On Wednesday morning, I was up with the kids getting ready for work and getting them breakfast. Everything was typical of a weekday morning but when I went to put granola on my daughter’s oatmeal I noticed my hand was not working right. I couldn’t break up the clumps, it felt really weak. I tried again and this time not only could I not break up the pieces, I couldn’t even move my fingers enough to get the granola out of my hand, much less in her bowl.
My son began to state that he needed more granola, and as I tried to tell him to hold on I realized the words would just stop in my mouth. I couldn’t speak properly, it was like my tongue had turned into a balloon. I ran into the bathroom to check my face and I was still able to smile normally, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had a huge drink of water and tried to say some more words, but I still couldn’t speak properly at all. I finally realized something was terribly wrong.
I told my wife what was going on and she jumped into awesome mode as she ran across the street and got our neighbor friend to watch the kids. We got to the hospital and were taken care of promptly. I had an MRI and a CT scan and it was determined that I had experienced a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or a ministroke. There were also traces of smaller strokes that I had possibly had in the past. There is a chance those were remnants of awful migraines that I may have suffered, it is difficult to say. A TIA delivers the same symptoms of a stroke and is a major warning sign that a stroke is a high possibility, without causing the same amount of permanent damage.
My tongue tingled for a while in the hospital, and my right arm felt like jello for most of the morning but my major symptoms improved pretty quickly. I was incredibly impressed with the nurses and doctors we worked with throughout my time, seriously most everyone was pretty unbelievable. I spent the rest of my stay in neurology and everything seemed up in the air. It still kind of is to be honest. I had an ultrasound of my heart (which was crazy to watch!) and a longer MRI with contrast that evening, and we spent the night.
The next day was better. My symptoms were almost at baseline and we were able to go home around 3 PM. I really missed the kids and it was unbelievable to be back. I had a heart-rate monitor on to keep an eye on my heart, and some preventative medications to get through the next month, but ultimately no solid answers as to what happened.
There are a couple speculations, but I think the doctor’s first guess is that I have a hole in my heart which would have allowed the blood clot to reach my brain. We are hoping to find that sort of info through the monitoring and possibly a procedure. We shall see. The bottom line is that I am incredibly, unbelievably blessed to say the least. Since I got out of the hospital I realized how close I came to a completely different life within seconds. I am still able to play music, play with my kids, and continue on with no physical restrictions for the most part. Had anything happened differently I might not have been able to do those things again, or for quite some time. All in a matter of minutes everything could have changed for me and my existence, and completely out of nowhere. I am thankful for the doctors and nurses, for my wife and her strength and support, and the neighbors and in-laws who were all able to jump in at a moment’s notice and help us get treatment. We only told a handful of people in the heat of things, and I am thankful for their prayers and support. I am hoping to find some more answers soon, but I am blessed to have dodged a massive bullet seemingly yet again. I was two days away from celebrating two years without needing treatment for cancer when the TIA happened. Now I am able to celebrate getting through this so far as well. Mostly just the facts, but I’ll post again when I have more answers!