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Old 07-06-2012, 05:22 PM   #1
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Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

Short version: Just visited a neurologist today for the first time and he thinks I may have had a small stroke that did not show up on my MRI. I have been having problems with dizziness, chest pain, weakness/decreased sensation on the left side of by body since May of 2011. However, I'm only 24 years old, though I am obese and have blood pressure that fluctuates from 116/75 to 145/90.

Longer version: Last May I suddenly became lightheaded/dizzy with chest pain on my way home from dinner one night, and pretty much haven't been right since. A week later I started feeling this weakness on the left side of my body. It is sort of hard to describe the exact feeling, as there is no numbness or tingling, but more like a lack of feeling deeper in my muscles. If you poke me with a needle I feel it, but if you poke hard with a finger I don't feel much. When I laugh the sensation of shrugging my shoulders feels markedly different on my left than my right, almost like it isn't moving in the area right by the shoulder blade. When I'm driving, my arm feels extremely heavy when I try to lift it from my side to rest on the window (though I have trouble replicating this sitting in a desk chair, its' very odd).

I am iron deficient, but not anemic. Beyond that, all of my blood and urine work and imaging (brain and neck MRI's, head, chest and abdominal CT) have come back normal. I've also had a stress test and full cardiac workup that was normal as well.

We'd pretty much exacerbated all my doctors (limited) ideas, that's why he referred me to the neurologist. I was expecting an EMG/nerve conduction study, nothing too major, and he jumps out with "maybe you had a small stroke that didn't show up on your MRI." Needless to say, that freaked me out. For a year everyone I've seen has told me it's not likely anything serious, and the first thing this guy, very cavalierly, says is I might have had a stroke. Additionally he provided no information as to how to handle the situation beyond taking an aspirin daily until my next appointment. He didn't say if I can still exercise, if I should take it easy, or if I'm at risk for a more serious stroke in the interim, if it was in fact a small stoke.

Does that seem like a dramatic leap to anyone? Are there other conditions or vitamin deficiencies that can mimic a small stroke that he didn't consider? Does that even sound like a stroke at all? Sorry that was such a long post, I just feel so blindsided by suggestion.

 
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:04 AM   #2
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

I would definitely see another doctor right away. What you wrote pretty much described me with 4 strokes. Go now.

 
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:26 AM   #3
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

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I would definitely see another doctor right away. What you wrote pretty much described me with 4 strokes. Go now.
Sounds just like my brain stem stroke.

 
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:56 AM   #4
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

You can definietly have a stroke at 24 that doesn't show up on MRI. If you are on oral contraceptives, an alternate method of BC should be used. I would ask for a hematology workup to rule out a blood clotting tendency that can be hereditary, including anti-phospholipid antibodies that can predispose to strokes. An echocardiogram should be done if you haven't had that yet. Please pursue this as you could have more of these.

 
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

Thank you for your feedback everyone, I guess there is some credence to what he said. It's just so mind blowing to hear that I could have had a stroke a full year ago and that nobody noticed in the some 30 doctors appointments and ER visits I've had in all that time and even more unsettling that there's no sense of urgency about any of this now that it has come into consideration.

Two weeks ago, when my internist referred me for MRI and the neurologist, he seemed to suggest that if there was no sign of MS on my MRI or nerve conduction studies, then my problem was likely stress and anxiety. If he thought I was anxious then, he should see me today. LOL.

Ladybud, I did have an echocardiogram in October when I did my stress test. I don't take an oral contraceptive, but I believe they did check for clotting agents as well, but I will double check on Monday to be certain. Thanks for the suggestion.

