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Archive for May, 2006

I have tachycardia, which, directly translated, means fast beating heart. Usually the episodes last for around 10 minutes and my heart beats over 200 beats/min.

I had an episode recently, while I was on Coumadin and it hurt like all heck so I went to a cardiologist to see if my thin blood could be contributing to this issue.

Cardiologist did not like that I had chest pain and my heart is beating faster than 180 bpm. He thinks that it is a fatal type of tachycardia and needs further tests to diagnose this.

As I was speaking to him, I mentioned that a previous cardiologist (prior to stroke) said that one way to stop the tachycardia is to ‘bear down’ to put pressure on the vagus nerve to stop it. I told him that at the end of Sept 2005, I had a tachycardia problem and really ‘bore down’ hard to try to stop it – my heart was beating at 240 bpm (I had an exercise heart monitor on). He said that most likely, the effort of exessive bearing down caused the dissection in the carotid artery and caused the stroke.

Great – I caused my own stroke… wacko.gif

So now, I have to go in for a stress test tomorrow (2 1/2 hours..ugh!), and an EP study in which they insert a catheter through a vein in my groin and map out the electrical circuit of my heart to make an accurate diagnosis and then have heart surgery to correct it.

Frankly, this is freaking me out a little & ticked me off too – I had been informed of the surgery 2 years ago and if I had done it then, I probably would not have had the stroke.

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I have been semi-successfully teaching my affected side some new tricks lately.

For instance, my left hand can now brush my teeth (yeah, yeah, it’s an electric toothbrush!) and it can blow dry my hair (though I never fully blow dry my hair, just get the wet out).

I am trying to teach my left foot to walk more on the instep to strengthen the ankle muscle but I have not been successful at this whatsoever.

I am trying to train my brain to focus and pay attention more, wait, what was I typing? Oh right – yeah, that is going just so-so. biggrin2.gif

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I have been semi-successfully teaching my affected side some new tricks lately.

For instance, my left hand can now brush my teeth (yeah, yeah, it’s an electric toothbrush!) and it can blow dry my hair (though I never fully blow dry my hair, just get the wet out).

I am trying to teach my left foot to walk more on the instep to strengthen the ankle muscle but I have not been successful at this whatsoever.

I am trying to train my brain to focus and pay attention more, wait, what was I typing? Oh right – yeah, that is going just so-so. biggrin2.gif

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Note to self.

Yesterday, May 13, 2006 was my six month “anniversary(?)” of my stroke. I decided to make a timeline of this experience.

Start of November – migraines with blindness
11/11 – TIA at work, visit doctor had “normal” CT scan
11/13 – TIA at 10k starting line, stroke during nap
11/13 – 11/16 – ICU
11/16 – 11/18 – regular hospital
11/18 – 12/1 – rehab hospital (released from hospital on Dec 1st)
11/18 – moved finger – arm came along slowly over the next week
11/20 – dressed myself
12/12 – started to drive automatic transmission (shouldn’t have driven so early, attention span too short)
12/24 – no more quad cane, wanted to walk for Christmas
walking *slowly* improved (still improving)
12/25 – rode tandem bike with hubby
2/15 – rode own bike for a *very* short ride (leg kept falling off pedal)
3/13 – stopped physical therapy – no more visits left
4/1 – started to drive manual transmission (my own car, finally!)
4/25 – SKIPPED!
5/6 – attempted to jog (very ugly and uncoordinated)
5/10 – attempted step aerobics video (still ugly and uncoordinated)

I know that when I look at this list, it seems that I have progressed so far and so fast, I wish it felt that way to me – doctor says that age and health played a large part.

What will my 1 year look like?

What I feel now:

Frustrated at my lack of coordination
Scared that part of my brain is dead. gone forever. never to return.
Terrified at what life will bring at me next. What other health issue will we address? Will I ever graduate with my degree? What will I do with my life? What kind of meaning will my life have to me? to others?

To review November 13, 2006

– Stroke woman

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Frustration

“Pity party for one?”

I am having a heck of a time remaining positive anymore…

I get ladened with thoughts and feelings of bitterness that I have to recover as best I can from something I spent most of my life trying to prevent (watched weight, BP, ate healthy, exercised, didn’t smoke, etc).

Dang it all – I practically preached a healthy way of life. I come from a long line of regreters & I admit that I regret that I didn’t take full advantage of my health the way I should have AND of course I regret not going to the doctors sooner and demanding an MRI when I first went to the doctor with the TIA (transient ischemic attack).

Bloody H-E-double hockey sticks!

pity party over and out.

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Meditation

I have a difficult time going to sleep at night (and a harder time waking up in the morning). So, I have decided to try meditation as a way to calm my mind.

I relax, listen to my breath and picture all of the craziness in my mind being gathered up with the incoming breath and directed out with the outgoing breath. To accomplish this, I needed to picture my mind. My picture resulted in a very quaint and bright attic. It has lovely hardwood floors and hardwood paneling on the wall with windows (like dormers). I see everything swirling around as I breathe in and rush out as I exhale leaving me with a beautifully clean room. As I looked around, I noticed a black rock in the middle of the floor. It was coal. I started to chisel at it and it continued to get bigger (picture an iceberg wherein only the tip is above water but the majority of it is below). I chisel until I fall asleep and the next night – I see what I chiseled and now it is big enough to sit on.

I tried to relay this to a friend who is a meditation guru and she said to leave it alone that it may turn into something valuable.

Like a kid with a scab, I continued to chisel it away. It got huge – the flooring just gives way without a mess (although if there was a mess, I would just breathe it away!). Then there came something that I couldn’t chisel away – it was small, hard, and whitish. I believe that I am beginning to uncover a diamond!

My psychological interpretation, now that I think about it, is that the coal is my ‘self’ after the stroke. It is big, black and ugly. Not the real me and I can’t figure out how to get back to me so I just try to chisel the stroke stuff away. The diamond, I believe, represents the new, post-stroke me. I need to realize that I will never be the way I was before, ever (wow, that is really harsh) and I haven’t accepted that yet. I do think that I am beginning to accept it and uncover how the new me doesn’t necessarily mean a “less me” it just means different.

Dude, that is way deep.

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