Stroke recovery and long-term outlook

It’s now just over two years since my stroke. It’s time for an update. Too much time has passed since I’ve posted an update on this blog. Fortunately, the comments on my “Recovery progress after stroke…” thread have been active enough to keep me happy. That activity shows that sharing my story is likely helping others in some small way.

How I’m doing now

I feel very well, physically. My physicians have long-since removed all activity restrictions and have even encouraged me to return to pushing my limits. My stroke recovery is about as complete as it can be at this point. I still shy away from things like roller coasters and anything with potential impacts to the head or neck.  And I will never, ever consider a chiropractic adjustment after learning about the risks of artery dissection and stroke from those “therapies.”

I still have some maintenance meds to take, but the Warfarin (blood thinner) therapy is now a distant memory. Aspirin and the lowest dose of blood pressure medicine is all I routinely take. I don’t ever feel any physical symptoms of the dissection and stroke, but occasionally I feel worried it will happen again. I can’t imagine that not being normal for those who have experienced what I have.

Looking forward

I can truly say I’m lucky. The stroke didn’t do any serious or permanent damage. Perhaps it was a warning sign or wake-up call to care for my health in other ways, which I’ve tried my best to do. Hopefully, I’ll be around for many years to enjoy the love of my family, to provide for them, give them joy, and do some good for others in this world.

There is life after stroke.

Little Swami at Swami's Beach

 

 

10 Replies to “Stroke recovery and long-term outlook”

  1. Hi everyone,
    I am 33 years female from Istanbul. Last year on the 5th of November I had a stroke. I had had a lingering headache including forehead and eyes for three days before, however, as I had also a cold I thought it is related to that. While I was laying on the coach before the dinner, I could not feel my left arm, could not move it at all. Luckily my sisters were at home and took me immediately to the hospital. The stroke was caught very early and I was given immediate treatment. The stroke primarily affected my motor skills which I regained. I had an angiography after the first week and the doctor said Hi everyone,
    I am 33 years female from Istanbul. Last year on the 5th of November I had a stroke. I had had a lingering headache including forehead and eyes for three days before, however, as I had also a cold I thought it is related to that. While I was laying on the coach before the dinner, I could not feel my left arm, could not move it at all. Luckily my sisters were at home and took me immediately to the hospital. The stroke was caught very early and I was given immediate treatment. The stroke primarily affected my motor skills which I regained. I had a leg angiography after the first week and they said I developed a blood clot in my carotid artery due to an arterial dissection which is both vertebral artery and internal carotid artery (ICA). I started to use warfarin (Coumadin) and was told within 3 months I should have an MRI angio to see the occlusion. They said most of the dissections heal itself for most of the cases. When I had the MRI angio at the end of month 3, the vertebral artery healed itself totally but ICA had still a stenosis part on highest degree. They expected a total improvement but still were happy because the VAD healed totally and ICA mostly except a small part. And I waited for another 3 months using warfarin and had another MRI angio but the result was the same. So they first said maybe they should stent, but then they wanted to wait for another 6 months. As they did not want to stent for artery dissection, it is not a common thing to do and it should be the last option. Last week I had my MRI angio again and the result did not change. I have two different doctors (one is neurologist and the other is neuroradiologist). So now they are again not sure what to do and listed the options and they wanted me to decide.
    My neuroradiologist says
    1- Leg angiography to see the exact situation of the artery (MRI angio cannot give a clear imaging) (if it needs stenting in another session we will do that)
    2- Prepare to stent (doing a leg angiography and if it needs stenting put the stent in that session)
    My neurologist says
    1- Prepare to stent. Just doing a leg angiography is not a good option unless I give the stent decision.
    2- Wait for a while like 3-6 months and have another MRI angio and see the situation.
    Since I am stable with warfarin why stenting. But on the other hand there is an occlusion in my carotid artery, so maybe it needs stenting. They say I cannot use warfarin forever, maybe waiting may help to heal but generally it heals within the first months after.
    It is now difficult for me to decide, I just wonder if anyone had stenting experience. Since I remember my last year’s leg angiography experience badly, I am not very positive about the leg angiography even though I want to know the exact situation. Also using warfarin has other difficulties so on the one hand I want it to stop but on the other hand if I wait maybe it will heal itself. It may be useful for me to know the average recovery period of your dissections.
    Sorry that I wrote long.
    Best wishes
    Bahriye

  2. I have been reading the updates on this site for a while and been meaning to write something as I feel u guys all REALLY know how it is being affected by dissection and stroke . The hopes, the fears, the ups, the downs, and the overwhelming uncertainty. So whats my story ?? Well I gave birth to my second child in June 2015 and all was well. I then began to have neck and head pain. I saw the doctor who said I had a urine infection and prescribed antibiotics. The general spaced out feeling continued but I put it down to being under the weather and tired from being a new mum again. When my daughter was 2weeks old , I had a severe pain in my head and became numb down my left side. Strangely the symptoms were what they called ‘stuttering’ so I regained my ability to weight bear but a short time later I collapsed again and my husband called for an ambulance. A&E struggled to find a cause and suggested I may have a DVT, then perhaps a migraine as this can apparently give similar symptoms. A subarachnoid haemorrhage was also spoken about but on day 2 in hospital and finally an MRI, a right carotid artery was discovered with multiple areas of Stroke. Initially they thought the dissection could have been triggered during labour but since being referred to the neuro centre, they seem less certain as it took 2weeks for the stroke to occur, so possibly it was just spontaneous. I really struggle with that as I would rather believe it had an exact cause as these devastating things don’t just happen!! I spent 3weeks in hospital and rehab and felt very cheated of my new baby. I was discharged with the early discharge team who were fantastic as although home presented it’s difficulties as I still wasn’t walking so stairs etc were a problem, I was at least home with my new baby and her big sister.
    Anyway, I’ll try and whind this up and just tell u where I am now. It’s been a hideous time trying to adjust, battle with fatigue, insomnia, odd sensations, etc. And the headaches, wow they freak me out!! But I am able to care for myself and my girls. I still very angry and get frustrated for the life I once knew. But to be positive, I can drive and returned to work last week on a very gradual phased return. My employers have been very supportive but I will hav to see how it goes. It’s coming up to a year next month and recovery has been so slow but it’s recovery all the same and for that I must be grateful. Wishing you all well on your recovery journeys, no matter where along the path you are. Stay strong 🙂

