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BS: 'Small' Strokes

wysiwyg 26 Jun 08 - 10:51 AM
Bryn Pugh 26 Jun 08 - 11:13 AM
wysiwyg 26 Jun 08 - 11:43 AM
katlaughing 26 Jun 08 - 11:53 AM
Ebbie 26 Jun 08 - 12:40 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Jun 08 - 03:29 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Jun 08 - 03:38 PM
wysiwyg 26 Jun 08 - 03:43 PM
wysiwyg 26 Jun 08 - 03:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Jun 08 - 04:28 PM
wysiwyg 26 Jun 08 - 05:32 PM
Georgiansilver 26 Jun 08 - 05:55 PM
The Fooles Troupe 27 Jun 08 - 10:00 AM
Jack Campin 27 Jun 08 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,WYS at church 27 Jun 08 - 04:55 PM
semi-submersible 27 Jun 08 - 06:11 PM
The Fooles Troupe 28 Jun 08 - 08:47 AM
JohnInKansas 28 Jun 08 - 09:17 AM
Donuel 28 Jun 08 - 09:48 AM
Alice 28 Jun 08 - 10:31 AM
Rapparee 28 Jun 08 - 11:05 PM
catspaw49 28 Jun 08 - 11:30 PM
wysiwyg 29 Jun 08 - 11:10 AM
Mrrzy 29 Jun 08 - 11:41 AM
maeve 29 Jun 08 - 12:31 PM
wysiwyg 29 Jun 08 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,WYS at Ed's 09 Jul 08 - 11:45 AM
wysiwyg 11 Sep 08 - 10:04 AM
maeve 11 Sep 08 - 10:35 AM
katlaughing 11 Sep 08 - 10:50 AM
wysiwyg 11 Sep 08 - 11:39 AM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Sep 08 - 10:14 PM
Hawker 12 Sep 08 - 06:23 PM
wysiwyg 12 Sep 08 - 06:45 PM
M.Ted 12 Sep 08 - 11:08 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Sep 08 - 11:24 PM
wysiwyg 13 Sep 08 - 11:15 PM
wysiwyg 18 Sep 08 - 12:24 PM
wysiwyg 02 Oct 08 - 11:06 AM
Bee 02 Oct 08 - 01:17 PM
wysiwyg 02 Oct 08 - 09:34 PM
Bee 02 Oct 08 - 09:41 PM
wysiwyg 02 Oct 08 - 09:54 PM
katlaughing 03 Oct 08 - 12:20 AM
wysiwyg 03 Oct 08 - 08:52 AM
wysiwyg 03 Oct 08 - 05:31 PM
wysiwyg 06 Oct 08 - 04:00 PM
wysiwyg 07 Oct 08 - 03:14 PM
wysiwyg 07 Oct 08 - 05:02 PM
Georgiansilver 08 Oct 08 - 04:43 AM

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Subject: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 10:51 AM

Like the "small" housefire we had in 2000, when it comes to some things there's no such thing as "small." But I am grateful that the ones I had were, um... so clearly delineated. :~)

For the last 2 years I've been bothered by some changes in mental function and mood that I could not account for by "mere" aging, and as time went on these were bothering me more and more. I could feel and see differences.... it was increasingly lonely that no one else really could... and there were several scary possibilities I decided I'd better check out. So I went to see the good "new" doc to get a CAT scan (or whatever) ordered.

I'm grateful to know it wasn't early Alzheimer's, or a brain tumor, or the delayed noticing of damage from 6 or 7 good hard concussions I'd had in my 20's, or a new wrinkle on brain chemistry. I was sorry to learn though that it wasn't just the "cottonheaded" thinking of perimenopause, but then I knew that since the peri had ended and the cotton head remained. And no, it wasn't mental skills atrophying from under-use.

It WAS the result of the logical and definite decision I'd made to get off the BP meds that were, literally, killing me, even if I stroked out. I'm on all-new meds now that do me no harm at all (except financially), and it was quite the reward to find these meds AND the new doc some of you have heard more about. But it was 3 (maybe 4) strokes in three different places, each of which accounts for a piece of the new mind I've been operating. (LOVE learning about brain anatomy!)

And you know what, it was totally WORTH it to have them, to get the life I have now. I'm being remade, again, and that has ALWAYS been a good thing.


