Stroke

Posted by mkf1 @mkf1, Mar 20, 2016

Stroke

Hello,

I am a retired female veteran who served her country in the United States
Air Force. I had a career with them, made the rank of Chief Master Sergeant
(E-9), which by law may only be attained by 1% of the enlisted force,
served 30 years, and was a Bioenvironmental Engineer. I retired in 2008.
Nine

months later I had a stroke which affected my right side. It was ischemic
and lacunar. I have still not recovered from the effects of this stroke,
although I have been in Physical and Occupational Therapy for the last 6
years. To challenge myself I attended Columbia Southern University online
and got a Bachelor’s in Science, specializing in Environmental Management
with a 3.4 GPA, after the stroke.

Prior to my stroke I had been diagnosed with Subclavian Steal syndrome on
my right side – a condition in which the main artery feeding the arm is
occluded, leading to weakness and discomfort in the arm. In order to
strengthen my right arm, I underwent surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center
in San Antonio, Texas in June 2011. Because of complications that arose
during and after surgery, I found myself in their ICU, apoxic and eventually
intubated. I lost part of my frontal lobe, leading to loss of critical
thinking skills, poor impulse control, inability to concentrate and aphasia.
I have made some progress in regaining my cognitive abilities. I now live in
Bastrop, Texas.

I am not able to use the phone so if you would just use my email I would
appreciate it.

I have been trying Veterans Administration but have gotten nowhere.

I did find a resource at Baylor Rehabilitation located in Dallas Tx for both
my stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury.

I really need this and I have tried the Veterans Administration without any
luck.

Your help in this matter would really be appreciated.

I have suffered child abuse and sexual abuse from my Dad and his father.
The abuse will be addressed at Baylor also.

@mlmcg

I had both strokes while I was in the hospital and I do not remember either one. I was told that a doctor was with we when I had my first ischemic stroke. When I saw the paperwork, much later, it said "Coma, Ischemic". If I were in a coma that is why I have no memory of the strokes. I remember waking up with my right hand in a fist and trouble moving my right side. I know that I had to get rid of the fist, I also knew that I had had a stroke. I do not remember if I had heard someone say I had a stroke or I just knew. My mother had died from a stroke, and I like learning, so I learned what I could about strokes after she died. I was able to work on the fist and got my fingers to straighten out, then I had another ischemic stroke and found my right hand in a fist again. It did not take as long to get my fingers to straighten out. All this was done "undercover" so no one knew how hard I worked.

I knew that I had to work to recover from my strokes, and I still have more work to do. My balance is not good so I use a walker. I plan on using the walker in public for a long time. People are less likely to bump into me. When I am around people who know I have had the 2 strokes I am comfortable to leave the walker behind, but not very far away. When shopping I use the cart as my walker and can pick up the items I want. The cart is between me and the people so they are not going to bump into me. I always have someone with me and they want to help so I let them do somethings, but I have to do some of the work or I will not improve.

Thank you for the list of items about strokes. I do not have time to look at them now and may not tomorrow but I will this week.
mlmcg

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I finally was able to follow up on your Aug 29th posting and read the suggestions you posted, Colleen. Life does happen and sometimes gets in the way so I was unable to read your postings as soon as I wanted. I did not realize just how far I have come, in the almost 4 years, since I had my strokes. I no longer have to use one finger to type. I can use both hands now, still look at the keyboard, and I do not always use the correct fingers but I am getting much better. Most words I have to spell, in my head, then try to remember where the keys are on the keyboard.

I have noticed that "thinking" requires more energy than "doing". Every time I spend more time using the keyboard my body wants to take a nap. I also find that I am reading more then falling asleep with a book on my lap, or should I say waking up with a book on my lap. Because I do not blink is much as I once did my eyes dry out so I keep eye drops by the computer. (My eyes were burning the doctor said that my eyes were dry and to use eye drops as needed.)

Walking is one of the things I do not do as much as I should. I use my walker outside and will for a while. There are too many bumps, cracks, pebbles and twigs in my way. Most can cause me to stop abruptly especially when I do not see them. Yes, I have both walkers – one that is heavy with larger wheels and brakes, while the other one is lighter, folds up smaller and does not have brakes. Getting anything up and down 4 steps that is heavy and cumbersome is very hard if you are female and will over 60. I am not a shopper, never have been, but the best place to walk, with a walker, is in a big store with wide and clean eisles. People are willing to give you more room when you are in a chair or using a walker or cane, even if you do not have to use them at home. That is why I use my walker when I am out and about.

