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What Part of Your Brain Did the Damage Occur?

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I'm a bit curious. It seems that in reading a few topics lately many had described the areas of the brain that their damage occurred. Additionally in reading I seem to remember that other's had similar areas that were damaged, as was mine. So I pulled my medical files and here is what my description was, as follows;

 

"The left vertebral artery arises directly from the aortic arch instead from the left subclavian artery. There is a presence of a dissecting aneurysm occupying the V4 segment of the left distal vertebral artery just distal to where it enters the dura in the cranial cavity. These findings are best shown on the 3D rotational angiography. Note that the patient has a common left AICA-PICA trunk of that of an isolated left posterior inferior cerebellar artery arising from the left distal vertebral artery. No cerebellar branches arise from the left vertebral artery in the dissected segment. Successful coil embolization of a left vertebral artery dissecting aneurysm with deliberate sacrifice of the parent vessel as described above."

 

Now, other than a neurosurgeon, thats a lot of technical jargon little understood to me. However, what I have noticed that stood out was a few of the other members here had also described damage in the left vertebral areas. I can't help the analytical part of me in even considering "if" being more of a common point, if this is an inherent weak point in our human brains? Does anybody else here have a description of the areas of the brain that was affected by their strokes? Call me curious. I can't help but wonder about our common points. Thanks.

 

The area affected caused left side weakness and numbness, especially left arm/hand. Numbness extends from the left side of my head and ear all the way to my left leg and foot. Balance deficits, neurologic pain in my left eye, and oddly I find in cold weather I have to put a sock on my right foot to keep it warm or comfortable?? Other deficits that many have such as taste, short term memory deficits, thinking pattern disruption, emotions....etc my list is similar as many here. 

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My damage was diffuse in many areas but mostly in the parietal lobe and thalmus. The parietal causes perception problems such as auditory and visual overstimulation as well as some aphaisia. The thalmus is the brains switchboard for routing sensation, this causes me to feel things that aren't there and not feel some things that are. Sensations like cold and touch are misrouted and perceived as pain.

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Same, my injury started out , primarily on my left hemisphere then , as a result of clots formed from body trying to repair, clots traveled through my basilar artery/brain stem/cerebellum and pretty much all over. Good thing the doctors spent 6.5 hours of surgery taking out as many clots as they could to prevent more damage.  So I have issues with a multitude of things but they're all 'inside' . Eye issues, balance issues, memory to name a feww     

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Also had a left vertebral artery dissection, scattershot of blood clots through my brain.  I can't give you chapter and verse (memory issues).

 

Short-term memory appears unaffected (but then its good enough that they cannot actually measure it).  Translation to working memory is mediocre.  Translation from there to long term memory is near as damnit non-existent.  Existing long-term memory is still ok, but not as good as it was.  I can often remember images (so I can visualize a map but not remember directions of street names).  So the problem is mostly getting stuff IN, but some memory lost and erratic when getting things OUT.

 

Upper right quadrananopia (both eyes).  PITA, as I have to be re-tested every year to keep my driver's license.  I suppose that I should be grateful, as a couple fo years earlier they would have just pulled my license; Ontario now has a "vision waiver" where you can keep your license even if you don't meet the vision standards provided you have a functional driving assessment and your vision deficits stay constant.  Iso having jumped through hoops to get my license back, I now have visual field tests every 12 months with my amazing optometrist.

 

Proprioception is erratic in my left leg, foot turns out when I get tired.  Leg feels tired far sooner than my right leg when I run.  I drag or stumble on it sometimes especially when tired.  Balance is sort-of OK, unless I am tired.

 

I find in almost impossible to hold a "polite conversation".  I can generally talk about something specific (if I'm not tired), but find that in company I just sit and cannot think of a damn thing to say.  And if there are several people talking (family dinner) I cannot differentiate between them, it all just turns into a blur.

 

Biggest impacts on my life are memory (huge) and social issues.  Plus fatigue (especially in company).

 

Way too much information, 

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I need to try and get my hands on an official report on my stroke. You guys all seem to have been brought down by clotting. I know a vein leaked blood into the right side of my brain and the damage was all on the left. Your TIA's are 85% of strokes that occur.

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Bleed affecting the brain stem which clotted off.