I can spot at least three of the strokes in time with things that seemed odd which I described at the time (most of it to friends here). These occurred during a year, a time of inhuman pressure Hardi and I endured, plus an injury that stopped my pool workouts for a time, plus the implementation of the new meds with the new doc. For awhile I was in a high-risk situation and, amazingly, I have very few serious longterm consequences.

I'm learning a lot more about the "stroke thinking" that my dear late friend John Whitney had in his last year (the year I spent so much time "helping" him).

I'm sorting out what effects I've had so I can rehab them smartly.

For instance my handwriting and some other fine-motor skills that depend on left-right orientaiton are goofy but can be made to work right with strict mental attention to them. But my typing is magically less typo'd with the transposed letters I've had as a habit for years. I miss letters, but they are in the right order, usually. Innit funny?

I use the wrong word often, but my lifelong desire for accuracy in communication means that I hear them and correct them most of the time (self-absorbed as ever).

I lack a few memories (half the plot of some movies for example), but what I care about is in there and findable if I relax and let myself come to it a bit more slowly and/or sideways.

If I start the day "right" (for me) I mostly adjust, cope, and accommodate well all day long, but if I start off running into the frustrations head on, the brain chem all day is not my friend. I'm learning what "right" means for me-- it's all different for now-- and how to abort a bad day when I fall into it.

You'll see some posts exemplifying all of this and sometimes, as always, I'll probably seem to be trying out for "Chief A**hole." Oh well! Live and learn, as always. I find it helpful that this is not a choice-- we ALL live and learn whether we do it intentionally and efficiently, or not. [shrug}

(I'm having a good day today. I hope you are, too.)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 11:13 AM

Hugs, WYSIWYG - hope things continue to go well for you.

I am not normally a devotee of alternative medicine. I have been on BP med since 1977. There is , I believe a preparation derived from buckwheat which is said to be of help in high blood pressure, but I have not tried it meself.

May the Great Mother and the All Father comfort you. So mote it be.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 11:43 AM

(ANOTHER corrected post)


Hi, good BP. :~)

I'll look into that if it spikes again, but I'm good for now.

It's so much better now that I KNOW!

Another effect-- I forget to plan things that are not immediately on my mind-- simple things like thawing something in the AM for dinner in the PM. I'm also becoming more aware just how beautiful Hardi has been in the way he watches my back-- he never used to ask, in the AM, what dinner would be. Dinner just happened, and it was always a nice surprise. But this AM I realized he'd just incorporated it into the "what are YOU planning to do today" that's become a nice daily AM routine focusing us both on our day's intentions, and making a context for "how did YOUR day go" later in the day. I don't exactly need minute-by-minute reminders, but a structure where each thing prompts the next in the series intended, that works.

Cleansing tears looking at the upside, in the midst of a frustrated feeling, spur the re-wiring and spotting/using good coping mechanisms. Another help has been making sleep a real daily priority instead of an occasional luxury, balanced by tiny doses of caffeine through the day up to about 4PM.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 11:53 AM

Well, good for you, for persevering. That does explains some incongruities, doesn't it?!

I know what you mean about the BP meds. For several years, I had been complaining of itching, but it was never full-blown and we weren't sure if it were meds or not. Last fall, we finally started experimenting, when I insisted, after trying everything else I could think of...shampoos, soaps, foods. We found two new meds which I've been on since and they do a tremendous job. The others didn't even keep my BP down in a consistent manner and we knew I was allergic to most of the ones which came before. The new meds are more expensive, but worth it.

All the best for you on this new journey of discovery, Susan.

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 12:40 PM

Susan - and kat - I always admire people who are in tune with their own systems and bodies and am frequently amazed at their perceptiveness. I don't seem to do that. Congratulations to the both of you(se). :)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 03:29 PM

Years ago I was told that I'd had a small stroke, affecting my vision and causing a major headache. I learned a few years ago that it was a misdiagnosis. What I'd experienced was "discotomata," a type of migraine. I'd carefully made choices all of my adult life based upon that misdiagnosis. They may not have been bad choices, but it made things more difficult along the way.

