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Abandoned and disheartened


Crusader8

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I had my first stroke in April 2016 in my home in Arcadia Ca. I tried to downplay what was happening as the symptoms were not sever. None the less, my wife called 911. I spent the night in the hospital and was told the following day that I indeed suffered a stroke. However minor, it was still a stroke. No permanent or temporary physical impairments. Just your run of the mill brain injury.

I had a flight scheduled to return to Iowa, where I still own a home and my daughter lives, the following week. Dr said not a problem, so I scheduled appointments with a cardiologist in Iowa during my visit.

He told me I actually had 2 strokes.

I am physically fit, I work out, am not over weight, do not smoke or drink, my BP is consistently 120/70 but they found my "bad" cholesterol was 126 so they prescribed Lipitor. After a few weeks, I was barely able to get up out of a chair due to the affects of the drug. They prescribed a different statin drug, but I had the same side affects.

My primary care physician prescribed a different type of drug but I didn't take it, choosing instead to increase my workouts and adjust my diet.

In June my cholesterol was down to 75.

Fast forward to September.

I had planned a 2 week visit to celebrate my daughter's birthday and perform some seasonal maintenance around the yard and house in Iowa.

A week after arriving, my older brother passed away at the age of 61. My wife flew to Iowa for the services, which were on the day I was scheduled to return to Calif. so they canceled my ticket. In addition, I was scheduled for a series of tests on my heart the same day so those were rescheduled to Oct. 5th.

My wife returned to California on Sept 23rd, reassuring me that Oct 5th was barely 2 weeks away, not a long period of time.

Oct 5th, did a stress test, echo cardiogram on my heart and carotid arteries, including the "bubble" tests. They then had me wear an external heart monitor for 48 hours.

Monitor ran it's course, shutting down at 12:38pm on Oct 7. At approximately 9:15 on Oct 7th, I suffered another, more severe stroke. This time my left arm was paralyzed and I was unable to speak clearly. Mind you, I was still in Iowa.

I called my daughter who in turn called 911. By the time the EMT's arrived, I had regained use of my arm and full speech capabilities. I called my wife in route to the hospital.

The performed the routine scans upon admittance, finding no obvious damage, but admitted me to the hospital.

The following day they did more tests, including an MRI. They decided to keep me over night, waiting for results from the tests I had completed on the 5th.

Sunday morning, I was told by a neurologist that the MRI showed no differences from the MRI performed in April and they were going to discharge me. An hour later, the hospitalist Dr came in with the results of the MRI, signed by the neurologist, and told me I indeed had a stroke, affecting 3 different areas of my brain.

I informed my wife and she began to book a flight to Iowa, but I told her to wait as they did not have results from the heart tests yet. The following day, they had the results and it showed my heart functioned great, so they decided to pun a scope down my esophagus to check the back of my heart.

This was performed the following day and they said I had a hole in my heart that is relatively "normal" in that 20% of the population have the same thing, but have no problems.

The next day they placed a loop recorder in my chest and discharged me. During the time in the hospital my wife started to become very angry and hostile towards me.

She was venting built up hostility from feelings of abandonment due to my bi-monthly visits to Iowa.

Since being released from the hospital, I have suffered great anxiety and depression and my emotions are all over the board.

My wife has become more angry and hostile towards me and doesn't care to hear about what I'm going through. I wanted to return to California, but can't do so until I receive my pension on the 1st of November.

I beg my wife to read about the affects a stroke can have on a persons emotions and the mental damage that can occur, but I don't think she has. Her responses are "you never ask how I am, or what my day was like" which is not true. I do, and she'll respond with "ok". She went to a weekend seminar called "Take Back Your Life" last week, telling me once she was there.

I asked her what she needs to restore our marriage and she said "you here with me and marriage counseling". Not a problem! She has the money to purchase a flight for me, but has said in the past she feels used because she believes I take advantage of the money her father left her.

We have 4 accounts, 2 bank and 2 investment accounts with both our names on them. I have access to only the account my pension is deposited into, she controls the other 3, which I have no problem with because it is money her dad left her.

I finally humbled myself and told her I could return home as soon as this weekend but she would have to purchase the flight. She didn't respond.

She has another "retreat" she is attending tomorrow and Monday but refuses to discuss the issues she will be addressing. I respect her wanting the confidentiality, but requested she answer a single simple question; does any of it have anything to do with me? She freaked out because she thought I was going to ask invasive questions, and we went back and forth until I finally asked her after she abruptly ended the conversation with "have a nice evening".

She responded a bit later telling me it had nothing to do with me.