If anyone is willing to share their experiences of living with a stroke I would enjoy reading what you have to say. If we are able to help others on how to live with a stroke then we are doing our job. I know that is why I had my strokes, you can only share what you know about living with a stroke if you are living with a stroke. Thank you.

mlmcg

REPLY
@emgold2013

Yes, I am a high functioning stroke victim. I had my stroke about 1 1/2 years ago. I was also born with Cerebral Palsy. If you need daily assistance, contact your local United Way information and referral service, call a local In Hpme Assistance Agency, or ask your doctor for a referral. Assuming that you have insurance, contact your insurance company and ask for an evaluation for personal assistance.

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Hi, @emgold2013 – like @mlmcg said, you must be very determined to function with cerebral palsy and with having a stroke, and I'd congratulate you also. You bring hope and encouragement to others who have gone through either of these medical conditions.

I'm wondering if you would share a bit more about your recovery process from your stroke?

REPLY
@mlmcg

I finally was able to follow up on your Aug 29th posting and read the suggestions you posted, Colleen. Life does happen and sometimes gets in the way so I was unable to read your postings as soon as I wanted. I did not realize just how far I have come, in the almost 4 years, since I had my strokes. I no longer have to use one finger to type. I can use both hands now, still look at the keyboard, and I do not always use the correct fingers but I am getting much better. Most words I have to spell, in my head, then try to remember where the keys are on the keyboard.

I have noticed that "thinking" requires more energy than "doing". Every time I spend more time using the keyboard my body wants to take a nap. I also find that I am reading more then falling asleep with a book on my lap, or should I say waking up with a book on my lap. Because I do not blink is much as I once did my eyes dry out so I keep eye drops by the computer. (My eyes were burning the doctor said that my eyes were dry and to use eye drops as needed.)

Walking is one of the things I do not do as much as I should. I use my walker outside and will for a while. There are too many bumps, cracks, pebbles and twigs in my way. Most can cause me to stop abruptly especially when I do not see them. Yes, I have both walkers – one that is heavy with larger wheels and brakes, while the other one is lighter, folds up smaller and does not have brakes. Getting anything up and down 4 steps that is heavy and cumbersome is very hard if you are female and will over 60. I am not a shopper, never have been, but the best place to walk, with a walker, is in a big store with wide and clean eisles. People are willing to give you more room when you are in a chair or using a walker or cane, even if you do not have to use them at home. That is why I use my walker when I am out and about.

If anyone is willing to share their experiences of living with a stroke I would enjoy reading what you have to say. If we are able to help others on how to live with a stroke then we are doing our job. I know that is why I had my strokes, you can only share what you know about living with a stroke if you are living with a stroke. Thank you.

mlmcg

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What a wonderful reply, @mlmcg. It was well worth the wait. 🙂 It is always good to take a moment to look back and see how far one has come. You write so well that I can actually picture how your typing technique has improved or you walking confidently in store aisles and people giving the walker wide berth. I'm also not a shopper, but alas that is what I must do this afternoon.

Mlmcg, I also like your call for others to share their stroke recovery successes, setbacks and persistence. I'd like to hear from others too.

REPLY
@colleenyoung

What a wonderful reply, @mlmcg. It was well worth the wait. 🙂 It is always good to take a moment to look back and see how far one has come. You write so well that I can actually picture how your typing technique has improved or you walking confidently in store aisles and people giving the walker wide berth. I'm also not a shopper, but alas that is what I must do this afternoon.

Mlmcg, I also like your call for others to share their stroke recovery successes, setbacks and persistence. I'd like to hear from others too.

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PS: @mlmcg do you participate in this discussion?
* Cerebellar Stroke – experience/treatment/recovery https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/cerebellar-stroke-experiencetreatmentrecovery/

Lots of great stories being shared.

REPLY
@colleenyoung

PS: @mlmcg do you participate in this discussion?
* Cerebellar Stroke – experience/treatment/recovery https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/cerebellar-stroke-experiencetreatmentrecovery/

Lots of great stories being shared.