And think--that stuff like losing half the plot of movies--means they'll be new to you next time you see them! Think of the possibilities! ;-)

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 03:38 PM

For an interesting discussion of the big strokes, you might want to listen to the June 25, 2008 episode of Fresh Air.

    Neurological researcher Jill Bolte Taylor suffered a stroke 12 years ago. While a stroke is often devastating and sometimes fatal, Taylor was able to make a complete recovery after becoming her own experimental subject.

    Her new book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, recounts her experience.

    Taylor is a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist. She was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008.

    She is currently affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.


SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 03:43 PM

Thanks both of you, and Kat, yes it does, dunnit?

I cannot reinforce enough how willing I was to leave this earth if the meds could not be solved, and according to the docs I had available to me at the time, they were doing their best to solve that to no avail. They gave me more and more of what made me sick, and I got sicker and sicker, and the BP never did really come down anyway. Duh, wrong meds!!!!!

I'm not even on really high doeses of the 3 things I take now! And yes, they were available at the time, and my research promised they'd probably have the same side effects, and the docs didn't care to try them or have the brains to add one really cool med the new doc added from a different class altogether..... but the ultimately cool thing was that the new doc believed in me and trusted my self-assessments-- and didn't toss me in the hospital instead of letting me run my ass off in the pool.

One stroke (probably one of the bigger ones) happened in and at the pool, in fact, and when I told the doc about the event at the time, he just grinned and said, "You know, we put most people in the hospital for that." I replied something to the effect that when I started foaming at the mouth, he could certainly trust me to admit myself one way or another. Of course the pool was 2 blocks from the local ER, the staff had notice of my condition, etc. etc., and a lifeguard friend was on duty the day it happened and sat with me as the BP spike dropped.... I was carrying my meter all the time then.

But by the time I met that new doc, I had sworn NOTHING was going to interrupt a good healthy activity level, period. PERIOD! That simple! To become my doc he had to sign onto that as the main indicator guiding EVERYthing else. Headache from adjusting to BP pills, fine. Upset tummy, diarrhea, fine if it didn't keep me out of the pool. Leg muscles quit pumping, NOPE.

I mean, the stereotypes about hypertensives are so strong ("they will lie and cheat to get out of taking their meds") that I had to put my foot down that hard, and I was so sick at the time that I meant it. I know all about dying, and I ain't especially afraid of it.

Living is nice too and I'm happy to be here, but I would absolutely do it again if needful. (I'd also love to have the malpractice bucks I could probably get, but I'm too busy LIVING to take that fight on.)
I prefer to maintain a very short sh*t-list, and anyone who could have helped and didn't, is on it.

But-- the doc who most blew it with me? She herself has had to learn a few things about personal health.... karma is a bitch, innit? I forgave her.... She contracted an illness that mimics MS and had to learn to walk all over again. I outrun her. Now she makes a very fine gynie-doc and helps supply the meds the other doc found for me, from the sample stash her practice allows her to stockpile.

The new doc is leaving the area next week. I'm keeping him though-- having also found a free overnight stop halfway there. These things have a way of working out sometimes.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 03:46 PM

SRS, cross-posted. Thanks! And yes, There's Something About Mary was a riot last night all over again! I'd forgotten the whole middle of the movie!!! Not until it was over did I recall that I HAD known that part of the movie.

If only the Pens had won a Stanley Cup during the blocked-out time, I could enjoy those games all over again but alas, the games I have, I know they lost so many of them. Oh well!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 04:28 PM

Upset tummy, diarrhea, fine if it didn't keep me out of the pool. . .

Er . . . ah . . . we know what you mean, Susan, but please head for the ladder if you feel the trots coming on. . .


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 05:32 PM

LOL, silly. When it's meds-caused, it's time-predictable. One learns to... manage. :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 26 Jun 08 - 05:55 PM

I had a Transient Ischemic attack in 1986...and have been on meds ever since, to make sure the blood pressure stays down....there are some side effects but the pills work. I suffered loss of memory at the time and have trouble with short term memory still...but like you Susan...glad I'm here...and the body is only temporary so I guess I'd best make good use of it.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 10:00 AM

I have many of the symptoms that WYSIWYG describes in post one at times - at age 40 I discovered that I had MMD since birth... Things have not been helped by what seems to have been a couple of micro strokes in the last few years...

