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Stroke Survivor - male
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About PaulNash

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    Associate Mentor
  • Birthday 05/18/1958
  • Age 62

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  • Stroke Anniversary (first stroke)
  • Stroke Anniversary (second stroke)
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  1. PaulNash

    My medical connections are making their plans based on 3 years until a vaccine is developed, tested and approved and in production. They are obviously being conservative, and I hope that they are wrong, but I'm certainly not holding my breath either. At least Canadians are mostly compliant with distancing; face-mask use seems a tad erratic.
  2. PaulNash

    Hi Greg; I also had a vertebral dissection. That artery is prey much closed off, apparently a small amount of blood still gets through, but not enough to make a difference. The neurologist at the time would have been happier if the dissection was entirely closed off, to minims the chance of more clots breaking free (no moving blood to take them anywhere). The two vertebral and the two carotids feel into the circle of willis , which loops around the base of the brain and feeds a bunch of other arteries that feel the brain. Apparently, losing any one of them is no biggie. I've been going without one of my vertebral for over four years now (if my arithmetic is correct :-)). I run with no circulatory side-effects (although not long distances any more) . So don't worry about the artery. Just look after the rest of your health. Your lifespan will probably depend more on lifestyle (food, exercise, sleep) than anything else. Oh, and good to meet you 🙂
  3. Hi Jon Welcome. I'd like to repeat what others have said -- give yourself time, celebrate every little win, don't stress about anything that appears to be going backwards. Keeping peace of mind is important, and the gains come back. I find that when I get tired things fall apart, physically, cognitively and emotionally. After some rest, some exercise, and some time, things improve again.
  4. PaulNash

    I have some idea of what you must be going through from looking at my wife (I have the stroke, similar impact in many ways but much much milder). Sounds like you are coping remarkably well with a really horrid situation. The situation sucks. And if you need to vent, you've come to the right place. It sucks for all concerned. So of course you get frustrated with the situation and with your husband. It's natural and normal, so don't beat yourself up, that'll only make you feel worse. My shrink's advice to both me and my wife was to acknowledge the pain and the grief and everything else, and to try to let it pass as quickly as possible. The idea is that, over time, we will both be able tp accept this as the new normal and get on with our lives. Not got there yet, but at least we live in hope 🙂 It is not easy. Pat yourself on the back for getting this far, and keep congratulating yourself every day. I use to run long distances, and one of the ways of keeping going while running for 10 or 11 hours, was to break the race up. "Just to the next roadsign"; "to the top of this rise"; "to the next corner". And then reset the goal to something achievable, like another roadsigns, hill, tree. You break the journey down into "chewable chunks and biteable bits". Sounds easier than it is in real life, but it *does* make these things bearable; focussing on the next 5 minutes rather than the next 5 years. We try to use the same technique now. "Another 5 minutes and only then will I scream"; "I can hang on for another 10 minutes", "I will bite my tongue for 30 seconds and only the say what I am feeling". Remarkably, it gets easier and easier to reset the timer to stretch 2 minutes to 5, to 10, to tomorrow, to never. We are both only human (well, I am am, not so sure about Linda, she definitely has a bunch of angel blood in her), these things don't always work, and when they don't, we you to forgive ourselves and each other (often only some time later). The main thing, though, it that it sucks. We get it, And we are here for you, unconditionally.
  5. PaulNash

    My wife has been sewing masks for everyone she knows, as a way of dealing with the anxiety and the "locked in syndrome". She's getting pretty good at them, too. Now that the family is done, she's going to start making more for the neighbours. They're obviously not surgical-grade, but apparently between two and four layers of cloth just the risk of infection significantly (if there is virus around).
  6. PaulNash

    Hi Darrell I sympathize with you at the responses that you've received, but I fear that you're unlikely to get anything much more than that (unless its from a snake-old salesman). I am fortunate enough to have a sister-in-law who is a very well connected and respected doctor, plus a while with a PhD in veterinary medicine, plus Canada has a wonderful medical system,. I managed to get in to see one of the best neurologists around, plus OT, psychologist, psychiatric, neuro-psychologist, cognitive neurologist. Pretty much every form of brain imaging under the sun. Bottom line is that I have a bunch of deficits that they can do nothing to fix, but that may or may not improve gradually over time. Some things are a bit worse, some have improved marginally. I'm getting better at coping, and better at recognizing when I am getting close to my limits. My family understands the limits of what I can do, and how to recognize when I am running off the rails. All of this makes life more pleasant than it was immediately post-stroke, but still nowhere near as good as it was. According to the experts, this is true for pretty mush all strokes thatchy have encountered. I guess the upshot of this long and pedantic post is that your wife will probably change slowly in often subtle ways, What is more likely to make a difference is over time, as learn to live with and work around her deficits. Speaking as a survivor, with an over-achieving wife, I have an idea of what you must be going through. However, from my experience, I would say that opening time with your wife, helping, encouraging and supporting her, will be far more beneficial than looking for cures. I may, of course, be wrong.
  7. Pam, you have my sympathy. I hate to think what you must be going through. To quote Annie Lennox: "If I could find a way to soothe your troubled mind ... I'd fine the cure and take your pain away" I'm "lucky" enough that I have major memory issues, so can remember a bit of what happened, but it feels like looking at a comic-book version; not real and not related to me. paul
  8. You are not overreacting at all. And if I had confused a friend's birthday and our anniversary, I would be back at ER with a broken nose, stroke or no stroke. And yes, teenagers can be absolute hell. But then they improve. Been through this with three of them, fourth child ranges between silent, moody, aggressive, bossy, upset, catatonic, depressed. All in a period of 5 minutes (well, not quite, but definitely in the same day), Teenage years will pass. And one day you'll remember them with a certain amount of longing.
  9. PaulNash