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5 hours ago, Willis said:

I need to try and get my hands on an official report on my stroke. You guys all seem to have been brought down by clotting. I know a vein leaked blood into the right side of my brain and the damage was all on the left. Your TIA's are 85% of strokes that occur.

Willis, my long term disability required all my hospital medical paperwork on file. AETNA was really putting me thru the hoops. In retrospect, I could have saved a lot of emotional turmoil by not returning to work as it just further complicated my case for disability in the long run. I really pushed the envelope to get back to work as I just couldn't see giving in to a 25yr career without a fight. Additionally, the paperwork was helpful to all my doctors that I saw post surgery. It saved a lot of explanations.

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My clot plugged off a part of my lower central brain, can't remember what they call it. Affected my vision, short term memory, and easily fatigued in high heat/summer sun. The effects don't show by looking at me, except for my mouth droops on one side which I cover up somewhat with a beard.  I can't get disability. They tell me a description of a job I can do (even has a number), but they can't tell me where to find it. I have trouble w/ employment because of my communications...I can be talking a mile a minute, and suddenly be unable to find the word I need, or I may totally forget where I was going in conversation. This is very annoying, I remember my Grandmother having that issue after her stroke, so I can totally relate. I've learned to not let it bother me when this happens, if they know me, they know how it is. I had dizziness on standing for a year afterwards, and sometimes I have a sort of clumsiness that I don't realize until it's too late. My vision came back for the most part. A few small issues there but I've adapted. I also cannot learn new things well in a work environment, this aggravates my bosses, who keep after me about it. Most leaders don't really want a stroked, 55yo man working for them anyway, they'd rather have young workers.

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49 minutes ago, will2 said:

Willis, my long term disability required all my hospital medical paperwork on file. AETNA was really putting me thru the hoops. In retrospect, I could have saved a lot of emotional turmoil by not returning to work as it just further complicated my case for disability in the long run. I really pushed the envelope to get back to work as I just couldn't see giving in to a 25yr career without a fight. Additionally, the paperwork was helpful to all my doctors that I saw post surgery. It saved a lot of explanations.

I was lucky to be retired for 5 years and could never have imagined going back to work like that then. Of course I was 64 and 8 months and would have been close to retiring anyway. I Feel the biggest thing working against me is my age. I'm going to see if myPM can get the stroke report.

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I had my hemorrhagic stroke in my PONS, or brainstem. A doc told my husband that this is one of the worst spots to have a stroke because every message coming to or going out of the brain has to go through the Pons, so it's possible to have damage in any part of the brain which had a message on the highway at the time of my stroke. Since every message has to go through the pons, it's also possible to have bilateral (on both sides of your body) damage. Both of my ears were affected, for instance. I'm going to try and list all of the deficits that I had initially, but some went away or got better

time. 

  • Dizzy 24/7
  • Left side paralyzed
  • Balance problems
  • Nystagmus, both eyes
  • Lt. ear deaf, rt. ear profound loss of hearing

Eyes could not track each other 

Couldn't talk at all

  • Couldn't swallow
  • Numb on lt. side
  • Entire head and face numb, and couldn't change facial expression;
  • Couldn't write
    • Generalized anxiety disorder (this is the only deficit which became progressively worse     Becky

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glad to hear you improved and likely still will.Strokes suck no matter how they affect you.

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2 hours ago, alansd said:

glad to hear you improved and likely still will.Strokes suck no matter how they affect you.

I will add, if I were to list a positive, and as I see it, one that has really impacted my outlook in life. I have developed a great deal more compassion for those who are afflicted and suffer from accidents and injury, illness and/or diseases. Throughout my life I've really underestimated how those kinds of things impact somebody's life. Now I'm on the other side of that fence and just find it remarkable how kind and willing some folks are to help somebody who needs assistance because of these kinds of things. Overwhelming actually. Now, I know first hand how it feels for somebody to reach out and lend a hand to help, it's deeply humbling and I find my appreciation and gratitude are insufficient to express properly. Thank God for those angels in life that are there at those moments. My life has always been about the giving and never really understood about the receiving part. I do now.