It was described to me that I spent so much time when young making my brain using other circuitry, that I compensate, except perhaps when very tired.

Interestingly about movies, after being put on the happy pills, I discovered that many movies were often far more boring than I remembered them being... seems that my brain was no longer spinning its wheels, so now I am just watching what is acually happening instead of constantly planning out other optional story paths while watching... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 11:48 AM

www.acronymfinder.com says MMD is Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy (Monday Morning Disease seems a bit unlikely).

How does that affect the brain?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: GUEST,WYS at church
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 04:55 PM

I dunno but I am looking for micro-caffeine tabs. I cut the No-Doz in half but it's scored-- dunno if I could find a 1/4 size.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: semi-submersible
Date: 27 Jun 08 - 06:11 PM

Does the caffeine have to be pharmaceutical? If it's safe in your circumstances to experiment, I'd look at tea, chocolate, and coffee or cocoa beans, broken into appropriate-sized pieces to give you the effects you need (using a precision scale to provide consistent dosage). Cocoa beans are quite delightful raw, and bitter but enjoyable roasted. (Roasted whole cocoa beans taste good chewed with almonds or hazelnuts.) Try a health food or specialty food store.

Since food isn't standardised, you might need to experiment with the dosage again each time you buy a new batch. Pills would be easier and more reliable, if they deliver what you need.

Good luck,
Maureen


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 08:47 AM

You can buy roasted coffee beans covered in chocolate...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 09:17 AM

I cut the No-Doz in half but it's scored-- dunno if I could find a 1/4 size.

Your pharmacist can sell you a "pill splitter" that will allow you to split even the tiniest of pills, scored or not. Shouldn't cost you more than about $1 (US), and easier and much more accurate than an oridnary knife or even a razor blade.

I have one pill that's less than 1/8" x 3/16" x 1/16" (30mm x 45mm x 15 mm) that I have to split to take half of one per day. It's a nuisance to have to go through the bottle and split them all, but buying the "correct" size pills almost doubles the net cost.

Some pills, mostly "timed release" or "extended release" types, shouldn't be split, but most of the common ones can be.

Note that the lower cost for larger pills that you split is usually the case but you should check before purchasing a bunch, since sometimes the "twice as big" pill actually costs more than twice as much as the size you want.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Donuel
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 09:48 AM

Are we discussing TIA here? Transient Eschemic Attack
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4781

All I know for myself is that I consider coffee a necessary drug.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Alice
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 10:31 AM

Small strokes seem to be pretty common. I've had aphasia and upper motor neuron syndrome and it is scary to know that small strokes have happened in my brain. Take care.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 11:05 PM

My brother had a "small stroke" about 18 months back and lost some of his peripheral vision on the right side. He's coping fine now, but it was frightening to him at the time.

My wife (who has trouble swallowing due to throat surgery) and I think that pills are made larger than necessary, especially if its a generic, so you think you're getting enough medicine ("Bigger is better").


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 11:30 PM

Amazing story Susan..............truly. I am so happy you are handling this so well.......I'd expect nothing less. All my best your way.....but you knew that.

'Course basically and at the crux of the matter is that you're fucked up to begin with................................

Pat


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 11:10 AM

There's my Pat. :~) Of course you're right. (Warren Zevon would have loved my doc.)

TIA here? Transient Eschemic Attack

Transient means the effects go away. Ischemic means clot-caused = clot causes cessation of O2. (Other type is hemmorhagic(Sp?!?!) = brain bleed.) My types were Ischemic and the one identified-at-the-time episode had been thought to be Transient (or TIA), but ain't. Thus these also involved a larger number of cells. A TIA is a brain fart. (A type of brain fart.) In a stroke the brain goes ahead and sh*ts itself. It turns out you can never trust a brain fart, either, apparently. ;~)

I completely trust my brain to rewire itself, but it takes a dance I am still learning.


Another effect: when my computer goes on the fritz I can't think my way through the possible issues, but if I shut it the F down for a couple of days a few more ideas come to me and I can relaxedly take another run at seeing where the problem may be.

Brain at the moment is doing better than puder (as usual), so I'm fine but I'm offline a lot more these days.


