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Old 01-23-2011, 01:47 PM   #1
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Possible stroke (or strokes)

Hi -
My mom is 64 and has been demonstrating issues with speech and language for the last 8 months or so. Her memory seems normal except for the difficulty she has expressing herself (she does not have any issue with her day to day life). The speech problems are that she struggles to express her thoughts - she'll often speak in clipped phrases as opposed to full sentences ("go to the store") and she seems to answer in the opposite of what she really means - she'll answer "no" when she really means yes. She also searches for words and gets frustrated when you don't understand what she is trying to say. There is a also sometimes a delay in her speech. Its been getting worse lately. Does this sound familiar to you all? Like a possible stroke?I am also concerned about the early stages of dementia or alzheimer's. My Dad is finally going to stop ignoring it and take her to a neurologist. She has a family history of stroke as her mother had many and her older brother has had one. I am paralyzed with fear.

 
Old 01-23-2011, 02:00 PM   #2
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

monkey...I'm sorry but I don't have the answers you are looking for. It would concern me to and I'm very interested in what kind of answers you may receive so I hope you don't mind but I wanted to post so i can be involved and receive a notice of a post to you topic. There is a lot of experience on this site and I'm sure you will get some knowledgeable replies. take care and hang in there!
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:46 PM   #3
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

Your mother's symptoms sound very much like my stepfather's - the searching for words, frustration, using the wrong words etc. He had Alzheimer's disease.

I would think that a stroke of the magnitude to cause such speech problems would also cause physical problems involving the arms and legs and/or facial movement.

The good news is that if it's Alzheimer's, there are new medications that apparently not only can halt the progression of the disease but actually reverse some of the effects.

Time is of the essence to treat both stroke and Alz., (especially stroke in which delays of even minutes are critical) so your dad MUST get her to the doctor asap. As he sees, ignoring it won't make it go away and may be doing a lot of harm.

Good luck to all of you and I hope your mom can be successfully helped with this!

 
Old 01-24-2011, 01:13 PM   #4
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

Hi monkeynut,
I am sorry about what is going on with your mother. I know that it is a scary situation, especially not knowing what is going on. I will give you my opinion based on my experiences as a stroke survivor. The speech problems she is having do sound like it could be stroke, especially her talking opposites which is called aphasia. I have that problem too and yes, it is frustrating when you can't get the words out that you really want to say.

From what you have written though, in my case after my stroke my speech slowly became better. You said she is becoming worse. To me that sounds like it could be that starting of dementia. My father had a stroke and years later got dementia, so I know that the two conditions are different. I am not sure that stroke can cause dementia later, I suppose it is possible, but I know that there are people with dementia that have not had a stroke.

The other possibility is that she could have had a series of strokes. That a second and/or third one happened before her brain was able to deal with the first one. I am sure that would make her speech worse. Either way, you should get her checked as soon as possible, not only for her, but for you too. Just knowing what the problem is goes along way in helping you to understand her and be able to help her correctly.

Whatever the problem might be, it is important that you have a lot of patience with her. She doesn't know what is going on with herself either and she may be scared herself. I hope this helps a little. Please let us know here how you all are doing with this.

God Bless,
Tim

 
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:48 PM   #5
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

Hi monkeynut,

I am a survivor of 4 strokes, and your mother;s speech issues are very similar to the ones you mention here. Particularly the opposites, the search for the right word, the mixing up of words...all of it actually.

I would not ignore this anymore, for whatever the cause of her speech issues, the faster she gets the proper diagnosis and the proper treatment, the better...no matter if it is stroke or Alzheimer's.

Please let us know what you find out, we have so many people that look here for answers, and the more we know, the better we can help others.

We would also be happy to support you while you go through the process of determining what has happened. Most of us here are stroke survivors, and many family members too. We are a close bunch, and offer what ever we can to anyone who needs help. We welcome you.

