet for the better.” To be even happier and healthier, don’t miss our essential list of the 50 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.

~Ted, BIND Member
*For a good summary of “What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Soda,” see this helpful article by Michael Martin from the “Eat This, Not That!” magazine: https://www.eatthis.com/health-benefits-of-quitting-soda-and-diet-soda/

Members Celebrate Our Volunteers

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Volunteers at BIND are such special people. Last year, alone, we were gifted with 2,880 volunteer hours, the equivalent of a full time employee working 40 hours a week.  They are truly indispensable, and we want them to know how thankful we are for them.  They are heroes in championing our mission and supporting our cause. BIND Volunteers help to make a difference in the lives of BIND Members.

This month (April) is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and it was a pleasure for us to have had the opportunity to interview just a few of our 100 dedicated BIND volunteers. 

~BIND Members

Beth

How would your friends describe you in 3 words? Honest; Strong; Quiet

If you had a warning label, what would it say? Must love cats!

Favorite band?

  • Atticus Ross

Songs by mood?

  • Road trip: Anything classical or Tom Petty
  • Cleaning House: Imagine Dragons mix
  • Workout: N/A I don’t work out

Where did you go to school? University of Dallas-B.A. English Language/Lit;

                    U.T.A-class of 2020-M.S.W. (Masters of social work)

Where did you grow up? Minnesota

Siblings? 4 brothers

Married? Widowed 2014

Children? Daughter passed 2014

Pets? Cat: Gizmo

Where else have you worked? Senior care- 4.5 years

                    Corporate- 19 years

What was your favorite thing about your last job? Relationship with clients/ caregivers

Include a meaningful quote: “It’s only when you have lost everything that you are free to do anything”

                    “Trees grow through rock”

                    “We all have the same 24 hours in a day …How will you use yours?”

Neeru

How would your friends describe you 3 words? loyal; fun; adventurous

If you had a warning label, what would it say? Speaks her mind!

Favorite band? INXS

Songs by mood?

  • Happy: “That thing” -Lauryn Hill
  • Sad: “In My Life” – Beatles

Where did you go to school? Syracuse UN.

Where did you grow up? Canada

Siblings? 2

Married? Yes

Children? 1 son

Pets? None

Where else have you worked? Hospital

What was your favorite thing about your last job? Case load

Include a meaningful quote:“The end justifies the means.”

Bailey

How would your friends describe you 3 words? Fun; Energetic; Social

If you had a warning label, what would it say? She is a cheerleader!!!!!

Favorite band?

  • Koe Whetzel or Parker McCullum

Songs by mood?

  • Road trip: country
  • Cleaning House: classical
  • Workout: pop

Where did you go to school?Mansfield Legacy; currently: U.N.T.

Where did you grow up? Rendon, TX.

Siblings? 1 Sister; 2 Brothers

Married? No

Children? No

Pets? Pomeranian: Honey Almond Mae

Where else have you worked? On the U.N.T. campus – Student Affairs

What was your favorite thing about your last job?

I love being able to help people, especially cheerleaders, learn new skills, as well as lifelong skills that will push them further in life. Being able to see people learn and grow is a passion of mine. I love being a part of their journey and making an impact.

Include a meaningful quote: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Judy

How would your friends describe you 3 words? gregarious, fearless, adventurous

If you had a warning label, what would it say?  Loud (but not in a bad way)

Favorite band?

  •  Beatles, Sting, Ramones, Stones…

Songs by mood?

  • Road trip: CCR
  • Cleaning House: Aretha Franklin
  • Workout: Eighties music

Where did you go to school? U.T.A.

Where did you grow up? Dallas area

Siblings? Too many

Married? widowed

Children? 2 children and 3 grandchildren

Pets? 2 cats

Where else have you worked? Methodist, Baylor Rehab, various restaurants as a chef.

What was your favorite thing about your last job? The love everybody has for their job and each other

Include a meaningful quote: “My Brain is not working today — I am not synapsing”

We also have 2 new Employees at BIND we would like for you to get to know a little better:

Diana

How would your friends describe you (three words?)

Bossy, organized, and shopper extraordinaire.

If you had a WARNING Label, it would say: Warning! My speed may cause blurred vision.

Favorite Band: U2

Songs by Mood:

Road Trip: “Mad World” – Gary Jules

Cleaning House: “Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen

Workout: “Till I Collapse” – Eminem

Where did you go to school? Texas Tech Health Sciences Center

Where did you grow up? Lubbock, Texas

Siblings? 2; I’m the oldest; One brother; One sister

Married? Yes

Children? One son

Pets? Rey (like the Jedi)

Where else have you worked? Various rehab settings at all levels of care.

What was your favorite thing about your last job? Everything except the documentation, but especially my brain injury patients who come in every shape, size and all have stories that inspire me.

