Friday, March 29, 2013

One Month Ago

One month ago I suffered several mini-strokes (how many that means I couldn't tell you). Since then I have had to monitor intake of leafy greens (veggies really, herbs etc) and have bridged from Lovenox (Enoxoparin self injections) to Coumadin only (57.5 mgs per week in pill form). I have endured daily, weekly and now every two weeks INR blood level checks at the STEPS clinic.  I am the youngest person wherever I go and manage to still have a smile on my face,  able to joke around with those personnel I come into contact with and continue to be positive. 
Today I went to OHSU's Stroke clinic for my one month follow up appointment post hospitalization.  Not knowing really what to expect, I got just that. It started as most of my appointments usually do. Check in, joke around, sit in the waiting room filled with mostly older people, play around on my phone or iPAD until I am called back to a room.  Weight, temperature, and blood pressure are all taken. A few questions like, are you in pain? Answer is always no.  Verification is made as to how much and what type of drug I am taking. With that the nurse leaves and I wait a few moments for the doctor.  Today I was originally supposed to meet with Dr. Rontal, due to his schedule being backed up, I was switched to meet with Dr. Clark.  My husband warned me a bit about his appearance as he is familiar with this gentleman.  I thought to myself, I don't really care what the man looks like as long as he has good bedside manner and knows his stuff. 
Dr. Clark and his trusty nurse (an interesting woman I might add) arrived.  He started off by answering the questions I already prepared myself to ask before I even got to ask them.  So the answer to the first question which is what is the chance of my internal carotoid artery recanalising (opening)?  50/50 Fifty percent it will and fifty percent it won't ever reopen. So that was interesting.  If the artery does reopen partially or at all the reason I am on Coumadin is to help prevent that particular blockage (clot) from throwing to the brain causing more strokes (massive or otherwise).  The time frame that the artery has to either reopen or not is the four months.  It will either do it or it won't within that time frame.  Should it reopen I will remain on Coumadin for the next three or four months with another visit after that.  Should it not.. most likely will be prescribed an Aspirin a day for the rest of my life.  So all in all a good visit. Stay the course!
So next up are two more occupational therapy appointments in April, continued INR clinic checks hoping to make those monthly and finally in June a scheduled CTA of the head and neck and a follow up appointment with Dr. Clark to review those results and determine the next course of action.  
On the way home I told my husband I think I am going to have a pool voting for what will happen.. Taking bets everyone.. will it (the artery) open or not?  What do you think?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Oh Help Me Now!


It is super funny being the youngest person in the STEPS clinic getting my INR Levels checked for Coumadin (Warfarin) therapy. I am as young as many of the RN's that are working there.  The conversation from the other patients I frequently overhear is hilarious! AND there are times I totally identify with their struggles, especially when their levels are out of their therapeutic range because of what they ate. Too much cabbage, cole slaw, kale, or other leafy greens to name a few of the items that mess with your Coumadin drug. 

Typically this is how it goes.  You walk in (if you are a reoccurring patient) the person checks you in, provides a medical identification bracelet and verifies with you your date of birth (DOB). You proceed to wait in the waiting room until your RN comes to get you for your level check.  Typically you are led to an office looking room with desk, table and chairs, a portable blood pressure machine that checks checks your Systolic and Diastolic levels as well as your heart rate. They take your temperature and begin prepping the machine that reads your blood level. Once the button is pressed on the machine the nurse has so long to prep your finger that they are going to prick , prick your finger and pull enough of a blood bubble to seep onto the blood stick thing sticking out of the machine (don't know the technical term) so that it can be read.  If all goes well this only happens once. (There have been times that I have had two nurses taking turns on three different times in the same setting to get one to be read correctly).  Next comes the questioning depending on your level. If you are in range you receive minimal questions. Questions like, are you feeling OK?, bruising? have you had any excessive bleeding?  Are you in pain?  If you are over range (which I have not been yet) I am sure there are other things they will tell you like, maybe eat more leafy greens to bring down the level back into range.  If you are under range, they will scrutinize your diet (I started keeping a log), this includes alcohol, and other items that keep your INR levels lower. 