JiK: Can I just plug the new external HD into my head? If so I can have the techie transfer all the files I was in the middle of moving when the puder got mad, and boogie on. :~)

Alice: YEAH. (((Alice)))

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 11:41 AM

Excellent, WYSIWYG! Good to hear you're listening to yourself (I listen to you, too, BTW...) - and even at our ages, our brains are still very plastic, and continued improvement ought to be the music of the day...

XOXOXO


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: maeve
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 12:31 PM

Reminds me of my migraine episodes, Susan. Thinking of you- as well as listening to you. :)

maeve


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 12:37 PM

Thanks, dears..... (Mrr, I did figure out finally that you're listening, LOL)

BTW this sheds new light on a recent (?) thread on Waking Up Smart.... :~)


I thought my pill-splitter would crush the halved caff tabs, but although they made various sizes, they did split pretty well... and I FORGOT I like plain iced tea in the summer! Need to drink more water anyway, duh! :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: GUEST,WYS at Ed's
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 11:45 AM

Brain fine, puder at techie's. By the time it gets back we'll be ion vacay; I'll check in as I can from here, and there.

Caff program working well.

ANother odd effect (upside) is that problem-solving that used to take weeks now goes from idea to solution to implementation, boom. I had really been chasing my tail trying to "think" through various practical challenges. Now I "see" a solution as soon as I relax, and it's done, successfully, within the day. This is not just the caff-- been going on since perimenopause hormones settled down-- but I find I'm relying in it more and more and it's part of my new "wiring."

One neat solution is a new portable autoharp stand that fits, along with everything else for solo gigging, into a lightweight cart. I have not been this portable since I started playing-- had to wait till laptops became the norm and a minimalist laptop stand jumped out at me one day.

Another great thing in process now is a travel set of accessibility/accommodative stuff that used to take a whole trunk, and now will fit into a pull-along bag (small enmough to fit under an airplane seat).

This all will mean that if the puder is dead, oh well. I have a nice old laptop case presently holding my 2 external hard drives.

It's all about lightweight portability. I must be headed somewhere. Can't wait to see where, why, and what. :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 10:04 AM

I mentioned a recent concern in a few other threads, so I thought I'd post the update here. I got my new glasses yesterday. They appear to have resolved all the vision problems I had been having, after a severe eyestrain I experienced when we got back from vacay. So, they were not stroke-related.

Since I was already doing everything I can do to take good care of myself, it was silly to worry (which I did). What will be, will be.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: maeve
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 10:35 AM

Good news about the vision solution, Susan. I know I'll find many visual tasks will become easier when I can get new glasses.

Keep telling us of your many victories!

maeve


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 10:50 AM

Good!!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 11:39 AM

The following rambles quite a bit.


The vision issue had been vertigo and difficulty controlling focus leading to more vertigo. L and R eyes seemed to be trying different focal lengths to see fixed objects at a distance. In the past this had been corrected by prismatic lenses. This time to eye doc said he thought it might also involve something else.

My brilliant mind has sorted it all out, I think. Taking ALL the variables and phenomena into consideration and adding the new specs to the coping strategies I'd adopted while waiting for them, here's what I think happened.

On vacation, I did notice that the distance vision, driving, was getting blurry. I think the vacay vision was fine otherwise because I wasn't trying to see anything and I wasn't watching TV at all. I was just being and doing. The doc sez that bright light can improve vision because the pupils constrict and thus it's like looking thru a pinhole-- the retina has a smaller field to process, sort of. That's why we squint when we can't see well-- to narrow the view.

Anyway, we came back from vacay and things seemed fine except a tad blurry-- happens every year when it's time for new specs.

Then the new wide-screen TV we'd bought before we left was supplemented, a few days after our return, by a new DVR and new cable package. Great stuff! I over-indulged. No TV on vacay, and now this lovely thingful of movies. Vacay had softened my heart in some areas and the movies I was choosing allowed for some good therapeutic boo-hooing in those softer areas. So because I know that this kind of tears is good for us, I was now sitting and looking, with a fixed gaze, at one distance in particular.

The vertigo began. But so many other things were also going on as we got back into harness IRL that I wasn't sure WHAT was causing it. All I knew was, vertigo last year had been instantly banished by prisms in my glasses, so I went with that.


