Reading This Could Save Your Life

You may find this a rather drastic title to this blog, but if one person gets the medical attention they need to by reading about my experience of the past four months I would not consider it a gimmick.

In late April, my life changed in a way I had never expected. I suffered a slight stroke. Nothing has been the same since that Friday morning. I wasn’t going to share this extremely personal information in my blog, but along the way so many people have asked me “How did you know you were having a stroke?” I realized many people just didn’t know stroke symptoms. And I also had medical professionals ask me to write about this when they heard I had a blog.

Thursday evening as I was getting ready GlassBuilding.jpegfor bed my mouth suddenly felt like it was full of Novocain, as though I’d just had had dental work done. Because I was so tired I brushed it off and went to bed. But the next morning I woke up and the feeling was much stronger and now the right side of my cheek was all numb. A few minutes later my right arm was numb and my hand tingly. A few minutes after that my right leg felt extremely heavy and my feet tingly too. Being it was all on the right side of my body I knew something had to be wrong. My husband took me straight to the ER.

Once in the Emergency Room a MRI was done and I was quickly diagnosed with a small blockage in my brain. They gave me aspirin and admitted me to the hospital and closely monitored me all day because the chances of a larger stroke within 24 hours after a small one are high.

I should have gone to the ER the night before, but I had never heard of the symptom of one’s mouth feeling all numb. Everything else I felt in the morning was textbook symptoms of a stroke and I knew that. That’s why we headed straight to the hospital.

I feel extremely blessed and just plain lucky. My stroke was caused by a small clot in a vessel in my brain, most likely caused by high cholesterol. At 58 I thought I was far too young to have a stroke, only to find out that the highest percentages of people who have them are people in their fifties due to lifestyle. Fewer and fewer of our elders have strokes these days because of the quality of the healthcare they receive.

What I have discovered is that it takes a long time to bounce back from even a slight stroke. The reason I have not posted a blog in over four months is that I have been dealing with Aphasia.  My blood clot was in the thalamus portion of my brain, the gateway for information to be processed. Aphasia happens when there is damage to the neuro-pathways. Over the last months I’ve experienced extreme difficulty with processing what I read. At times I couldn’t find the right words when I speak or write. With time this is improving. Two months ago I wouldn’t have been writing this as I am. Bringing thoughts together on paper has been a major problem. Concentration and staying on task is also the job of the thalamus. Mine has truly wanted to take a vacation for the summer!

I was not prepared for the total exhaustion this healing process would bring. Still now I must arrange my daily schedule so I can sleep for at least an hour during the day, and what is most difficult is that I have no idea how long this healing will take.

You may find it ironic that I was writing about Liminal Space in my last blogs in April because that is exactly where I’ve found myself these last months. What I can tell you that in many ways time has stood still while the world has kept moving around me. I had to step off the merry-go-round whether I liked it or not. My body has dictated how my life would function. It has taken patience, rest, and trust in the medical people helping me, to know I will get well. I’m not there yet, but I hope you will be hearing more from me. Being quiet all these months has given me loads of time to reflect. I’m now finding the words once again to put those thoughts into print. I ask for your prayers for continued healing.

Please know the signs of stroke and get help for yourself or a loved one immediately if they appear!