Long story short, I feel like she does not care about what I am going through and has shut me out. I feel abandoned by the person who is supposed to support me as I support her and carry each others burdens.

She acts like I chose to have my brother die and to have another stroke.

I've been told by my primary care physician to remain in Iowa for 90 days, after which they will close the hole in my heart, and the case manager nurse has advised the same.

I have follow up appointments scheduled in California and had planned on returning, but now I'm not so sure.

She has not told me she loves me, other than in response to me telling her, or me asking her if she does, since April.

Anyone else feel abandoned after a stroke? To me, it feels cruel.

I love her, am in love with her, but her rejection and abandonment has added to my depression and anxiety.

I doubt she will see this or even read it because as far as I know, she has yet to seek care giver resources online, even though I sent her a link to this sight when I joined after the strokes in April.

So if she does read it, she will be angry, but it will show me she does care and is doing research.

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Crusader, welcome to the Blog Community.  You should get a lot of support here. We are not experts but between us have had a lot of experience of strokes.  However we are not marriage counselors and it sounds as if that is what you want to iron these problems out.

 

As well as having the small strokes it sounds as if you have other problems. I think this is made more difficult because of the distance between you and your wife.  She probably can't understand what is happening to you and how you feel. Usually a warm hug can heal a lot of relationship problems and you can't do it being so far apart.  I guess you just have to keep praying about all of this but do go home for a while if you can and have a heart-to-heart.  The distance can  cripple some relationships for sure..

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Crusader, my heart was breaking when I read your blog.  I'm all for female self-empowerment, but something was troubling me that she chose this time for her retreats, when you really need her at your side.  It appears there were not any marital problems before your strokes.  Do you think it is possible she is reacting out of fear about potential severe health problems that may happen to her?  Your strokes were totally unexpected, and you didn't know about the hole in your heart, and seeing that happen to you may have her fearful that something this drastic could happen to her??  Sweet Sue's suggestion of marriage counselling is really necessary; hopefully it would bring to the surface what she is "really" feeling and why.

 

This started only in April of this year; it's going to take some time for you to get through the depression and anxiety that typically occurs following a stroke.  Are you receiving counselling for these problems?  Do you plan on joining a stroke survivor support group when you return to California?  Is it possible she would go with you to one or more of these sessions?  It would help her understand to some degree what you're going through psychologically.

 

My ex left me during my first year post-strokes (2) + neurosurgeries x 2.  I totally understand why he left, and have no bitter feelings toward him.  We were so young, had our student loans paid off, in good careers, and when we weren't at work, life was just for fun.  I certainly wasn't fun for quite a period of time after strokes!  I was deep in self-pity and anger, couldn't speak (could think, but not express myself verbally), and needed 24/7 care.  When I got myself out of that funk (wasn't easy), life became good again.  

 

Very recently, in responding to a similar problem, I remembered reading some time ago in one of StrokeNet's forums that "stroke doesn't just affect the individual; it affects the family."

 

My thoughts and hopes are with you; you and your wife will get through this.  You're such a gentleman, so giving to her....it may take some time, but everything will work out.  

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Thank you.
We have been seeing a marriage therapist for nearly a year. I'm not a saint. Dropping everything and moving to California with only what I could jamb into 2 suitcases, I have struggled to adjust living in an area with millions of people and freeways that are parking lots. Her father died in August 2015, leaving us his home. I quit my job to relocate as she had reconciled with her dad just 6 month's previous to his death. They had never been as close as they were his last 6 months, so losing him was traumatic for us all.
However, I have a daughter in Iowa, a younger brother and dozens of friends and relatives.

Our "dream" was to keep my home in Iowa, living here during the summer, and finding a home in California, living there during the winter. We have that, but she can't split time because she has a minor son who just started high school, and his father would fight to prevent him from moving.
She has issues, and I do wonder if she is handling this the best she can.
I haven't been there emotionally since I moved last August, leaving her feeling abandoned, but part of my struggle to adjust is feeling like I'm held hostage as she reads my texts between my daughter and I and when I talk about visiting Iowa, she shuts down, fearing I'm going to abandon her.
But I digress, right now I'm struggling to feel normal and and not panic when I go grocery shopping.
I'm very blessed in that I suffered no temporary or long term physical disabilities from my strokes. All symptoms were gone within an hour, so on the outside I appear normal, but inside I'm falling apart. When I attempt to explain how hard it is to do more than sit in a chair (I do try to get in a 10 to 20 mile bike ride every day) she has said "everything isn't about you".
I've become insecure about her love, she has become either secretive or is just punishing me and not sharing her feelings other than anger. So I become more anxious and insecure.
I'll be booking a flight back tomorrow, but am conflicted about going after being advised to stay by two on my medical team.
My wife and I have healed a lot of pain the past 2 days, but as I write this, she has texted me maybe 4 times today, and is done with her schedule for the day.  I'm hurt she hasn't called to tell share what occurred during her sessions, and I can see she has sent over 100 texts to someone else.  Time was, she couldn't wait to talk to me. We are going on just 4 years of marriage.  So, there may be some improvement in our relationship, but my brain is still troubling me, compounding my anxiety and insecurity about her love and beyond that, her faithfulness.  I don't even know the name of the hotel she is staying in.