Here are some articles I found that describe very easily what  affects your INR levels with Coumadin therapy and why.  Take a look.  A Diet With Coumadin Therapy found on Livestrong.Com and written by Roma Lightsey.  Also found Warfarin diet: What foods should I avoid? found on the 

Before I was allowed to leave the hospital, the pharmacist came into my hospital bedroom and schooled me on the in's and outs of Coumadin. It was an interesting conversation, and eye opener and wonderment (from me) as to how I was going to accomplish this task.  I LOVE MY GREENS! I eat them ALL of the time. I eat a large amount. I could eat straight avocado, cucumbers, large salads, asparagus, broccoli etc.  I eat it all! I also love to have wine and alcohol on a weekly basis and was being asked to limit that.  Why drink at all was my thought and still is at this point.  SUCKS. 
Well I have been good, keeping my diet consistent and limiting the green foods, (even my son keeps track for me now).  Today on our trip to the beach I began craving the yummy salad that I normally eat at Dory's Cove restaurant with my clam chowder. It is almost tradition for our family to frequent that place.  Sometimes we drive there just for dinner or lunch.  I wondered why my husband hadn't suggested that place for lunch rather we went to McMenamins Lighthouse restaurant.  It wasn't until we were home late  in the evening when I had mentioned that I was going to have some salad and that I was craving something like that to eat that he had mentioned the salad at Dory's Cove was the reason he didn't suggest that because he knew I would be upset and wouldn't order that for lunch. 
WELL I ATE A SALAD tonight! I did, I admit it. I ate a small bowl of salad tonight. It tasted so good. While I was eating it I was thinking of all the green stuff I had eaten in small moderation since my last INR check on Thursday.  I turned to my hubs and asked him to remind me not to eat much of it for the rest of the week until Thursday to even out my levels. But boy did that salad taste good!  I know the idea is not to alter your normal daily habits but that also means that you might be on a really high dosage of Coumadin and that drug isn't the nicest drug. So I chose to reduce my large weekly intake of greens to maintain a smaller dosage, which by the way my doctor stated that I seem to have a high dosage of Coumadin already.  We shall see what this Thursday's level is. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Welcoming Random Plans

Spring Break

Normally, or shall I say, in the past prior to this particular gig I have, now called work, I had Spring Break off without pay much like all the other teachers around the country. Yes I said without pay.  They are days that are not part of the working contract and are therefore unpaid.  I had grown accustom to having time off regularly around Thanksgiving (due to conferences), Winter Break (Christmas through New Years), Spring Break and then again end of June through late August.  However, for the past four years as a school administrator I had most of those things off but a shorter summer.  Now as an administrator in a different school district I have a year round contract.  For the
first time in my life I have to take paid vacation. Interesting changes, which also means I must plan out vacation time to cover those times my kids are off.  This is a new thing and I am adjusting.

That being said,  this Spring Break is going to be random. Random plans.  As most who know me well I am a plan it out kind of gal.  I like to know well in advance what the plans are, who is involved and then I prepare accordingly.  So random Spring Break plans is another first for me.  I do however have a little structure for the week, my medical appointments.  Yes, couldn't get around that.  I have my weekly INR blood level check on Thursday (am), and Friday am 1 month follow up visit with a neurologist at OHSU Stroke Clinic (still weird saying that!).  Other than that we have structured a few play dates for Ty with a couple of his friends!

Random Plan #1

Today (Sunday), after I woke up 10 minutes before Palm Sunday service (we live 2 blocks away) and went to 8am Mass, we asked our son what he wanted to do today. His reply, "I want to go to the beach on baycation (vacation) like we did with Auntie Mimi!" We did a little negotiation because, really that meant to Hawaii and we weren't going to make that deal come true. So Lincoln City, OR it was!  This was great. Caleb our youngest had been one or two times before with us but wasn't really mobile yet, so we packed extra clothes, buckets and shovels (what we could find) and a few snacks and headed out.  We don't live far from the beach within an hour or so driving distance.  Love where we live by the way about an hour from the snow/mountains and and hour or so from the beach and hour from big cities.  It seems kind of central when you think of it that way. 

Today we lucked out with the weather being mildly calm.  There was barely a wind, it was a little chilly, but the sun was out, there was blue sky with clouds and we were going to go play in the sand.  Our oldest loved rolling up his pants and ventured into the water (it was cold by the way). His feet turned red. Caleb my youngest ate sand, played in the sand with buckets and shovels, watched his brother in the water and tried to enter as well. We have video and pictures. 

My husband and I took turns taking adventurous walks with Ty.  We found a "lucky" penny on the sand, rocks, and at one point my husband found a few tiny rock crabs and picked them up to show Ty.  It was relaxing great and fun! We drove up and down the coastline on Hwy 101 and the kids took turns taking naps, snacking and talking.  What a fabulously great day!