Jump to this post

Thank you, Colleen that you like the way I express myself and that you are able to picture how my typing technique has improved. If you had read what I wrote before my strokes you would be surprised at what you are reading today. I believe that our brain is like a light switch. Areas of the brain can be switched "on" "off" or many places in between, however, after the stroke things change. When I had my ischemic stroke I have noticed things I was not good at, or unable to do, that I can do now. If I could have been able to do these things many, many years ago, school work would have been easier. Then there is basic arithmetic, I understand the concept but doing it now, is something else. Adding numbers is okay, subtracting can cause me problems, not to mention all that other stuff. I have my cell phone for that now. And I taught math for over 5 years. Go figure.

I did notice, when I was reading some of the earlier postings, that people had questions but never asked them. If we, and that means me as well, have a question and do not ask it how can it get answered? I believe that is what Connect is for. Some of us are still living in "Make Believe Land" and expect once we had a stroke to wake up all fixed and put back together again after we get home from the hospital. (Humpty Dumpty couldn't be put back together again.)

We all have to start at day one. Babies come into the world with their little fists shaking all over the place. I woke up from each of my strokes with my right hand in a fist, just like a baby. The physical therapy I did was some of the same ones babies do. Babies progress from one phase at a time to the next, if babies can do it we can too. All we have to do is watch how babies do things to know how to do it ourselves, they progress faster than we can, but we can all progress from one phase to the next as well.

No two people have the same outcome from a stroke. What switches were turned "on" or "off" before our strokes can be changed because of the stroke. Depending on what part of the brain was affected by the stroke, or how soon we were seen by a doctor, and how determined we are to not let that…….stroke get us down, can tell what our outcome may be. When I left the hospital they were not sure if I were going to make it. They did not know what kind of a fighter they had on their hands. I still have lots of work to do and I will never be as I was before my strokes, age has a lot to do with it, and that is okay I am still upright.

I gave up my car when I had trouble making decisions. I never wanted to make the wrong decision that would hurt or killed someone, I knew at that time I would never drive again. I have to depend on others, which can be inconvenient at times, but we get to know each other better.

I am happy. mlmcg

REPLY
@lisalucier

Hi, @emgold2013 – like @mlmcg said, you must be very determined to function with cerebral palsy and with having a stroke, and I'd congratulate you also. You bring hope and encouragement to others who have gone through either of these medical conditions.

I'm wondering if you would share a bit more about your recovery process from your stroke?

Jump to this post

There really isn't much to say about my recovery. I was given the aspirin regimen and told to take it easy for awhile until I recovered my balance and my mind cleared. There was no physical, occupational, or speech therapy needed. The biggest issue is that the emergency room did not accurately diagnose or admit me. They assumed that my lack of balance, difficulty with using my good hand, and temporary speech impediment were due to my Cerebral Palsy. When they didn't properly diagnose or treat me, I immediately went to my Internist's office. As my doctor's office was very familiar with my normal medical conditions, and the difference as to my condition that day, they knew immediately, as I did, that I had a stroke.

REPLY
@emgold2013

There really isn't much to say about my recovery. I was given the aspirin regimen and told to take it easy for awhile until I recovered my balance and my mind cleared. There was no physical, occupational, or speech therapy needed. The biggest issue is that the emergency room did not accurately diagnose or admit me. They assumed that my lack of balance, difficulty with using my good hand, and temporary speech impediment were due to my Cerebral Palsy. When they didn't properly diagnose or treat me, I immediately went to my Internist's office. As my doctor's office was very familiar with my normal medical conditions, and the difference as to my condition that day, they knew immediately, as I did, that I had a stroke.

Jump to this post

Good for you, you went to the correct doctor. One day all doctors, no matter where we are, will have access to our medical records and we will not have to go through what you did. If for some reason you are unable to be your best advocate make sure someone who knows you will be with you and be your advocate.

The last time I went to ER and did not agree with what the doctor said, I went home did what I was told to do, and returned 2 days later was admitted, they ran test the next day, and was in surgery first thing the next morning. I have not seen that doctor ever again.

mlmcg

REPLY

Hi everyone,

I'd like to invite you to join us today, Wednesday, May 1 at 12pm CT for a video Q&A. Drs. William (David) Freeman and Rabih Tawk will be discussing all aspects of stroke, and will answer questions during the live broadcast.
Simply click https://connect.mayoclinic.org/webinar/video-qa-about-stroke-2/ for details.
Drs. Freeman and Tawk will answer questions live. Post your questions before and during the broadcast.

Return to this page, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/webinar/video-qa-about-stroke-2/ to take part in the video Q&A live on May 1 at noon CT. It will also be archived on this page.

REPLY
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