Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What it feels like to have a stroke

When you hear of someone having a TIA, this is a mini stroke:
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a "mini stroke" from a temporary blockage. Although a TIA doesn't cause permanent brain damage, it may cause stroke warning signs, which may last minutes or even hours. Think of this as a warning sign you shouldn't ignore.

On Friday July21st I got up and told Eric I was getting a migraine headache, went to work at Us Airways,  and the headache got more intense, my speech was slurred, I was quite embarrassed to speak on the phone with passengers because it sounded like I was stuttering, but what it really feels like is, I was trying to get the words out, I knew exactly what I wanted to say but the brain and the mouth were not communicating with each other.  I take great pride in the fact that I have a very good record with Us Airways not calling in sick or never being late since they day I started--to most it's probably no big deal, but for me it's an accomplishment.  Well on this day, July 21st, my headache continued as I spoke with passengers, I took migraine medicine and nothing was working, I simply packed up all my things and left.  On my way home Kaitlyn called and wanted to know if I would like to go to a movie with her and Brian and Blake, I remember that my speech was slurred, but did not think it was as bad as my kids were making it sound.
I drove to the wrong place, by the time I got to where Kailtyn was the right side of my face was completely numb--Blake called Eric and he told him to get me to the closest ER.  I said "no, I'm fine I just have a headache and need to lay down"  Blake then drove me to my primary care doctor who immediately told Blake to get me to the ER asap.  I cannot explain how frustrating it is to want to communicate, but the words are not coming out--I was confused and disoriented--The ER doctor was really upsetting me because he was asking about my thyroid and I was trying to explain it to him, but  he kept on telling me I must be confused, that my thyroid was incapable of going from hyper to hypo or the other way around--he said it was physically impossible--NO IT IS NOT--especially if you have Hoshimotos-- I was diagnosed with it a year ago.  I was sent home that night and told to go see my neurologist at Mayo asap, I did on the following Monday, I took the films from the ER, plus the films from my last MRI and the new one the doctor did at Mayo and it was confirmed a TIA.  The stroke I had was an ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot.  A hemorraghic stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain. Most people die from a hemmoraghic stroke.  Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. If you think someone is having a stroke have them say a simple sentence for you, raise their hands above their head, and ask them to smile. Call 911 if they have a problem doing any of these.
I have a family history of strokes, from my fathers side of the family.  To be honest I have had the right side of my face go numb so many times, since my late 20's but I never thought anything about it.  Since I've had cancer I am alerted to everything that happens in my body, I'm not paranoid but I do react when something does not go away.  
I now take medicine daily to help with the TIA's, I have had a couple since that day, but nothing serious.  I think the scariest part of all this, is me driving while this was all going on.  I also did not realize I had left an hour early from work, I have never done anything like that in my life, and did not realize I had done it until I returned to work a few days later--My manager, knowing what had happened to me was so great to just erase that little error from my file--I love working for US Airways they have always been really good with me.  
Although it was a scary event, I'm glad I had my family to help take care of me and had previously told them if any of these warnings happened no matter what I said, that they were to get me to the nearest 
ER--now I know that Mayo has a stroke unit and if it happens again I will be heading there.