 

With many of the things that have happened, many of the things I've had to let go of and adjust to, yea, there are days I still get angry or frustrated and bitter, but I've come to reasonable terms that I cannot change those things, and for others I create a work around if possible. Life just keeps on coming at you and often from many different directions, daily. It ain't easy by any stretch and I've worked thru (I think) the why me? And what did I do to deserve this phase for the most part.

 

Thats whats so unique about being here, StrokeNet, sharing and learning from others. There's a ton of wisdom here and I don't feel as lost knowing we can share in our fate's if you allow it. Everything is important here, thanks for contributing.

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I had a bilateral embolic infarct in the PICA region of my cerebellum. So a clot that came from another area in my body and caused a weird very rare stroke. There days leading to my stroke I had something kind of like a migraine or maybe it was one. I had an annoying headache that didn't respond to motrin and it affected my vision... The sun seemed way too bright and I did have wavy rainbow lines (aura). The stroke hit like bomb... One you can see but not feel for a moment. I fell and my thought was "oh I fell I better get up". When I tried to lift my head that is the moment the bomb impacted me. My world turned into a vortex and my head was like metL to a giant magnet, my eyes and my head hurt so bad I can't explain it. Then I vomited so violently and never stopped...for weeks. I have no memory once in the ambulance. It's just gone. So the hospital did not diagnose my stroke. I was sent home in less than 48 hours. I couldn't speak a sentence just a word "sometimes". I couldn't walk (I hz  a walker but it was impossible for me to use it really. I had a potty chair next to my bed. I basically crawled my way to it. I had pretty much 100% vertigo and vomited all the time. I think I slept 18-20 hours every day. My daughter tells me she would make me food and lay it beside me in a covered container snd I usually tried to eat it each day (no memory). Since the hospital said I was having a strange migraine or it was labrinthitis everyone went about their daily schedule... My daughter would come home on her lunch hour and check on me. I finally saw my PCP and he did 1 reflex test and immediately sent me to a Neurologist. I finally had a brain MRI and I think about 2 months after my acute undiagnosed massive stroke was found. My Neurologist said that I was lucky that what saved me was the clot had dissolved on its on. A year of PT, ST, OT and vestibular therapy helped me get to where I am today. I have disequalibrium issues, anomic aphasia, general all over weakness, ongoing severe fatigue, a slew of psychiatric issues (due to cerebellum), cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome, Cognitive decline, ongoing PBA, proprioception issues, pretty severe anxiety with panic disorder, my fingers don't work properly, I have trouble processing info especially emotional info or I don't know abstract thinking. Pretty bad defecits in executive function and working memory. In general my memory is crappy! I do remember past things sometimes but better if I have a reminder. It's like so hard to make a new habit... It takes a lot of repetition... A LOT. I used to be the social butterfly but quite the opposite now. Having the stroke woke me up in many ways. I realize that my best advocate is me. I see the beauty in things around me. I have found an inner peace with life and death. I don't fear death and I pray to always strive to see the beauty the awe in life. 

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Tracy, I am amazed that the hospital discharged you in 48hrs. No CT scan, no MRI??? Though my situation and condition may have been slightly different, I can't imagine a hospital being more thorough and checking everything, especially with those conditions you mentioned. You may have died without proper treatment and at the very  least considered personal harm given your condition with the dizziness, lack of mobility, etc. With the correct diagnosis you could have been given stroke preventative medications as a precaution in the event of a bleed...unbelievable!

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You must be made of *very* tough stuff to survive that long with no treatment.

 

I'm also amazed at your discharge.  

 

My first hospital visit (drive-in with my wife) was eventually diagnosed as a migraine as the symptoms disappeared, but they still did a CT scan (found nothing) and told my wife to call an ambulance if there were *any* repeat symptoms, however mild.  Two days later a few more clots dislodged, she called an ambulance.  All hell broke loose in my brain on my way to the hospital; I was rushed through emergency for imaging (saw some damage but could not find the dissection), then admitted to ICU & pumped me full of anticoagulants.  The found the dissection late the next day, stayed in hospital for another week before they felt I was OK to be discharged.