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Hi again, Crusader, very glad to hear that the situation with your wife has improved.  

 

With regards to your concerns about your emotional stress, I'd suggest you browse through the forum "Classic Postings and Advice", specifically the portion on "Post Stroke Feelings and Emotions".  You'll find a lot of advice there on how to cope.....many survivors have had to get prescriptions for anti-anxiety and/or anti-depression medication.  Strokes cause a major psychological downfall, and you'll see you're not alone.  Some other ways to help you cope are exercise (which you already are into) and other interests such as listening to your favorite music, watching sports, etc.  You may also want to start a new topic under Stroke Survivor Support - Cognition, Emotional, and Perceptual Problems.

 

My best wishes to you.  BTW, I added you as a friend, hope that's ok, if not it's easy to undo.  Take care.

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Your marriage probably had problems before your health issues arose and now those issues are magnified by those problems. Both you and your wife are afraid, you because of the anxiety of health problems and she because of the stress of losing her dad and now having her husband's health in doubt early into marriage. I think therapy is a very good idea and I hope it works. But I also hope you attend to your health problems. Your strokes were very recent and seem to get worse each time. If you have another one you could wind up permanently disabled. Then your wife, who is already struggling tp cope with your health and her own issues, would have to provide constant care and/or assistance for you. If your relationship is still weak it might well be destroyed at that point. After all, you've only been married four years, right? Presumably this is not the first marriage for either of you so you already face an uphill battle for marital success. I know that in my case the fact that my wife and I have been married for more than 50 years and had a very good marriage before she had a stroke has made it much easier for me to be her caregiver/assistant for more than three years now.  I never resent having to do that, never have an urge to escape, never feel cheated. Instead I feel very fortunate that the stroke that significantly disabled her physically wasn't worse and better yet that I still have her in my life with her speech and mind intact. My guess is that your wife would have a great deal of difficulty performing the same role in your life that I perform in my wife's. I hope you are able to discuss that with her. But I also hope that danger will make your committed to taking the very best care of yourself so that you don't have another stroke. First, find out with certainty what caused your strokes and then work like the dickens to prevent yet another one. A common cause is atrial fibrillation, which I assume was one reason your doctor had you wear a Holter monitor for two days. Be advised that my wife wore such a monitor too and no Afib showed up but then we went to a university medical center and saw a stroke expert who prescribed the monitor for a full month. It took only 8 days for Afib to show up. My wife now takes the anticoagulant Xarelto to lower the odds of her having another stroke. There are no guarantees but at least we are playing defense now that we know the culprit. Not knowing the cause of her stroke was very stressful for both of us. We felt as if we were going around with a loaded  pistol cocked and pointed at her head. I'm not quite sure if any of our experience has any implications for you and your wife. I am not even sure what kind of stroke you had, the bleed kind or the clot kind. But I do know that you need to seek the very best medical care that you can find in order to lower the odds of having another stroke. By the way, I'm not sure you were wise to quit taking statin drugs altogether. There are many different kinds of those drugs and if you keep trying them you may well find one you can tolerate. I did and the one I take now causes no problems whatsoever. Your cholesterol seems quite good now but, remember, what matters are ratios, not raw numbers, so just because LDL (bad cholesterol) is low doesn't mean your overall heart health is good. Listen to your cardiologist. If  you don't think he is trustworthy, find a new one.

Good luck with all that confronts you. You have a lot on your plate for sure. But with thought and hard work I feel confident that you can navigate it all successfully. A powerful step in the right direction would be to get your marriage squared away.

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Ron, thank you, great and welcome advice.

Blood clots were the cause.

Things are much better with my marriage now that I am back in California.

I started antidepressants last week and feel less stress already.

I have an appointment with cardiologist on the 21st, and I am curious about the link between acid reflux meds and strokes. I've taken omeprizol for nearly 20 years. Saw a news report this morning linking the meds to stroke risks.

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