 
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:59 PM   #6
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

dont ya just love these doctors that send you home with lots to worry about. You are your own advocate and must insist they find out what is going on. Like the other posts suggest it very much could be a stroke. My two strokes were caused by medication and the first stroke when undiagnosed untill I had the second one and then they realized I had two. Two doctors said NO its not the medication Two doctors said Yes its the medication. So back and forth we went until I got well enought to take hold of the situation and start DEMANDING answers. It is very good the information you will get from the board. It will give you ideas of what tests to ask for and what you should be demanding for yourself. You deserve good care, you deserve answers and you deserve to know if this is a stroke what you can do to prevent another one. Make yourself very knowledgeable and remember, you deserve answers.
Good luck God Bless Mulchie

 
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:18 AM   #7
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

I truly believe there must be a reason you are having strokes at 24 years of age. This is usually related to a blood clotting problem, and I would pursue a hematology consult to make sure you have had all the tests necessary to rule out a predisposition to clots. Your weight by itself shouldn't cause these, and your BP isn't high enough to cause them. You may need to be on anticoagulants or a platelet inhibitor other than aspirin. In the meantime, I would take a baby aspirin every day until further tests are done (will need to be off that for a few days before tests-so check with Dr about that.) Please pursue this so you can prevent more from happening.

 
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:23 AM   #8
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

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dont ya just love these doctors that send you home with lots to worry about. You are your own advocate and must insist they find out what is going on. Like the other posts suggest it very much could be a stroke. My two strokes were caused by medication and the first stroke when undiagnosed untill I had the second one and then they realized I had two. Two doctors said NO its not the medication Two doctors said Yes its the medication. So back and forth we went until I got well enought to take hold of the situation and start DEMANDING answers. It is very good the information you will get from the board. It will give you ideas of what tests to ask for and what you should be demanding for yourself. You deserve good care, you deserve answers and you deserve to know if this is a stroke what you can do to prevent another one. Make yourself very knowledgeable and remember, you deserve answers.
Good luck God Bless Mulchie
I'm definitely going to start taking a more aggressive stance with my doctors. This has gone on long enough and they really should be giving some of these symptoms more serious consideration than they have.


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Originally Posted by ladybud View Post
I truly believe there must be a reason you are having strokes at 24 years of age. This is usually related to a blood clotting problem, and I would pursue a hematology consult to make sure you have had all the tests necessary to rule out a predisposition to clots. Your weight by itself shouldn't cause these, and your BP isn't high enough to cause them. You may need to be on anticoagulants or a platelet inhibitor other than aspirin. In the meantime, I would take a baby aspirin every day until further tests are done (will need to be off that for a few days before tests-so check with Dr about that.) Please pursue this so you can prevent more from happening.
I have an appointment Monday with the hematologist I see for my iron to check for cloting factors, and I'm getting an ultrasound of the carotid atery and a transcranial doppler. Hopefully these will lead us to some answers. The neurologist I saw last week doesn't want to see me again until late August and if those tests all come back normal I will start pursuing other doctors in the interim.

Have any of you all had to deal with worsening anxiety following news like this? I've never really worried about my health, even with all these symptoms for the past year I never thought about it too much if I wasn't feeling bad, but since last Friday every little hiccup or slight weakness has me wondering if I should go to the ER. Just this morning I woke up with numbness in one of my index fingers and have spent all morning trying to convince myself that it really is just a coincidence. It's hard to know what I should be taking seriously and what's just little blips on the radar I never paid much attention too.

 
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:06 AM   #9
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

Yes we all feel that anxiety, its real and it needs to be kept in check or it can make you even more sick. I think if you were having better luck with your doctors you would not feel near the anxiety. However in saying that, it sounds like you have some good tests lined up and Im glad to hear your going to take a more agressive approach. Your right, you deserve some answers and you should demand this from the professionals. Hang in there, try not to get too worked up but I know thats easier said then done.
To help with the anxiety I created a spot in my house where it was very quiet. I surrounded it with things I love and I would go there often to relax and bring my anixety down. I would put on a relaxation tape or some beautiful must and do my yogo breathing techniques. it really really helped. At first I was going there several times a day. Now I go there only in the morning and at night. Its good to bring your body down into a realxed state because its healing. It is good for the heart, the blood pressure and good for the mind.
Please keep in touch and let us know how the test go. Keep your determination up and remember, you deserve good care.
God Bless Mulchie