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        It was fascinating reading all your reports about your strokes. My situation is different from most of you and I had several advantages. The first was my age  of 83. This meant that I was drawing a pension and living in a country where hospitalisation was free and I didn't have to prove my right to it. (Surprisingly enough I was billed for the ambulance! because that is a private organisation!) The next advantage was that I am right handed and my stroke affected my right side so all the exercise equipment I needed for recovery was around me. The next advantage was that my family all had grown up and left home so I had no responsibilities like schooling or meals. We owned no pets, another freedom.

 

       The greatest advantage was my partner, we had been married 55 years and there was no likelihood of her leaving me for another. From the word GO she took over everything. Having lived with me for that length of time she was used to surprises and took this one in her stride. 

 

        Unable to sleep, I spent the night trying to get words out. I was determined to say 'Good Morning' to the first nurse I met......It was a failure.....it came out as 'ruuemerospin' or something like that and I promptly burst into tears. The first high came when I found that I could actually walk unaided except for a Zimmer frame, this meant that my fear of a lifetime in a wheelchair  was unfounded. Struggles with swallowing were short-lived and ultimately vanished altogether. 

 

      My totally useless right arm started to improve quickly, before the ambulance had got to the hospital I found I could lift it to shoulder height and within two days I could actually offer a limp hand for a weak handshake. Automatic improvement stopped there and it took some months before I could touch thumb to each finger. Eventually I was able to get about 50% of my strength back and a lot of my flexibility. Now after 5 years I can drive and play the keyboard and guitar again, though very badly!

 

     What has changed in me is my attitude to other handicapped people. Pre-stroke I was terrified of people in wheelchairs. I cannot explain this, perhaps I had a bad experience with one in my infancy, but now I can approach them and offer conversation and help. 

 

Deigh

 

 

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18 hours ago, will2 said:

Tracy, I am amazed that the hospital discharged you in 48hrs. No CT scan, no MRI??? Though my situation and condition may have been slightly different, I can't imagine a hospital being more thorough and checking everything, especially with those conditions you mentioned. You may have died without proper treatment and at the very  least considered personal harm given your condition with the dizziness, lack of mobility, etc. With the correct diagnosis you could have been given stroke preventative medications as a precaution in the event of a bleed...unbelievable!

Will I was given a head CT but again I had a very rare weird stroke. Even though I was in the middle of an acute massive stroke the CT showed nothing. It's due to where my stroke was, the Cerebellum. Very dense thick skull bone covers it and a stroke is very often not seen on a CT for several days. An MRI would have found it though. The hospital stopped at the CT. You are very right... Ive learned a lot about the Cerebellum and stroke in the Cerebellum over the past 4.5 years. It is so rare to have a bilateral cerebellar stroke it's almost unheard of (due to how the blood flows into the area), it is the least known about and the least studied part if the brain, many very skilled medical professionals know very little about it. It can be a very deadly stroke due to its misdiagnosis alone. FAST never included my kind of stroke. It's not so rare to survive the first 5-7 days but if untreated it can cause mass edema in the Cerebellum and can cause it to push into the 4th ventricle and effectively cutting blood supply to the brainstem and that is deadly. So seemingly OK for 4-5 days a d then rapidly declining. I was very lucky and very grateful that somehow my clot dissolved on its own. I think it is because the 911 operator told my daughter to give me a 325mg aspirin and chew it up. Not standard in possible stroke calls but the operator felt it the best thing. I will never know. I just thank God that my daughter (19 at the time) was in the same room. Good news... My Psychiatrist said there is a stir in the medical field around the Cerebellum even though much has been learned in the past 25 years. It's like uncharted territory and people are starting to get curious. That csn mean a world of difference to future stroke survivors of this type. 

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BTW I am fascinated as well reading about all of everyone else's experience. I'm so glad you are all here. You are all miracles. I am in awe of every stroke survivor i have met and/or spoken with. Sometimes you don't even need words to understand another. I never want another person to ever have a stroke. But I learned I am not alone... At first I felt more alone than I could even comprehend. Then I found this site, then my local support group and so many others. We all have an unspoken bond. 

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Will2, sorry, but you lost me at "as follows:" !!!!

My lesion is left thalamus. 

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I just watched Oprahs interview with Tracy Morgan who a very bad car accident, and survived a long coma.we are alike in that I now value everyone I come across. I allways say "hello and have a great day. "I feel more compassionate and human.I've always been friendly and outgoing, but not like this .

