six weeks

26 February 2012

At the six week mark, a little over a week ago, I had a follow up CT scan for my neurosurgeon. Even though I never had surgery, the only person who treated me in the hospital was a neurosurgeon, so that’s who I was seeing. She is the most normal and friendly of all my doctors. In fact, I want to be friends with her but she already has my number and hasn’t called. I told her that my experience has been that the smarter and more specialized my doctors get, the weirder they are, so she was an anomaly. She said “So you’re saying I’m dumb?” And I said, “No, you’re an anomaly.” Also, I was tired of not being the one using complex words at these appointments.

CT scans with contrast dye are so.much.fun. For example, I learned that I am “a hard stick” and have very small veins. You would think that after all the poking and prodding I’ve had done lately that someone would have been so kind as to compliment me in that way. This explains why 50% of the time people have problems putting a needle in me. The cool thing is that the needle used for contrast dye is about 20 times bigger than a regular needle. The radiologist shoved it in there and I was in instant pain, flailing and writhing, and this continued even after the needle was out. I believe there was still a plastic thing in there? Once that came out, it was better. She called “Terry” the vein magician. Terry got it in my other arm with no pain, aside from the usual pinch. Ahhh. The whole scan takes only about 10-15 minutes and they shoot you up with the contrast dye at the end. When the dye goes in, you feel hot inside your body. Like your eyeballs are hot too. And you feel like you have wet your pants. It is the most strange, uncomfortable feeling. Then it ends and you develop a migraine because you have been fasting for four hours and the whole thing is just too much to deal with.

My CT scan showed that my artery is “not worse” which is good. It will never be what it was before, so it’s hard to say that it’s getting better. It will remodel itself and probably be more narrow than it was but that’s fine because the majority of my blood supply is coming from the left vertebral artery.

My neurosurgeon, Dr. W, disagreed with the medication regime that my neurologist, Dr. C, had me on. In her opinion, if I am only going to take one medicine, it should be aspirin and not Plavix. Aspirin has been around a long time, is very well documented, is safer, and is cheaper. She said she was going to call him to discuss it. I said “Great! He doesn’t know that I am seeing you today. He told me not to go to you anymore or have scans done for you but since you saw me while I was hospitalized and I like you best, I came anyway. He’s really going to enjoy hearing from you.” So they spoke and now I have switched to taking one adult aspirin a day.

I am still on track to be done with medication and frequent scans at the six month mark. Maybe a new tattoo will be in order? Or bowling? Dr. W also told me to live my life. I don’t have to give up caffeine and I can drink a healthy amount of alcohol (which is 2-3 drinks a week, FYI). I just have to be careful to not injure my neck so I am not really doing any type of exercise, which sucks because I just got a vintage Schwinn that needs to be rode/ridden/rided (all of those options are grammatically fun).

Around six weeks I finally started feeling like my energy was back. I can now get through the day without taking a nap or going to bed at 9:00pm with the seniors and teachers.  I am not getting headaches from looking at my screen at work and I don’t notice any vision problems so maybe that has totally resolved. I feel so lucky.

Anyone not interested in reading about periods and endometriosis can skip this paragraph but you’ll be missing out on blood. So, menstruation happened and I was expecting a “volcanic explosion of blood” as I read about in another stroke victim’s story, but that’s what I am used to so it really wasn’t any different. And actually, my cramps were less deathly. Maybe the blood thinner is helping move things along instead of my cells building up and forming disgusting road blocks. It was actually the easiest period that I’ve had in a year so we’ll see what happens next month. I was able to go to work and function, which does not usually happen.

All in all, I feel a lot better. And like I want to make a lot of changes in my life because life is short. I try not to get angry when I see people I love smoking cigarettes, doing drugs or making horrible food choices. I know everyone has a right to do whatever they want but your body can only handle so much. You can’t abuse it forever and expect it to be fine. It’s just a matter of time. It’s not worth the risk. I know what happened to me could happen to anyone, regardless of their health status, but it is the recovery process and severity that could be drastically different. I think my recovery has gone a lot better because I am so healthy. Sorry for preaching; it’s Sunday morning and I skipped church so I am preaching to instead of being preached at.

And thanks to everyone who continues to check on me and pray for me. I feel like I am at 90% with the 5% being that I still have problems processing things sometimes and spelling, which makes me very angry, and the other 5% being that I can’t exercise.

-brooke

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2 Responses to “six weeks”

  1. Kristine Says:

    So glad to hear how well (relatively) you are doing. The one time I had the contrast dye, I got an allergic reaction in one of my eyelids, which was not where the dye was injected – go figure. Your explanation did bring back fond memories though. 🙂

  2. RaeAnn Says:

    All good news for your recovery. I had hoped to find a funny joke about stroke victims, but sadly there is none.


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