 
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:50 PM   #10
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

Nothing came back out of the ordinary on my ultrasounds so I'm back to square one with the neurologist. He seemed to think that I probably had narrowing in my arteries due to my blood pressure, but it doesn't look like that is the case. It will be a week or so before all the blood work is back from the hematologist. They took an insane amount of blood, so hopefully something will turn up somewhere.

 
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:37 AM   #11
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

The fact that your ultrasound was normal is great. That is so good. I know it would be better if they found something and went THAT'S IT we found it but having a good ultrasound of your arteries is a good thing.
Glad to hear they pulled a significant amount of blood. Hopefully this means they are covering all bases.
Continue to be diligent in your persuet of an answer. Demand it!! if it can be found insist they find the reason. Good Luck Please keep in touch
God Bless Mulchie

 
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:15 AM   #12
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

Flyingaimlessly,

Hello and welcome,

I can certainly understand how the "news" that you may have had a small undetected stroke would come as a shock if that was the first time you have heard it! If this is any comfort, I have heard of many folks here who have had just the same thing, and others who know they have had a stroke, but never find out why.. Either way, it is just something that seems like someone should know, one way or another.

Unfortunately, there are some strokes that are unable to be detected, but in your case, the symptoms seem to speak for themselves. Considering there are all levels of damage done by strokes, some of us do not even have the classic symptoms either.

None of this is to say that you can just overlook this, of course not. But, at the same time please be careful not to become overcome by anxiety and fear over the "what ifs".

The key now it to keep yourself carefully monitored, You mention high blood pressure..do you have a machine at home to check your BP on a regular basis? I would invest in one if you do not, they are a great tool for at home monitoring.

This would be a great time to re assess your lifestyle and make any modifications you can toward a healthier lifestyle. Are you moving? Make sure to keep active and moving on a daily basis. It is never too late or too little to start making our days a bit more healthy and ourselves stronger and happier.

This can be a time of great reckoning, I would try and look at it as a chance to get your life into the best order you can, and enjoy everyday, knowing you have had a wake up call, and you are here to learn from it. You have been left here for a reason, and it is time to live it up!

I wish you all the best!

 
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:23 AM   #13
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

All my blood work came back normal as can be. No hereditary clotting disorders, none of the blood proteins that make you susceptible to clotting, no lupus, nothing of the sort, so I'm right back where I started with all of this.

Any ideas of what I should pursue next?

 
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:50 PM   #14
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

Was bjust reading your story, have you seen a second neuro for another opinion? I would think something would show somewhere but starnger things have happened. I wish you all the best in getting answers soon.

 
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Old 07-30-2012, 05:11 AM   #15
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Re: Is My Neurologist too Dramatic?

Well another good thing. I know they drew a significant amount of blood and did lots of test. Believe me when I say its a very good thing they found nothing . However, I know that does not relieve your worry and constant concerns of how this happened and can it happen again. So many people never find out what caused their stroke. 2 of my doctors said it was most definetly the meds I was on and two doctors said NO it wasnt. What do you do with that. I went off the meds.
Sometimes doctors have to dig deeper than they are use to and do testing they normally dont do to find answers. My advice to you, keep insisting they do more. Keep insisting in good care and respect from the medical field. If second opinon is what you need then do it. Keep well informed yourself so you know what to ask for.
At the end of the day, sometimes we are left with the unknown and forced to live with it. Remember you must be your own advcate and when you become satified with all they have done, it is then you can sit back and realize you were saved for a reason and why this happened you might never know. And redirect your energy and healing into creating a wonderful life for your self dispite it all, knowing this day you have been given is a gift.
God Bless Mulchie

 
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