I Never Thought it was a Stroke
I never knew that the symptoms I was experiencing was from a stroke. Thank God it turned out the way it did
Seventeen months ago, I took my 12 year old daughter to her soccer game. It was an October Saturday morning, it was cool and clear. My 17 year old son tagged along with his ball and glove and a Frisbee. During play, I would watch the game, but while my daughter sat out, I started to throw the Frisbee with my son. All of a sudden, the world spun out of control. I immediately had to lie down. I didn't fall. I couldn't raise my head off of the grass. I couldn't focus on anything. I told my son to call 911. He questioned my request, and seemed startled. I started to sweat a bit, and the dizziness started to slowly get better. I told him to wait and get me a Gatorade. He ran to get it. I sat up, still slightly dizzy. I tried to stand, but that didn't feel right. It felt good to drink the Gatorade. I was shaken, but felt the symptoms going away slowly.
About a half hour later, I was able to stand up, but my legs felt like rubber. I was still slightly disoriented, but we walked to the car where I sat on the tailgate for a few minutes. Eventually I decided to drive home where my wife had a garage sale going on. I told the ladies of my escapade. All of them said to go see your doctor this week. It could be high blood pressure which caused this. I took it easy the rest of the day. I did make an appointment with my regular doctor for the coming Tuesday. By the evening, I did feel better. I even had a beer.
Tuesday, the doctor said that my blood pressure was slightly elevated, 140/90. I was put on lisinopril which is for high blood pressure. I was a bit overweight, and told to lose some pounds.
The next 2 weeks were uneventful except for one time while walking across the street. I had a tough time keeping a straight line. But that lasted a few seconds, and when it was over, I let it go.
Now, 13 days later, I came home from work about 4:00 pm. I sat down and the couch and the dizziness started again. It was not as severe, but it wouldn't stop. Eventually I had to lie down. I even got some sleep, but it was very poor sleep. Around midnight, I had to throw up. I thought I had a virus or stomach flu. By 4:00 am I was sweating profusely and very dizzy. It was then that I told my wife to call an ambulance.
I was brought to the hospital and they set out performing tests. By 11:00 am, the hospital said I could go home. Their diagnosis was vertigo. They gave me some medicine to help with vertigo. I said that I could hardly walk and were they sure. Yes, they were sure. I was home for 2 hours and lying down when the hospital called and said to come back. We saw something on your CAT scan and want to do further tests. When I got back, they immediately took me in. After some time, I was seen by a neurologist and he explained to me and my family that I had 2 strokes. It occurred in my cerebellum. It affected by balance and coordination. I spent the next 4 days in the hospital going through test after test. They could not find any reason why a stroke had occurred. I was young and this was rare in people my age. The only explanation was that there are factors that can increase your odds for a stroke. I was 20 pounds overweight. I did consume alcohol each day. My blood pressure was slightly elevated. These all increase your chances of having a stroke.
I ended up on Plavix and Simvastatin (Zocor). I was discharged and told that this was rare and probably would not occur again, although they can't promise this. I have lost weight and stopped consuming alcohol. I see my neurologist every 6 months. Initially I did experience a daily spell of dizziness which would last less than 1 second. A few times it lasted longer, and really scared me. It brought back memories from the original attack. I was told this is normal and there was nothing that could be done for this. Over time, this symptom has become less frequent and I have learned to live with it when it does occur.
When this first occurred, I did feel my face, hands and legs for any numbness, but I had none, so I never thought I was having a stroke. I had no warning signs that I knew of. If I initially did have my son call 911, maybe I would have had a different outcome. I never thought that the symptoms I was experiencing were from a stroke.
My story might be something that should be included in stroke awareness. I never thought that what happened to me was a type of stroke. I hope that others are made aware of my story.