With stroke symptoms, they always wanna know-- did this begin suddenly? If so it may be a stroke. And if they know you have HAD a few, they think EVERYTHING must be another one, and they may not ask the right questions to locate other "new" things that also were happening at that time.

I think I merely sprained my eyes at a time when the distance prescription had gone off just far enough for my brain to stop working with the prisms.


But it was worrying-- it got so bad that at night, when I closed my eyes, at bedtime, if I pictured anything in my mind-- anything I thought of visually as opposed to abstractly-- there would be the vertigo again. It was very hard to assume anything other than stroke when closing my eyes didn't make the spinning stop....

BUT this day and night vertigo was sporadic, not all the time. It seemed I could do something to affect it, if I could only relax enough to think of variables and observe correctly what happend with each change in variables. So I decided to trust my brain and let it process itself toward a solution.

I noticed, as a passenger in the van, that if I looked ahead I could not focus, everything got spinny, and I mentally howled like a cat in a car. But if I looked to the nearer scenery, about 30 feet, all was calm. At home, same thing-- glancing between near and far, or looking out the window, vertigo. Sticking with a calm gaze at 30 feet was fine. At the pool, gazing across the narrow pool, vertigo. Gazing down the lengths, fine. Hm..... so I stopped looking too near or too far, as I waited for the new glasses.

I stopped spending more than an hour in front of the TV, limited Mudcat staring, stopped driving (because it requires frequent changes in focal length), and..... tried to wait patiently for the "rush job" on the specs. During this time the vertigo lessened and lessened and lessened. I think it was the TV-induced eyestrain diminishing, plus the gradual re-strengthneeing of eye muscles to handle TV time, plus the new way of looking at certain distances only.

I assumed that the prisms needed a change AND that the distance prescription needed to be stronger. Doc said, no, just the distance. That was the source of his worry.

But when he put the proposed prescription on me at the office to look around with, I tried everything I could to make the vertigo come back while wearing them. Couldn't get anything to spin. And every time I had experienced the vertigo, as long as I ignored it, I could walk with perfect balance. I just had to treat it as non-significant information.

With my mind screaming, "Yer gonna FALL......" "No," I replied, "I am NOT. There is nothing spinning at all. Just WALK. STEP down those stairs, DO IT. Look farther away, or pretend we're blind."


It may be that a previous stroke left my brain more vulnerable to vertigo. It may be that therefore, the margin of error between distance scrip and prisms is narrower than it is for other people, and that the eye doc doesn't know enough about that.


It doesn't matter. What matters is that prayer and patience got me through a hard time while I trusted myself to live, and live well. And that I am already doing everything that can be done to reduce stroke risk.

It's quite an odd thing to tell your own brain to shut the F up! :~) But I'm in charge here-- not the brain, and it's gonna have to behave!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 10:14 PM

Just noticed in the last few days that an area of my left arm, the outside of the narrow part of the palm from the fingers up to just above the wrist feels permanently different (when I rub my fingers along there) to the other side- slightly numb - no recent noticeable 'traumatic' episode to link with it... no noticeable effect on any other mobility issues fortunately.

Sigh... Better get that coffin measured...

:-)

I had enormous hassle (vertigo, inability to focus after a few minutes, etc) for years with being unable to use my glasses - to exactly the same prescription as my contact lenses - for 2 decades. The new optometrist agreed that since the glasses had astigmatism correction that the contact lenses didn't, maybe that was the cause of the hassle - the brain freaking out with the minor focusing changes. Needed new frames anyway recently - so he agreed that leaving out the astigmnatism correction was worth a try.

Problem instantly and permanently solved!

Even though their 'training' seems to teach that the correction SHOULD be in the glasses anyway - I used to wear the lenses for a greater proportion of time than the glasses - it seems that my eye/brain system copes better without the correction factor at all. Now I can swap from one to the other without any hassle - though the glasses are deliberately designed to allow closer focusing for 'round the house' and the contacts better for distance for driving.

Dunno how relevant to you that could be Susan! :-)

I do agree with your "I just had to treat it as non-significant information". That seems to be the trick to help rewire the beastie...