  3. I am 31 years old and suffered a BI VAD and acute ischemic brain stroke at Left Posterior Cerebral Artery on February 1, 2016. I have stiffness on my entire right side and tingling on my right hand and foot. I have a slight vision deficiency on right eye. I can independently do most of my work, because of stiffness doing work becomes restrictive. Doctors have said the stiffness will do. Just wanted to know how much time does it take for stiffness to go from anybody who has been through the same.condition as mine. Thanks

  4. Had VAD and right cerebellar/brain stem stroke in June 2015 . Usual symptoms dizziness terible fatique neck face pain cognitive issues and constant tinnitus . Still not working I am a Dentist 6 months since original event unless dizziness and cognitive fine control issues drastically improve cant see me returning to my profession.
    Anyone else have similair experience?

    1. It’s harder in the beginning. At 5 or 6 months I was still in physical therapy. Which I recommend for the balance and dizziness. A big help for me was topreimate and taking the aspirin. It relieved some of the pressure. Where I am today and where I was at 6 months recovery is no comparison. Though I can say even today I am not the person I was before, and it’s a struggle, things I know I could do and should understand, word searching, and Memory issues. Though I just say try to keep moving forward or it will make you very sad. Some days will be harder than others. I just suggest think about how to adapt. If you cannot perform surgery as a dentist at this moment maybe you can in a year? Or teach ?

      Sometimes I feel like its 2 steps forward one step back. However, frustrating its still forward. For a few weeks I was in less pain and was able to workout harder and less vertigo, blurry vision but days like today happen. Just glad it’s a day I don’t work and can relax. The pain is consistent and I know I over did it and it will pass.

      Being a professional this is your livelihood, your hands and your ability to problem solve. This is a frustration for I think everyone who takes pride in their work, knowing it’s a struggle to do now or at risk. Your still at the start of your recovery and perhaps in a year you will have a level you can work with?
      There are more active links in here
      Best of luck

      Rose

    2. Steve,

      What treatment are you currently doing ?

      Rose
      Would you like to email? I know it would be helpful to have someone to talk to.

    3. Hello Steve – I too fell victim of a hemmoragic stroke which happened 11 months from today. No signs no warning. I went from not being able to move anything to some motor skill loss in my right side! I feel your pain – I am a highly motivated 60 year old who wants to return to a “normal” life – I too am a professional that has lost my position due to time lost from my job. Every day I continue to heal – slow but sure! Unfortunately no one can tell you your future because no two strokes are the same.
      I have two great supports in my life – a great supportive wife and a really good psychiatrist – both have helped greatly. Nothing can speed the healing – but those two can certainly help put things in perspective!
      Would love to e-mail!
      Carl

  5. Hello everybody. I am now 53 had vad almost 3 months ago (middle august) following 2-3 weeks of headache diagnosed by two GPs and out of hours doc as neuralgea. Oh I’m in Ireland so not familiar with all your lingo. So that was early symptoms, Then partner and I decided a night in Dublin would be good. So I packed my stuff plus nuralex anti inflammatary and cocodomol painkiller as prescribed and headed off for a night of eating drinking and merriment all to excess. ok yes drinking was off the menu As turns out no drink was required as I staggered my way down Grafton street dropping what was in my hands and generally feeling in a bad way. Back to Hotel could not sleep for headache. Didnt take cocodomol but by chance had aspirin which I took instead. No idea why, was like instinctive. And thankfully self medicating Next day packed up for home, two hours drive. Walked into a lamppost on my left on way to car. I slept nearly all journey but I was highly aware of my left hand which was numb but tingly and felt was double size!! So went to emergency department who after a catalog of errors and arguments where my partner pointed neurological symptoms and sending me home again finally three days later gave me MRI and discovered ‘symptoms of stroke’ Whaaa? what do you mean symptoms? Did or didnt have? So you are all warned. This is the real Great British national health service. Three weeks after first symptoms at last some medical intervention. Clexane or heparin you call it.

    So if you are reading this I tell you it is a medicine to put it to page. So how am I after 3 months.. Headaches eased to a 1 or 2, I have itchy scalp, (I don’t think is animals) left arm and hand a bit numb and feels like insects crawling inside, cant figure hot or cold, short memory affected, dissorientation, constant tired, insomnia plus crazy dreams at night. I could go on!!but is now 2-30 am. So thats my story and still in progress. back to work? I dont know when or if. Feel like been told to lie down and get up when you feel better. when? whenever. Thank god for patient loved ones. Get well soon everybody.. Regards Sam

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