Include a meaningful quote: “Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of your hard work isn’t what you GET FOR it, but what you BECOME for it.”- Dr. Steve Maraboli

But my words to live by: Life is short… buy the shoes.

Jasmine

How would your friends describe you (three words): Bright, feisty, and spunky!

If you had a warning label, what would it say? “Contents under pressure. Do not shake!”

Favorite Band? Wild Child                                                                   

Songs by Mood:

Road Trip: “Welcome Home, Son” -Radical face

Cleaning house: Spanish music

Workout: “Power”-Kanye West

Sad: “Present Tense” – Radiohead

Where did you go to school? University of North Texas

Where did you grow up? Illinois

Siblings? 2 brothers; 1 sister; I am the oldest

Married? Nope!

Children? Never

Pets? Hopefully soon

Where else have you worked? Starbucks; Camp Summit; the U.N.T. Kirstin Ferrer Autism Center

What was your favorite thing about your last job? Wearing scrubs everyday

Include a meaningful quote: “ ‘Stay angry, little Meg,’ Mrs. Whatsit whispered. ‘you will need all of your anger now.’’’ – A Wrinkle in Time

Save The Date!

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We’re thrilled to announce the Masquerade Gala is set for Saturday, October 26 at The Clubs at Prestonwood in Dallas. Sponsorship opportunities start at $500 – contact us to learn more.

Star Local Media: Brain Injury Exhibit Goes Beyond the Mask

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“About 400 people suffer a brain injury in Texas each day. About 12 years ago, Karl Heller was involved in a nearly fatal car accident that left him with paralysis, global aphasia and severe injury to the left side of his brain.

“People think a brain injury is something permanent and you’re not going to get better,” Heller said. “I thought that before I had one. Now, I realize the first day is the worst day and everything goes uphill from there.”

Click Here to Continue Reading

Plano Magazine: Putting The Missing Pieces Back

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“Monthly support groups have always been a mainstay for overcoming odds and finding solidarity with a community of people who can relate to your life challenges. But for Valerie Gotcher, that simply was not enough when it came to the brain injury survivors’ support group she facilitated for many years while working as a speech therapist. Something felt missing.”

Click Here to Continue Reading

In Memory: Verna White

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We are pleased to honor the life of Verna White, mother to Brian White, our Board of Directors Treasurer. Please accept our sincere gratitude for gifts made to BIND in her memory. May peace be with you all who are mourning her loss.

April 4, 1926 – February 15, 2019

“Verna Irene White, beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt and friend to many, was born April 4, 1926 to Sherman and Isabel Beldin, and died February 15, 2019.

Verna grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, attended Oak Park Academy in Iowa. When her family moved to a farm outside of Glenwood, Iowa she met the love of her life, Clifford Dale White. They married on November 1, 1944. After Cliff discharged from the military, they returned to Iowa but soon moved to Omaha and raised their family, surrounded by a growing extended family and friends.

Verna was always known as a giving person. She welcomed and cared for as her own two children who had lost their mother, handed out clothes through the Dorcas Society, sang in a trio, baked and cooked for the masses.

Verna moved with her family around the Midwest but settled in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1967. Verna began a long career working in a nursing home caring for others in many different capacities, first as a nurses’ aid, then cooking, and finishing her career as the head of housekeeping. When she retired in 1992, she moved to Oklahoma to be near her children. She lived in the community of Summit Ridge for 23 years before moving into the Wolfe Living Center.

Verna loved to travel, seeing many sites around the United States and Europe. She loved collecting things and crafts of all sorts. After moving to Wolfe, she continued crafting by working on inspirational sticker books which she gave to anyone who wanted them.

Above all, Verna’s true happiness came from spending time with her family. Throughout her life, many nieces and nephews lived with her. Family gatherings always meant cooking for many, laughing hysterically, and supporting each other unconditionally.

Verna is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister Gladys White, and Brothers Robert and Clyde. She is survived by her sister Shirley Scott, her daughter Connie Stricker, sons John and Brian, foster children Linda Benjamin and Gerald Scott, six grandchildren, Shawn, Eric, Jenny, Bradley, Jason and Cindy and five great-grandchildren Ali, Cody, Lexi, Zoey, Max and Liam. She also leaves behind a host of extended family and friends.”

Remembering Jim

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Pictured L to R: Valerie Gotcher, Jeannette Goodman, Jim Goodman

How lucky we have all been to have something so wonderful that saying goodbye is so hard.

Jim Goodman is the finest example of an advocate, friend, and absolute joy through hardship that our BIND family could have ever dreamed of. Thank you for establishing a culture of acceptance, respect, teamwork and pure fun for this organization – you will be missed.

Click here to read Jim’s obituary.