 
Old 01-24-2011, 05:23 PM   #6
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

Thanks everyone. My Mom has an appt with her primary care Dr tomorrow morning. She was crying a bit today because she is scared and my heart broke a little. Even though I am kind of hoping for stroke to be the cause of her brain issues, I'm just not sure how a stroke would have gone unnoticed by either herself or my dad. Is it possible to have a series of mini strokes without knowing it? Don't physical symptoms almost always accompany them? My mom is physically active - she plays golf or tennis several times a week. My parents spend the winters in the south so i don't see her her often during this time, but I can pinpoint when she "changed". She was completely normal (for her - she is aging obviously) at Christmas last year and then when I visited her at the end of february she seemed different. She had started the difficulty with the speech and was quieter in group settings with friends etc. Then over the spring and summer it would be really obvious at times - especially when she was nervous. But over the last two months it has gotten worse - the opposite speech and the trouble getting out what she wants to say, although she does seem to know what it is she wants to say, she just can't express it. I understand these are the signs of early onset dementia as well.

what I find hard to understand is how none of her drs have noticed this at all over the last year. She has a primary physcian that is a family friend at home, plus her ob, dermatologist, cardiologist etc that she sees.

Her mother had a major stroke when she was 68 that she recovered from and then went on to have a series of strokes over the next 12 years. Her brother had a strokes at 60. She takes medication to control her BP. I feel like someone would have know if it was a stroke.

Thanks for the advice and support here. I really deeply appreciate it

 
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:30 PM   #7
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

We can only hope for the best and pray for some good news. We are right here when you need to talk. please let us know how things go if you dont mind.

Take Care!
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:45 PM   #8
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

Monkeynut...great name by the way!

I am happy to know she will be seen tomorrow. Will you be going with her, or your father? The more ears to take the information in, the better. I take a tape recorder with me, because it can be so hard to remember every little thing that is discussed after you get home. Most cell phones have this feature, and the doctors I have seen were very happy to have the appointment recorded. If not, take notes. Ask for copies of the doctors notes if you can read them.

Strokes can go un-noticed in some people, it is possible. I wish I knew more about Alzheimer's, you might want to post your questions there as well. The bottom line will be the doctors conclusions, likely following some tests. It is heartbreaking that you dear mother is scared, I hate to hear that. Assure her it will be ok, hold her hand and give her a hug from all of us here.

Please let us know what you find out tomorrow. We are very interested in her, and your family. We take each individual story very personally, as we are always learning everything we can in order to help you, and others who come along.

Which ever way this goes, you are in our thoughts and prayers tonight.

Janet

 
Old 01-25-2011, 05:52 AM   #9
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

monkeynut,
I am glad your mother is going to see a doctor. I would like to respond to your latest post since you have have given us more details:

I'm just not sure how a stroke would have gone unnoticed by either herself or my dad. Is it possible to have a series of mini strokes without knowing it?

Yes, it is definitely possible she had a stroke and you did not know it or notice it. When I had my stroke, I tried to hide it from my wife. I didn't know what was going on with myself and I felt ashamed that I felt like I was so stupid all of the sudden. I even looked at a newspaper so it looked normal even though I could not read it at the time. She finally made me go to the hospital after she told me I was not making any sense, though to myself it seemed totally fine. It was when we went to the hospital, they admitted me immediately and that is when we found I had a stroke. So don't feel bad, it is impossible for anybody to know what a stroke is when it happens the first time. Even your primary doctor probably doesn't know either. It is only something that a specialist can pinpoint what the problem might be.

Don't physical symptoms almost always accompany them? My mom is physically active

A stroke can happen with no physical problems. That is what happened in my case. Your brain has 2 halves. The left side is mental and the right side is physical. For me, the stroke happened to only the left side which made me look totally fine, and that is what makes it so difficult to figure out what the problem is. If she could not move her arm, or started limping or something like that, it would be a lot easier to see something is wrong.

Also, you said she has a family history of stroke, so that seems a stroke is more likely I think. I understand that you would rather know she has a stroke than Alzheimer's. At least with a stroke there are more options for having a recovery. The lastest post you wrote looks more stroke to me now than when you first wrote. I hope that is the case. Obviously I don't know for sure, but whatever the outcome, please let us know any updates. We will help as much as possible and of course give you all the support you need.

God Bless,
Tim

 
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:43 AM   #10
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Re: Possible stroke (or strokes)

Agree with the others that it's possible to have a ministroke that's not noticed. I could have hidden my symptoms from family and friends as I had no speech problems, just weakness on one side. It really depends which part of the brain is affected.

These ministrokes tend to recur and get worse, which is why it's very important to get treated.

Dementia or stroke - there's help for both! Please let us know what the doctor says.

Janet makes an excellent point. It's often hard to remember what you want to say and ask when in the dr.'s office especially when frightened or nervous which both of your parents probably are, so making lists or recording is very helpful.

 
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