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Hawker
Date: 12 Sep 08 - 06:23 PM

I too have had 2 TIAs or mini strokes, the first about 3 years ago, it took a year to get the brain scan that showed the result I knew before they diagnosed it, I didnt go to the doctors for a week sfate it happened as I knew what had happened and was somewhat scared! Sounds silly but it worked out OK for me. Found myself saying totally the wrong word (often replacing it with something hilarious and out of context) when I Knew whatt I wanted to say. I also often do the You know.... and try to mime the word I am looking for, the kids find this higly entertaining.
my hands didnt work properly for about a week, and when I am tired, I know, because my fingers become useless!
The second rendered me speechless for about an hour, which was frightening, it was a week after my dad died and again I refrained from going to the doctor for 24 hours.
I am fine, have no real problems, High BP and arthritis, but there are a lot worse, so I consider myself very lucky.
Kat that was interesting, I take antihistamines to stop the insane itching that I suffer from as a result of the meds I am taking, as my GP will not take me off the meds, as I am 'stable' at the moment, it works for me but means popping another pill!
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Sep 08 - 06:45 PM

FT, that hand thing could well be carpal tunnel. Suggest you check it out.

Lucy, hope things stay well settled for you.

Thanks to you both for your shared experiences.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Sep 08 - 11:08 PM

Susan--I missed this thread the first time around--I'm sorry to hear about your troubles, but I'm glad that you're dealing with them with persistence and good humor. Accelerated problem-solving ability is a benefit from central nervous system trauma that has been observed in the past--it seems to open up the creative channels--you give a little and you get a little, as they say--

Take care.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Sep 08 - 11:24 PM

I had CT in he right arms decades ago - not been doing much with my left hand (No Comments Please!) like then.

I suspect it may be a pinched nerve somewhere - I have had some cramp like feelings in the 3 middle fingers left hand - and the degree of numbness seems to vary at times. I also have had neck problems - the siteof teh pinch could be anywhere in the path...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Sep 08 - 11:15 PM

Thanks, M.Ted. Hope things have been well with you.

FT, yes... do check all that out.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 12:24 PM

The vertigo is back, but (whew) I just had a short surprise chat with my wonderful doc (DO internist). I was phoning to ask what tests he might want me to get, here, before traveling to his new location (downstate). But instead of the nurse I requested, he came on the line himself to give me some sh*t. (I gave it right back; it's mutually diagnostic, LOL.)

In a quick but thorough interrogation (health history uipdate), he established that it does not sound to him like a new stroke, and I got some instructions on the local doc's visit planned for early next week.

BIG RELIEF.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 11:06 AM

When you show up for a Brain MRI to rule out a brain tumor, they really look atcha funny when you calmly hand over a CT scan report detailing strokes. Even the machine operators are not really wired for calm intelligence from patients. I wanted the MRI reader to have the report for reference, because of course I love the idea that if there has been a new stroke, I definitely have a baseline from which to date it. And I love the clearer detail on the older strokes, for the use of my main doc.

But I straightened him out before I left. I decided humor would improve his affect and perhaps loosen him up for the next lucky patient-- cuz he had done a good (if sort of freaked out) job.

As I gathered my things: "I'm sure you've heard this a million times, or maybe people just think it but don't say it-- it really IS just like being a tampon, getting shoved and held in that tight tube!"

No, he responded, he'd never heard THAT one. But I know it will stay in his mind. :~) I once called a gynie a muff diver. He never did get rid of it, he happily reported.


The doc who ordered this MRI has no idea about the earlier strokes. She's in for a big surprise when she gets her report.


MRIs are no fun, unless you make them fun. As soon as they slid me into the tube, I knew I had two choices of viewpoint: "Either I'm in God's firm and loving grip, or I am in King Kong's teeth and I am soon to be ravished and crushed." Obiviously I chose the former, and spent my 14 minutes meditating on how pointedly He has been directing my every step since the news of the strokes. "And now I want you right here, doing this," He said. "Just imagine how detailed a look you'll have of your wonderful, amazing brain."


Whatever! I am still sure this is positional vertigo-- the vibration of the machine-sound made one ear bonkers for an hour afterwards. and now I know which ear is affected. But I have also noticed in the last few days that bright FS light seems to help whatever is causing this issue-- another useful link to why this reared its ugly head when we got back from bright-sunny vacay to the darkened TV room.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Bee
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 01:17 PM

I hope things continue to improve, Susan. With the history of stroke among the women in my family, I will not be surprised to have these experiences someday.