I wonder what we will do next.  I know that this week is open to do whatever we would like to do. I hold nothing back and yet we can do nothing, hang out at home and just enjoy each others company and I would love that too. Enjoying my kids and my husband is a great thing.  I love to do whatever, whenever as long as they are a part of it with me!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I was about to be sugared! I was super excited..
Have you ever been sugared? Well I have. It is a form of  waxing that is more "green" , environmentally friendly than normal waxing. The product is all natural.  My spa person said the product was made out of  so much sugar, lemon juice and one other part (I can't remember). So all natural AND she was super excited about limiting waste because it is biodegradable.  Currently most spas have tremendous amounts of waste.  Waste includes: the sticks used to spread wax, the wax itself, the cups that hold the wax and the strips of paper that are used to pull the wax.  Nothing "green" about any of that other than the color (sometimes) of the wax used.  So in my spa person's plight to become more environmentally friendly she sought out training to SUGAR!
She has eliminated so much waste at this point already and she is not even all the way transitioned completely away from wax yet (but is 3/4 of the time only using the sugar product).  She trained in Portland and is to my knowledge the only one that uses this kind of method for waxing down in the Willamette Valley.  Good for her to seek out new ways, ideas and her thoughtful insights to her environmental impact. 
If you haven't tried it you should, at least once to form your own opinion. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sometimes It Takes A Toll


You never really know how kids will react to certain situations. What happens to their little brains when something major happens in your family. How you leave a situation, how you as an adult enter a situation all helps the Little's figure out their own responses.

I am still dealing with the after affects of my hospitalization with my oldest boy.  He is 5 and is my most sensitive child.  He worries a little bit.  He has empathy for others. Sometimes I wonder if he internalized  some feelings about this whole ordeal.  The day I left to be admitted, wasn't the most warm and fuzzy situation.  I did my best to be calm, cool and collected and give my kids the pieces of information they needed and hold back the specifics so as not to terribly worry.  

My oldest son, T, is definitely a home body. He has a sense of family like no other.  He would rather stay at home and spend time outside, inside and with us.  It is rare that he wants to go somewhere.  In fact, we often hear when we are out and about, "I'm ready to go home," or "Mom, I want to go home now."  So when I left that evening, he wanted to go to be with me or have me stay at home.  You know the clingy, please don't go moments?  Well that's what we were having.  The unfortunate part was that, I had a timely situation to adhere to and a husband who was super worried and not so poker faced.  Who could blame him though? He works in health care and has more information about this type of thing than I did. 

I knew my son would be fine, he was in good hands! Papa Jerry and cousin Leilani were here and Grandma was on her way. His brother was here as well even though he did not feel all that good.  I knew T would have a good time, I also knew that he would continue to worry and miss me and his daddy.


Love and Logic

Since my return my oldest continues to check on my where abouts, my husbands where abouts and states each morning that he would rather I not go to work but stay at home and take him to school and pick him up.  Oh to be a stay at home mom.  This pulls on your heart strings a bit.  Each day I share the schedule of the day ensuring that it will all happen. I believe in follow through and establishing that trust again that for my son has been a little tarnished.  There are times when I think, what if something happens and I can't get home or what have you, I push those personal fears aside and assure T that things are fine and our planned schedule will occur.  The more that we do this, the more we communicate our schedules as a family, and the more we are honest (to a point) with him, the less worried he becomes.  The transitions in the morning are becoming easier and are close to back to normal. The sleep at night is getting back to "normal" as well.

Ever hear of Love and Logic?  Early on in my educational career, our staff were trained in Love and Logic. The goal is to teach children responsible self controlled behavior.  It seems like a no brainer.  One school that I work with just had the training yesterday! They LOVED it.  My son's teacher uses the strategies as well.  I am reminded daily on Facebook of a strategy or phrase to use, or concept to revisit.  I use this with my own kids.  Oddly enough though when you are close to situations, like with your own kids, sometimes your judgement gets clouded.  So it is very nice to have the reminders, the training and conversations with my son's teacher so that we are on the same page.  This has lessen his internalization of worrisome feelings I believe and has helped us all to process the recent occurrence.


