I just wanted to share my experience that I had just a few days ago and hear some commentary...
I am a 34 year old male...no history of any health issues, have never spent a night in hospital since birth. I am large build, 6'2", 265 lbs, very active and athletic, eat mostly healthy, slightly elevated cholesterol, smoke 10-12 cigarettes per day...rarely drink, smoke marijuana nightly, but in very small doses. In my last physical, my Dr. told me that everything looked perfect....of course, there was the requisite ‘quit smoking, drop a few lbs’, but bloodwork, urine, and all other vitals were perfect…
Anyways, I woke up on Tuesday morning with a darkness in my left eye. Very weird...like a shade was pulled down over my left eye...I washed my face and rubbed my eyes...put my contact lenses in, and it went away...I never thought of it again...On Tuesday night I noted that I was a bit cranky, and was totally exhausted. My son asked me to play ball with him, and I crankily told him NO because I was just too tired. I had a hard time sleeping that night, and was absolutely exhausted come morning time. But there were no issues – I went to work and dealt with it. That night, I went out with my wife for a long walk and hike up stairs (over an hour of brisk walk)...we ended up at a bar, where I had one Caesar (a bloody mary with clam juice, to you US folks)...and I took a hit from my weed pipe before bed, and that was it...I felt totally fine…
I woke up on Thursday morning with my left eye blurry (but different than the shade effect of Tuesday morning)…It was like I had slept on it funny, or had something in it, but it wasn’t painful or irritated…I put my contact lenses in, and again, had little vision problems, but this time I was a bit dizzy and disoriented. My wife insisted I go to the clinic, and I shrugged it off, and headed to work. On my way to work, I could tell that my reaction time was a bit worse than normal. As I parked my car and walked to my office, I noticed that I was dizzy and disoriented, and I mentioned this to my coworkers as I sat down at my desk.
I went to the bathroom for my regular morning dump, and as I finished off, I had my head in my hands, and not sure how long this lasted, but I felt exhausted. I finally got up, and clutched the wall.. My knees buckled and hit the garbage can, and I fell onto the bathroom floor. I picked myself up, flushed, pulled my pants up, and wandered back to my desk. I asked my coworker if he ever experienced anything like that, and he said “was that you who just fell in the bathroom?” and I said ‘Yup”, and he said “We are going to the hospital”.
I don’t remember much after that – I remember saying I could walk from the car to the hospital, but they brought a wheelchair. I remember lying in the hospital bed with the Doctor with coffee breath pressing on my chest telling me to wake up, but I just remember feeling “God, let me sleep, I’m sooooo tired”….I remember seeing my parents there, and I remember the pain of the catheter in my penis…I remember waking up about 4 hours later, to the surprise of everyone around me, and seeing my wife, and not being able to focus on her because my vertical vision was so messed up. I could see her from 15 feet away if I covered each eye, but not with both eyes. I had a hard time focusing my eyes on anything below the horizon. It was amazingly frustrating.
They took me through all tests. MRI, CAT, CT, etc….They then transferred me via ambulance to a local hospital that specialized in stroke, and informed me that I had had a mini-stroke in my thalamus (bilateral medial thalamus stroke was on my discharge report), and that I was lucky to be alive let alone conscious.
I stayed in the hospital overnight and the Doctors who examined me in the evening came back in the morning to note that all my symptoms were gone. They brought a team of Doctors with them as they said it was very rare event (how rare, I’m not sure). My eyes had normal function again, and I felt totally fine (aside from being exhausted), and I just wanted to go home. I did a EEG/EKG and they noted that my heart was perfectly normal, and nothing was exceptional. All CAT/MRI scans came back very normal, with the exception of the small damage that they noted in the thalamus, but even they said it recovered very quickly (due to my age, or something) because I regained all function within a few hours.
I’m back home now, after 36 hours, and I just wanted to recount the story. I am trying my best to quit smoking but even I am suspicious that this was strictly a lifestyle issue. In my limited research, I note that this is VERY rare, and my doctors were also somewhat confounded since I am very active, and athletic, don’t have a history of stroke in the family, while I am a big guy, I’m not morbidly obese or have a high BP/cholesterol…the only negative is the smoking.