Although, on the subject of the occasional premature diagnosis: my Mom was thought to be having TIAs at one point, but their origin was mysterious. It turned out her thyroid was so enlarged that when she turned her head a certain way, the gland pressed against her carotid artery, cutting bloodflow to the brain and causing her to pass out, and be so addled when she regained consciousness that she would have garbled speech for several hours.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 09:34 PM

Wow, Bee!

.... just got a voicemail from my doc-- she sez I have spots on my brain and next step is neuro to rule out MS.

WTF?

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Bee
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 09:41 PM

All I can offer is my good wishes, Susan - and that 'ruling out' is a good aim - diagnosis is an art as well as a science, I think. Try not to worry, though I know it's very hard.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 09:54 PM

Thanks, Bee, and for your quick response, too.

Uh..... yeah, really just sorta on hold at the WTF stage. My main doc got a copy of the MRI report-- I should get my own copy tomorrow-- I'll call his office in the AM and see where he wants me to do it.

I've been wanting to see a neuro anyway, to discuss how what-all I've been experiencing overall is related to which part of the brain-- just for curiosity's sake, really. So now I have a reason to see one that the insurance will cover-- to that extent, it's all good. And I know a fair amount about MS-- I know that rapid diagnosis is the ideal but rare, so if that is my thing, this fast-track is not a bad thing.

But I think I'll just let that WTF linger till the AM-- as my doc said after the stroke reports, I'm already doing everything I need to be doing.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 12:20 AM

Deep breaths and keep us informed as you are able and want to, please, Susan. Just remember, too, they can be wrong and things can change. You are held in the loving arms of your God and I know you are watched over. (I know you know this, too.:-) I am giving thanks for your complete and immediate healing. I give thanks for this or something better for the highest good of all concerned. So mote it be!

love,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 08:52 AM

Check. Doing really well, actually.

Thanks, friend.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 05:31 PM

Today was one of those days that, when I look back on them later, I see quite clearly where this persistent notion came from, that I am actually the only person who can be in charge of my own healthcare-- not any doctor, nurse, practice group, or healthcare system. In my younger years I suspected it, but I rebelled against it. Today I can just remind myself that a phone call billed as "urgent"-- that never came-- maybe isn't really so urgent.

See, on the one hand there is a mountainous pile of potential worry and "Gotta Do Something Now!" On the other hand there is quite a large pile of historically solid Benign Reality. Today, so far, I did most of the things I had planned to do, and didn't notice any serious obstacle to doing them. (Enter Scarlett O'Hara in hoopskirts.)


So it's up to me to decide:

<> whether to take it personally that my call didn't come, from the one doc I picked to be my main guy after years of really abysmal rural health care, and assume it's a case of more lousy healthcare--

or

<> whether to assume that the doc had read the MRI report and just hadn't been so worried that he felt the need to set aside over-booked patients, hospital rounds, and a first baby due any minute at home, to call me.


.... And the docs wonder why we end up taking responsibility for ourselves and not treating them like the Gods they used to be able to pretend they were! They went out of the "I'm God" business a long, long time ago. :~) The job was open-- so I took it.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Oct 08 - 04:00 PM

I'm really starting to think of these "small strokes" as God's Brain Surgery. I remember praying to get rid of most of the things that seem to be gone, and I don't miss them a bit. I just spent a lovely fall afternoon, rocking in my porch recliner and then marking some treelings to keep when he mows, converting all the worries into gratitudes. One of the best days of my life! I wish Hardi were here to share it-- he's out gallivanting my MIL around in the fall foliage.

With a coupla hundred bucks worth of the filet mignon I'm waiting to divide up for the freezer, and the eggs that will make all the thawed ground beef into meatloaf, aaarghhhhh!

There's so much that I can do now, that I love to do! So I'm doing it!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 03:14 PM

... and I'm glad I did, because the "new worries" have been deferred by my great doc: I'll see the neuro of his choice around the first of the year.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 05:02 PM

Where I got referred is part of this: http://www.planetree.org/

Very cool-- patient empowerment model.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Small' Strokes
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 04:43 AM

Thoughts and prayers continue........


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