When do you process when you are a mom?  Being a mom has many roles attached to it.  You are first and foremost a mother, a wife, and all the many other roles that you play on any given day and then you are YOU! I am still processing the information, the fact I had several mini-strokes at a young age, the fact that there is no known cause for the artery dissection and occlusion and most likely won't be, the fear that comes with such a big deal, thoughts of prevention, the many appointments I have had and though they are lessening will continue to have for the next three months or so and finally the next steps, what will happen at that four month marker?  Where will I be with next steps?  Will it be easier?  How realistic should I be?  What is realistic for that matter?  All of those things.  Trying to maintain a sense of normalcy during all of this is trying. The great part about ME is that I am a half glass full kind of gal. I am always upbeat and positive, and have been able to take this situation head on, joking even along the way.  Then there are those quiet conversations with my husband at night and myself sometimes during the day where all of those little tiny things come out.

I am goal oriented and love to have a plan in place.  So I am functioning within the current plan, knowing that it will morph and change.  I am taking control of those things that I can certainly control and making decisions that will support my life, my kids' life and my husband's life.  I plan to continue the positivity and support my kids through this process, quite frankly I plan to be around for a long, long time. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A New Life

Who wears a medical identification bracelet?  I do! What for you ask? Well I am taking a drug called Coumadin (wayfaring therapy).  This crazy drug is a blood thinner and once I complete the bridging process to Coumadin with daily blood level checks I will just have to take pills each evening.  With every drug to put into your body there are things you have to be mindful of. With this particular drug, I have to look out for excessive and unexplainable bruises (meaning internal bleeding), watch out for cutting myself as little as a paper cut, with shaving, having bloody noses etc. If I am unable to control bleeds with 10 minutes of pressure off to the hospital I go!

This drug is affected by, herbs, diet, alcohol and more. I have had to read and reread the laundry list of things that I normally eat that affect this drug in a negative way.  The goal of this is to make sure that my INR levels are maintained at a certain level and for me that level is somewhere in a range of a 2 -3.  Each day since my release of the hospital I have had to check my INR levels at a local Coag clinic.  It is to say the least the most interesting things that I have had to do. First, I am very thankful that I am not afraid to self administer shots at home (twice a day for a short time) because I really don't have the time to go to a clinic twice a day and then a third for a blood level check.  Some people actually do.

I tend to eaves-drop while I am there. I am by far the youngest person to attend the coag clinic. I have yet to see a young person other than myself and I also gauge that by each RN's reaction when they meet me for the first time.  Most are shocked, wondering why I am there, simply, they ask what happened?  I repeat my story every other day and for those who have seen me they root for me, say hi and check in on me if they are with someone else.  I have learned a lot about some of the elderly patients that are there.  It is certainly something that makes me laugh.

So, the appointment goes like this... I enter and receive my hospital wrist identification band, the RN greets me in the waiting room with my chart and we head back to a office looking room (desk, chairs, computer, blood pressure cuff and supplies on the desk such as Sharps containers, alcohol pads, and the needles they use to prick your fingers).  We review my vitals (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and a few questions). Those are entered into the computer.  Then the RN checks my blood by cleaning my finger (usually the middle one) turns on the little computer that will run the  blood through and pricks my finger squeezes blood and submits it to the computer.  If there isn't an error then the computer will spit a number out today's was 1.9 (not in range 2-3 ugh).  We discuss what dosage of Coumadin I will take that evening and discuss the game plan. 

This is my new normal way of living. It will change a little bit once I get into range (hopefully by Monday) then I will be able to stop self injecting the Lovenox.  I am certainly not complaining. It could be worse, so I am very thankful that this is my new life as annoying or an inconvenience it may seem. 

I now wear a medical bracelet, I have new perspective on life, I must admit I am a little worried for the future and those unknowns but I am reassured to live life to its fullest and enjoy every moment.  I am very much a rule follower. I am probably a better patient than my husband is. I find myself rereading all the pamphlets and folders of information about the drugs I am taking, the stroke type I had, and educating myself through questions with all the  medical personnel that I come into contact with.  It is a new life! It is a new journey. I take it head on!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Wake Up Call?

I am a 36 year old woman who can now say has been a victim of a few mini strokes.  Strokes, Yes I SAID STROKES.. It is certainly something to be weirded out by especially because of how it happened. 

It has been 6 days since my release from the hospital and 10 days since my series of mini strokes.  What does a stroke feel like what are the symptoms. I am a reasonably educated person and have been around serious medical illnesses and health conditions I reasonably know what to look for. BUT.. when it happens to you, especially at my age, you tend to ignore or think that you are just over reacting.  Here's the story.

