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Shelana M.

May 28, 2015

I am ... A Survivor

SEPTEMBER 20, 2012  -  A THURSDAY EVENING   - I WAS 36 YEARS OLD  - MOM TO FOUR-   MARRIED 18 YEARS - THAT NIGHT LIFE CHANGED FOREVER...

I HAD SPENT THE DAY VERY BUSY PREPARING FOR MY 'BABY'S' 10TH BIRTHDAY PARTY WHICH WAS PLANNED FOR THE NEXT EVENING.  I HAD BEEN FIGHTING A HEADACHE FOR 2 WEEKS.   I SUFFERED FROM MIGRAINES SO NOT MUCH THOUGHT WAS PUT INTO IT-NOT EVEN AT A 'FEMALE CHECKUP' EARLIER IN THE WEEK WHEN MY BLOOD PRESSURE WAS HIGH.  I HAD JUST LOST MY JOB AND WAS STRESSED.   HEADACHE, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, WHATEVER...

THAT NIGHT MY HUSBAND AND I HAD DINNER WITH A FRIEND AND I COMPLAINED HOW BAD MY HEAD HURT AND THAT THE NEXT DAY I WAS GOING TO DR BECAUSE IT WAS ANNOYING ME AND OVER THE COUNTER REMEDIES WEREN'T TOUCHING THE PAIN.    WE GOT HOME AND I LAID DOWN IN BED.  MY SON RUBBED MY NECK AND TRIED TO COMFORT ME.   RIGHT AS I WAS ABOUT TO DRIFT OFF TO SLEEP...SOMETHING HAPPENED.   ALMOST LIKE MT EARS POPPED OR I HAD BEEN UNDER WATER AND COME UP FOR AIR.   JUST A WEIRD SOMETHING.  I SAT UP TO TELL MY HUSBAND AND I COULDNT SPEAK.   MY SPEECH WAS SLURRED AND INCOHERENT.   WE RUSHED TO THE ER ABOUT 30 MINUTES AWAY.   BY THE TIME WE ARRIVED THERE, MY RIGHT LEG WAS TINGLING.    AFTER A HEAD CT THAT WAS CLEAR... I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH A COMPLEX MIGRAINE.    ADMITTED OVERNIGHT.    WHEN I WOKE UP THE NEXT MORNING, I WENT FOR AN MRA.   IT WAS THEN...OVER 12 HOURS LATER...THAT I WAS DIAGNOSED.   DISSECTED LEFT CAROTID ARTERY...TWO ISCHEMIC STROKES.   BY THIS TIME I HAD ZERO SPEECH AND NO USE OF MY RIGHT SIDE.    I WAS AIRLIFTED TO A LARGER, BETTER HOSPITAL WHERE I SPENT A WEEK IN ICU THEN 2 WEEKS AT AN INPATIENT REHAB CENTER.   THEN OUT PATIENT REHAB THERAPY FOR 6 MONTHS CLOSER TO HOME. 

I HAVE SINCE HAD A RIGHT CAROTID DISSECTION AS WELL AS A RIGHT VERTEBRAL ARTERY DISSECTION...LUCKILY MY LIFELONG BLOOD THINNERS PREVENTED MORE STROKES.    I HAVE GONE THROUGH GENETIC TESTING -- THERE IS NO REASON FOR THE DISSECTIONS.   NO HEREDITARY FACTORS, NO CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASE, NO TRAUMA TO MY NECK OR HEAD.    

I AM 2.5 YEARS PAST THE STROKES.   I AM LEFT HAND DOMINANT NOW.  BUT I AM ABLE TO USE MY RIGHT HAND FOR BASIC TASKS.  IT IS WEAK BUT BETTER EVERYDAY.   I SUFFER NOW FROM DROPFOOT ON MY RIGHT SIDE BUT CAN WALK.   MY SPEECH IS BETTER- MY APHASIA IS GOOD MOST DAYS UNLESS IM TIRED OR STRESSED.   IVE LEARNED HOW TO SPEAK SLOWLY AND THINK A STEP BEHIND.   THIS IS MY NEW NORMAL.   FRUSTRATING DAYS STILL COME..BUT I TRY TO REMAIN POSITIVE AND 'PRESS ON'.

MY PICTURE IS MY 3RD DAY IN ICU.   MY NURSES SURPRISED ME BY TAKING ME OUT TO THE  HALLWAY TO SEE MY FAMILY.   MY TWO YOUNGEST GIRLS WERENT ALLOWED IN THE ICU...IT WAS MY BABY GIRLS BIRTHDAY.   THEY ALLOWED ME TO GO SEE HER.   EMOTIONAL TO SAY THE LEAST.

 

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