I was put on a 60 day plavix dose, and that was it. They also recommend that I quit smoking, of course.
Doctors tend to say whatever is convenient, and I have a hard time believing much of what they say. They tell me to quit smoking but I can’t say for certain that this was the only cause. They couldn’t either.
How rare is this? Could there be other factors? Wifi? New iPhone? Diet Change? Strenuous Exercise? I never stress out, and I’m a super laid back person.
I'm a glutton for stroke info mainly since I was a total renegade: had my TIA's and stroke and became my own physician. There are reasons for this so I am not completely irresponsible.
You give a very good summary of what happened to you. You clearly had a brain incident, I'll call it, more than a TIA because it does show up on a scan. You apparently have no permanent consequence. Stroke is as mysterious as the workings of the universe. But this was a clear warning to you. Count your lucky stars and determine to do all you can to be mindful of the best life-style possible. Eliminate all that you know you should.
Others will post and be much more gracious. For now, just a warm welcome to you to a wonderful group of stroke survivors and fighters.
Last edited by tinam7; 10-28-2012 at 09:45 AM.
The Following User Says Thank You to tinam7 For This Useful Post: bakin (10-28-2012)
No time for a big reply as it is 2am here, but will try to get back to you tomorrow. I had a stroke in my thalamus 2 days before my 40th birthday. Also told it was very rare. I couldn't feel anything on half my body, but feeling began coming back within days. The thalamus controls sensation and should have no effect on one's vision. Something sounds very off in there being damage to your thalamus, but the problem being with your vision.
Just a quick addition that even though I couldn't feel my body, I never lost actual function. Of course it is hard to move a limb you can't even locate with your eyesw closed, but the thalamus really is strictly to do with sensation. My stroke was almost exactly 4 years ago & I am still having sensation issues on my left side.
Last edited by Travelmom; 10-28-2012 at 11:02 AM.
Reason: added info
Hello and welcome to our family of stroke survivors.
I am very sorry for what you have been through. You are so young and as you read the post you will find people seem to be experiencing stroke at a very young age.
I agree with Tina this was a very serious warning. Do everything you can to prevent another episode. I am over 2 years stroke recovery. I was not so lucky my first stroke went unoticed due to a poor doctor and my second stroke I took at work and no one including myself thought I should go to hospital. I went the next day and by then the stroke had caused much damage and many sypmtoms.
Im surpised you never once thought stroke but your yound and that would probable be the last thing on your mind. Your post will help others to realize you can never be too careful. As for the reason you had it, you might never know. But you can always remember you were saved for a reason and thats a great place to start in redesigning your life. Your exhaustion is from the stroke. When a stroke occurs our brain swells and it takes time for that to go down. In the mean time the exhaustion is felt by everyone who has suffered a stroke big or small.
You know what changes you can make and should make to remove your threat of another stroke but its not easy by any means. All we can do is start one step at a time. Dont try to tackle everything at once but keep on a clear path of recovery and healing and improving your life style. Its a journey we are all on. I wish you the best and please keep in touch. Keep posting and let us know how your doing. God Bless Mulchie
After rereading last night's post, I realised I was a bit blunt and spoke as if to someone who was already familiar with stroke type stuff. I apologise! I am sure you must have been extremely worried. I also have no doubt that you indeed experienced some sort of brain issue. My point about the thalamus issue was more because I am afraid you may have had another issue in the past that went unnoticed. If you had no sensation problems with this episode, then is there any time in the past where you can remember any part of your body feeling numb or tingling for a day or more? It concerns me that whatever happened this time may not have been your first episode. PLEASE take care of yourself. Quit the things that you know are bad for you, eat healthy & keep active. Smoking kills more and younger people all the time. I smoked for most of my life and am paying a very dear price now. I couldn't even stop after my big stroke! Luckily, I recently found success and have given up the evil things. Marijuana is actually prescribed for my pain condition in Canada & some US States. Here in Singapore, they'd hang me for having it so not an option for me, but just bringing it up so you know that if it is a small quantity, some stroke survivors use it to control pain. Thus if you can't give up everything at once, get rid of the cigs first. Good luck to you and I hope this is the last episode you experience.