    Hi Robyn We've all been though, and are still going through, what you are dealing with (to a greater or lesser extent). So we understand the daily frustrations, anger, pain as well as the joy that comes at times. Most of all, unlike friends and family, we don't have fits of being upset at hearing about the issues yet another time. We are here, we will listen and offer sympathy and occasional advice. We'll ask for your sympathy and advice. We're all in this together. Welcome. I'm very pleased that you found us, sorry that you needed to. paul
  10. Ed This just came to me, thinking about what you wrote: I do look up to people just hard after being the person that was the Shell answer guy I think that we all struggle with this. I know from my own experience, how easy it is to see your own struggles and your own failings, and think that everyone else has got it just right. Truth is that we all struggle, we all fail, and we are all very aware of the struggle and failure. And, yes, it is worse when you were "the answer guy", the person who could fix anything, the provider, the rock, whatever. We still are those people. Maybe not in the same way, but we are still there. We can still do those things, albeit differently. We can still inspire others, comfort them, and love them. And, bonus time, we can accept support, and help, and especially love, from others. It's not a failing, it's not a crime. Accepting what is offered is a gift to those who are offering. It can be really hard after being "the person who supported everyone else", but there is no shame, no failure. It just is. Think Zen, try to accept things as they are and work with them, rather than fighting. Yes, you can still improve, not give up, help others, and mourn what you have lost, but you can grow and flourish in new ways, bringing new gifts to those around you. Thank you Ed. Without you, I would never have realized this. See, you still are "that guy"!
  11. Thanks for posting. Absolutely shocking! Can you invite her to join us? " I am hoping to hear about other people and their "dealings" with this trauma." Sounds like she is looking for people to share her story and help her (or at least provide companionship).
  12. What I meant to put in, but forgot, is that anything (music, bible, running, staring at a river) that can let you silence the daily noise works really well. I used to get this way running, back when I was able to run far. The world just tunes itself out, thoughts silence themselves and there is just the immediate present.
  13. The way that I understand mindfulness meditation is that you try to clear your mind. Thoughts will pop up, you examine them, acknowledge them, tell them that you'll get back to them later and then dismiss them. It sounds weird, but after a bit of practice it works. You acknowledge thoughts one by one, until your mind is blank, and then you just sit for a while. The actual relief comes from acknowledging your thoughts, whatever they may be, and however you may feel about them. No doing anything about them, or giving them any sort of value, just saying to yourself (or to the thought) "OK, I see/hear you, you are telling me _whatever_, I will get back to you later but right now I need some space". It sounds a bit silly, but it works, and over time you get better and better at it. Then your mind can just float free without thoughts and feel good. With practice I can do it on the subway, in the dentist waiting room, whatever, still somewhat aware of what is going on around me. Works really well to still an anxious mind
  14. Hey Ed; I hear you and I sympathize. I'd guess everyone else does too. Yes, we feel like crap a lot of the time, loss, frustration, anxiety, pain, regret. But there are also good moments, and I try to treasure those. It's a roller-coaster. I've been on a mindfulness course; the meditation doesn't change anything about my situation, and doesn't always change how I am feeling, but does help to calm me down. If you haven't tried it, see if you can find someone to teach you. It may help, needs no pharmaceuticals, can be done anywhere, and as far as I know id legal even in the Southern states of the US :-). Even just focussing on my breathing while sitting still helps to tune the rest out and bring some peace back. I'm slowly accepting that things are as they are. I may not like them, but I have to choose my fights carefully, especially because of having a limited energy budget. In the bad times I also try to remember that things will improve at some point, I just don't know when or how. One thing that I learned in my ultra-marathon running days: when you are running out of steam, take things one step at a time. Don't think of having to run *another* 20, 30, 40, km, just think of the next 1km, 100yards, 10 steps, 1 step if necessary. Then think about the next one step. And then the next one. Just one at a time. It's like the old joke about how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time. And there are always times when none of this works, and I just give in and embrace the suck. Let myself be pulled under and embrace just how horrible the situation is. I don't do anything about it, just feel it and acknowledge it and sob my eyes out. Eventually I feel completely drained and empty, like I've shampooed and vacuumed my emotions, and then I pick what's left of me up and start again. It isn't easy, not for any of us, whatever our public faces may say. We are all in a horrible horrible situation, whatever the details may look like. But we have also been tough enough to survive until now, and are tough enough to keep going. It is not always pleasant, but the good bits can be good enough to make up for the bad.. At least that is what I tell myself when I am feeling like *beep*. Strength and peace coming your way, and truckloads of love.
  15. Quick datum, reinforcing the above. Just spent a couple of hours brainstorming somebody else' problems (spinal degeneration) with them. Getting in the company of others and away from my own moods left me feeling back to normal. These things come and go, just sent to test us at random intervals.
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