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Yes Alan, this really does change your outlook on life. And definitely my outlook on those less fortunate than me.

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It's a real inspiration to read everyone's story...I see that we all have a mutual understanding of how it is even though everyone's is different. The recovery brings out the best in us, the survival instinct. Thank you all for sharing your stories.

 

I noticed someones comment about feeling so alone afterwards, when my folks left the hospital the first night I felt so abandoned, so alone that I broke down crying. Nurse comes in and asked if I was okay...not going to say here what my initial thought was but I just said I'm okay, please leave me alone. (cause she just stood there staring at me.)

To say that strokes "really mess up your mind" is an understatement, no pun intended but I guess it could be seen as a fun pun in retrospect!

 

God bless you all, you are very special.

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Tracy, I've just reread this thread.

I too, had a CT early days. And it showed nothing. 

I'm beginning to think a CT shouldn't be used for the brain.

It took another two weeks after the CT to discover the lesion.

I don't know how you coped for so long with no diagnosis. 

💚

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My neurologist showed me the picture of a small white patch on my upper brain stem which was situated very slightly to the left.  There were 2 or 3 other white patches in other places on my brain and maybe that's why he said he thought I had several strokes before.  I was, and still am, weak on my right side, although somewhat improved.

 

That first night I had scrambled vision for 3-4 hours and was unsteady.  My vision was good as ever after that, whew.  A couple days later I woke up and was weak on the right side.  I figured probable stroke so my wife drove me to the hospital, and I was admitted.  I could walk (awkwardly) and talk (with a slur), climb a few steps, and write slowly and awkwardly but legibly.  They asked me to write three words and it took a while to remember the third word, but I am normal in this respect now.  Swallowing was weird with especially liquids going down the wrong way (still happens).  I was in the hospital 4 days, got all of the usual tests including 2 MRI's and a follow up for 3 months later.  Other than the tests there was no treatments at all.  I quit my heavy smoking habit cold turkey, and that's what I value from being at the hospital those 4 days.

 

I still can't stand for long periods (10 minutes), and although I can do almost anything I could do before, I can only do it for very short periods and lack co-ordination, so I have to remember to think first before I move because I easily lose balance.  I no longer pack a punch.  I feel like I can barely move, I've practically stopped drinking coffee because I hate struggling to get up and stumble into the kitchen for a refill.  At first I couldn't lift a full 12 cup coffee pitcher with my right hand but I can fairly easily do it now.  On my follow up visit to the neurologist he took me through the usual diagnostic tests and told me that he couldn't tell I'd had a stroke except my mouth seemed to droop a little on the right side.  That made me feel isolated but I'm OK now.  Sometimes I wonder how much better I might get although I'm pretty well adapted (or I wouldn't be here).

 

My worst symptom is my weak legs, I feel like a can barely lift my right foot and that I'm going to stumble and fall at any moment.  I try not to let myself think about wheelchairs.  The biggest frustration has always been a lack of answers and I now understand that every stroke victim is a law unto themselves but it's hard not having any frame of reference except your own post stroke experiences.  I couldn't get much of a reaction from the neurologist when I asked him why I felt such extreme fatigue and weakness in my legs or if something could be done.  I'm not sure if my stroke was a mild one or not, no one said that, but I'm sure it was compared to some.  But if it is, I feel confident that whoever came up with the term "mild stroke" never had one.  

 

I can hack it, I will hack it, but I'm not bragging at all, I have no good alternative.  I have great support and I know all things work together for good, am hoping to find out what that is as soon as possible.  Best wishes to all.

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Hi Magma yes we hack it because there's not much choice.  Neurologists are pretty useless at the why question when it comes to symptoms and defecits. The don't know and they hate saying "I don't know".  What they can and should say is yes that is normal most stroke survivors have some of that.  A Rehab specialist is usually more useful than a Neurologist once you are past the acute care stage.

 

Wheelchairs are a great option if you need to go that way, but the old arthritis maxim "use it or lose it" does apply.  In our case the more we make our bodies and brains do something the better we get at it. And while it feels like forever at the moment you are really only just getting started on this journey. Get into a physical therapy program or create your own and the heavy leg/foot syndrome should reduce.

 

Hang in there and keep on working at it

-Heather

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