Thursday morning I was awakened by my husband (something he does every morning at 5:30 am), I hopped out of bed coherent, talking and on my way to the shower.  I entered the shower and started my  normal routine of getting shampoo and washing my hair when my right hand wouldn't work, was limp, had no feeling from my elbow to my finger tips.  Weirded out by that I called for my husband who took a look at it and looked for other signs (there were none)  Signs, by the way, to look for, are drooping face, drooping eyelids, slurred speech etc.  No signs of anything but this localized paralysis.  I remember feeling like my hand was super cold or that I couldn't feel the bone but cold water squishing through my hand.  A different description, you know like when your car makes a funny noise and you can't really describe it and when you do, the mechanics look at you funny.  Well that was how I could describe the feeling or lack there of.  Immediately I needed help to dress and I had my husband call my doctor before hours. I really have the best doctor.  She stated to take an aspirin and watch it for 30 minutes, that it could be a pinched nerve since there were no other symptoms at that time. So that's what I did and away to work I went.  That morning half way to work I stopped and called my doctor and spoke to her. Again, I was advised to watch for increased paralysis and or loss of function and if that were to occur to head into the doctors.

I made it to work (difficult when you are right hand dominant) and began to work. It was super frustrating. I couldn't type, I couldn't pick up things, I couldn't sign my name on time sheets, contracts or anything. The only thing I could do was answer the phone, call people or meet in person with people.  UGH Frustrating.  By mid morning I decided I would go and see the Physician's Assistant since my doctor was not in that day. I made an appointment and went there. While there the PA conducted all sorts of Stroke tests which ranged from reflexes in your arms, grips, questions, such as Who is the President, what is the day of the week, month and year and feeling sensations. She listened to my speech (for slurring) and for word finding issues and determined that yeah it was a pinched nerve. So I went about my day.  I worried about that, I was unproductive and went home.

At home I dealt with my two kids, while waiting for my husband to come home and his friend to come over for dinner.  I of course ordered pizza (the easiest thing I could think of).  During dinner while trying to feed myself with my left hand and also trying to feed my one year old I had to leave the table, I was in tears with frustration and took a moment away.  I had no function at this time of my right dominant arm elbow to fingertips. No matter how light I made of the situation it bothered me and I didn't buy the "pinched nerve" diagnosis.  I made it through the night and went to bed.

The next morning I did not feel quite right. What was going on. Did I have a stroke? I was planning that morning to go to either get a massage, see a chiropractor (I've never seen one) or see my doctor.  I attended my staff development for my staff and moved up my doctors appointment from 2:30 pm to 10:00 am.  My secretary identified a few times where I slurred my speech and pointed that out to me. The Occupational Therapist I hired looked at my functioning and indicated to me that the symptoms were more in line with a stroke as opposed to the pinched nerve.  What was going on?  I am 36, healthy, have two kids ages 1 and 5 and a husband.  We live an active and healthy life. I don't have time for this. 

Once at my doctors office, more stroke indicator tests were conducted and I left the office with the notion that my doctor was going to consult a neurologist before ordering tests.  I went back to work, packed up a few things and headed home.  Once at home I received a phone call indicating that I needed to get an MRI of my head completed that day. I worked with my doctors nurse to get that scheduled same day.  I drove myself to my MRI, waited for a while and then had a dye injected MRI of my brain.  A very weird test I might add. 

You know how things sometimes don't add up.  The MRI technologist made a few comments to me that triggered the notion that there were some problems. and then while driving home the bomb.  The call from my doctor which indicated to me that I needed to be hospitalized. I asked her to call my husband who is in the medical field and would know what to do with that information better than I.  I knew I would not be able to relay all the "right" information and medical lingo. I heard "STROKES" and "HOSPITALIZATION."  Should I stop driving? Can I make it home and get my back ready?  I need to see my kids and put them at ease. What would I walk in the door to?  I am 36 this isn't supposed to be happening! I am healthy. I have lots of things I want to plan to accomplish, get done, spend time with kids and more.  Wow, was my life passing before my eyes.  Back to focus on driving.

I was not sure what was going to be in store for me.  I texted my boss, my secretary and let them know I was going to be hospitalized and that work may be affected but didn't have answers yet. There were many thoughts and questions running through my head. I wanted to hug my husband and love on my kids.  I  wanted a minute to process this weird news.  I was glad however that I knew why my hand was not working as it should but wondered would there be more issues (cognitive issues, brain damage, speech issues (having a background in Speech Therapy didn't help much) will I regain my hand function back to normal, what else would be found? )

When I arrived home around 5 ish, I walked into the house and saw my kids, their daddy (my husband with tear in his eyes in work mode). I gave my kids hugs, spoke to them a bit and went to get my bag packed.  How do you pack for a hospital stay that isn't like delivering a baby? What do you take?  I packed comfy clothes, bathroom amenities, socks, and essentials. I stole one of my kids soft blankets to have a little comfort of home.  I grabbed my rosary my Grandma Baranski gave to me for my first communion and my ipod, ipad, to be connected to work, the world and my life (a little normalcy).  Wasn't sure what else was needed. 

