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Post Stroke Journal #1


wdtony

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On May 11th I suffered an ischemic stroke. Woke up completely paralyzed on my left side.

 

I was in the hospital for 4 days.

 

The MRI revealed two infarctions (small sections of brain inactivity) suggesting that I had had another stroke at an earlier date, but no indication as to when this occured. Also confirmed that I did, in fact, stroke.

 

No risk factors for stroke with the exception of slightly elevated cholesterol (207 total).

 

It has been almost a month since the stroke and I am ready to start keeping a record of my recovery or any events that warrant description here.

 

It is also very important that I mention that I experienced an adverse reaction to an SSRI medication 3.75 years ago resulting in serotonin syndrome (It was terrible, terrible, terrible). I have been striving to recover from the first brain injury caused by the SSRI since it occured. I believe that this condition may be permanent, at least to a large extent. I hope to find answers about what I might do about the brain damage from the SSRI as well as from the stroke.

 

I also have had chronic insomnia and chronic migraine for at least 17 years.

 

So I will begin to blog about the past 3 weeks (briefly) and then for today.

 

After 4 days in the hospital I could not walk out of the hospital. I needed a wheelchair to leave the facility.

 

I have had a terrible time getting a sleeping schedule. I have episodes of panic, sometimes for no reason and sometimes from fear of having another stroke.

 

I experienced tachycardia (very rapid and pounding heartbeat) apparently from an anxiety attack early one morning approximately one week ago. This episode lasted for about 2-3 minutes. I thought I would have a heart attack. I have had minor chest pains since then. It has not happened since.

 

I have made some very slight improvements. I can walk (stagger) and sleep has improved, although minimally. The panic attacks come and go without warning. The fatigue comes and goes as well. Some days I feel as though I cannot get up. The weakness is aggravating. I cannot drive.

 

Walking in the apartment is fairly easy. Walking outside is very difficult for some reason.

 

I have visual impairment which seems to get better at times and worse at other times. I have sudden onset vertigo at times which usually goes away quickly (thank god). One day I didn't think I was seeing the earth, the sun looked like another planet.

 

I take one baby aspirin a day to prevent clotting, ibuprofen for headaches and 1 xanax a night for sleep. I also take xanax if I experience a panic attack. These panic attacks can last for hours or even days.

 

It feels awful to have the sun shine on my head, this is new since the stroke. I once loved the sun and getting a tan if only a little.

 

I feel a divide when I am fatigued, as if the left side of my body and the right can't quite communicate correctly. I do not always feel this. When I am tiring, my left side will sometimes "tickle" inside, as if it is healing. My left side seems to tingle more often than it did before the stroke and most days my left arm tingles and feels as if it is going to sleep, similar to when I lay on it while sleeping.

 

I sometimes cannot differentiate between the strange neurological symptoms from the stroke and the serotonin syndrome. At times they seem to combine and work against me. When I also lack sleep or have migraine, I am confused as to the origin of my symptoms and am scared and frustrated. I often fear the worst.... a debilitating stroke.

 

It seems like physical exertion hinders my progress. It also seems that too much rest makes me nervous. I am attempting a delicate balance of physical activity and rest so that my brain may heal at its optimum rate.

 

My diet has dramatically improved. I eat very well now to reduce any risk factors of stroke.

 

I am dizzy and off balance most of the time. At times I cannot get up and am nauseas. I feel sick. I can sit on the couch almost all day if I am feeling sick, it is awful. I also suffer not only from anxiety, I also suffer from intermittent bouts of depression, which I perceive as normal. I may have PTSD from one or both of these brain injuries but I cannot diagnose this for lack of a medical degree. I suspect I have developed a degree of mental illness due to these terrifying brain injuries, if I wasn't already mentally ill to begin with.

 

After the first week, I managed to walk 1/4 of a mile with the aid of my father and frequent stops. Today I was able to walk (very slowly) an entire mile with the aid of my father. Just before the stroke I routinely jogged 1 mile and then walked for a few miles for exercise. While I am very content with my ability to make progress, I am frustrated with my inactivity compared to the degree of activity I maintained for approximately 15 years. I had exercised regularly for the majority of my adult life.

 

Now I tire quickly and my progress can only be described as a rollercoaster. I have bad days and days that are barely acceptable although my weakness is everpresent.

 

Today was otherwise unremarkable except that I feel dizzy and out-of-this world tonight. Now that I have started this blog I am hoping to update it with much less information and more pertinent details. I will only elaborate if it is necessary to document for posterity.

 

 

That's it for today.

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hi tony:

 

welcome to wonderful world of blogging. I found blogging very therupetic for me, though in my blog I would write whatever comes to my mind. in the begining all of us had written 100 things about ourselves so that readers get acquitanted with blogwriter. I stroked at age 34 after giving birth to premature baby and loosing her day later. my stroke left me paralysed on my left side. It happened in 2004. for me blogging here allowed me to acceptmy newnormal. Hope to learn lot more about you through your blogs

 

Asha(now 40 year old survivor)

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Thanks Asha,

 

I am begining to understand what you mean by new normal. I am sorry to hear about your loss. I find a lot of strength in these writings. I hope to learn about others here too.

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