My oldest son, T was having such a difficult time. He is my sensitive child, and knows when things are not as it should be.  I spoke to him and told him that Mommy needed to have her hand looked at and that part of her neck wasn't working. I assured him that I would be fine.  I put his rosary on him and told him to think of mommy and that God would take care of me.  I told him that we were going to daddy's work where the doctors there know how to take care of me and to make me feel better.  It was not easy.  I went to rock my other son, my one year old, who by the way was running a 101 fever (we thought teething) and was pretty lethargic.  He cuddled with me. I sang to him. I felt as if I were abandoning both of them in their time of need.  During that time my sister called.  She was concerned, confused and worried about myself, and my husband.  She was figuring out how to get here from Seattle quickly.  She said, "you are really calm and holding it together!" I told her that I had my kids and husband to think about and didn't want to worry anyone.  The in-laws came to take care of the kids and saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  We needed to leave. I needed to be with my kids but I needed to get treated too.

I am soooooo very proud of my husband.  Once he received the phone call from my doctor, he went into work mode. By the time I arrived home from the MRI and getting the news, he had called my family and started getting information out, called his work, Chief of Vascular Surgery, and set things in motion with those he knows there. He drove like a bat out of hell to the point I had to say that I would like to get there in one piece. 

We arrived to his place of work (the hospital) and as I made my way through the sliding doors at the Emergency Department (ED) I was greeted by the Chief of Vascular Surgery, barely checked in and was whisked into a room. Things were in motion.  Not even time to think.  The ED doctor came in (very intimidated by the Chief and friend of ours who was in the room) and began to discuss my symptoms, vitals were taken, I gowned up, and procedures were ordered.  EKG was normal and taken, next pee in a cup, finally off to the CTA (cat scan with injected dye, which by the way makes you feel as though you pee'd your pants even though you did not) and back to the room.  I was being admitted.  Having a close friend and high ranking doctor in the room helped to speed things along, which then made me think about those who don't have such friendships to lean on, or a husband who knew the system and how to maneuver through it and advocate, I was indeed blessed and felt calm. 

I tried to rest because I knew it was going to be a long time and that right now I wasn't hooked up to IV's just yet.  I was poked but not IV at that time.  My husband's co-worker came by for a visit after my parents left for the evening, he brought a few magazines and some chapstick, and for my husband the best gift, KEYS.  He was given keys to their place as they were heading out on vacation for a week. B was able to get away from the hospital, have a beer, a shower and feel normal for a minute.  This was the best thing for him! I soooo appreciated it!

The next few days would be filled with wonderful nurses (minus one) a million different doctors, with a million different questions, the same stroke tests two three times a day which included questions like, "who's the president? What day is it?  What is this on my wrist? What am I pointing to?" and sensitivity tests and strength and mobility tests.  The days were filled with more questions than answers since I was young (36) and every test indicated a healthy person.  I had the following an echocardiogram (looks at the heart) an angiogram, where they insert a catheter in your groin and up your arteries injecting dye in order to track your blood flow and detect clots or blockages, and finally the vascular leg assessment looking for DVT.  All normal with the exception of the known dissection of the left internal carotid artery and occlusion of that artery.  The great part I saw that I have great flow to my brain! Apparently your body figures out another pathway much like when you are driving and your main road is blocked due to construction you automatically pick a different route to the same destination. 

So now my life is changed. I have had several mini strokes and live with an occluded artery. I am currently taking blood thinners for the next four months, see a neurologist in one month and in four months will be re imaged with the hopes that the blockage will be reopened.  I have to say I don't put much faith in that last statement but rather feel that a more realistic view is that I will be on blood thinners of some kind for the rest of my life.  I see an Occupational Therapist now for the next few weeks to help my hand (right hand dominant) regain all of the strength and sensitivity it is missing. 

There is more on this journey that I will share soon. My  hand is tired, and my priority at this time is to relax with my husband.  It does feel good to get this down and out a  bit it has helped me to process.  And yet my story is not all told, just yet that is!