Another thing worth mentioning.
I have been smoking Chinese cigarettes (from china) that were given to me as a gift a few weeks ago, before my episode.
Is there any chance that these foreign smokes did something crazy to my brain?
My doctor said " a cigarette is a cigarette - they are all the same" but I'm not so sure.
Personally, I don't think you 'need' marijuana for anything if you are not in pain. I was just saying that if you need to hold on to one or the other while trying to quit the other, then quit the cigs first. The doctor may have been a bit glib with his remark about a cig being a cig. The Chinese (and I am in that part of the world) are known for less than stringent safety guidelines. There could easily be some sort of poisonous (more so than usual that is) additive in those smokes. I would certainly get rid of them. Honestly, I have been a hard core smoker for many many years, but strongly feel it is the root of many a medical evil. If you quit now, you will save yourself some serious future medical scares. I am sure you know that already, I just wish so much that I had been strong enough to quit before all this happened to me. Good luck to you.
Just thought I would pass along how I managed to quite smoking after years and years of a pack and half cigs a day. I loved smoking but got broncitis a few times and I really contribute my success to quiting to the doctor I had at the time. This is what he told me.
"I dont want you to quite smoking, I want you to get down to as few a cigarettes as you can. Dont get it in your head your quiting, just every few days try and eliminate one. He then said, when you have gotten down to the least amount of cigarettes you can smoke per day come back and see me. I took this as very positive and started eliminating one cigarette at a time with NO intentions of quiting. I managed to get down to 4 cigarettes a day and was so dam proud of myself. It took about 2 months. I felt better I breathed better and I was spending a lot less. I wasnt always in desperate need of one. I could go longer inbetween cigarettes. It felt good. ( at the time I was a stay at home mom of three children)
So I went back to the doctor and told him I was down to 4 cigarettes a day. He was amazed. WONDERFUL he said. Your lungs thank you for that. Now I want you to do something, when your ready, quite smoking all together. Well I left the doctors office with no intention on quiting I would just smoke 4 cigs a day for the rest of my life. Then I got broncitis again and couldnt walk the length of my driveway without coughing up a storm. I was 30 years old. So I threw them out. That was it I threw out the cigs and went 24 hours without one. the next day I was wondering if I could retreave them from the garbage???? But I hung in there and I got it in my head if I could go one full 24 hours then I could do another 24 hours and I did it. Im not saying it was easy but if my doc at the time hadnt suggest that way of doing it, I probably wouldnt be here today. I just thought I would share my story for you because I think its a smart way of attacking the "trying to quite". A few months after I quite my doc had my three kids in the office to check their ears and throats because they had been sick and he sat them all in a row on the bench and he said "well kids, mom quite smoking, hows it been?" And all three of my kids eyes went really really wide and they said nothing but there faces said it all. My doctor laughed so hard, he gave them all a candy and said its ok mom will be around a lot longer now. I will never forgot what he said to my three kids. Mom will be around a lot longer now. Hummmmm that was great motivation to stay off the cigs. He was a smart doctor but after that he left town. too bad.
Hope this helps good luck to you. Please let us know how your doing.
God Bless Mulchie
Thanks Mulchie for the great note. This is exactly why I've been doing so far. I've gone from my typical 12 smokes a day now down to 4. I want to keep this going for a while. And I want to see if I can get through the hard times without one.
I also am hesitant to do the patch or the gum - I want to do it naturally.
I think it is working. I'm afraid of that first 24 hrs but will cross that bridge when I come to it.
Your welcome I think thats awesome you are down to 4 . Now I will tell you I did use the gum. Same doctor told me to use the gum just chew it a few times and then put it in your cheek. The bit of nicotein would absorb slowly and it definetly helped to take the edge off. So I would suggest that. They didnt have the patch when I was quiting. Wow does that tell my age. lol
Good Luck keep up the great work. Steping closer and closer to better health. Wisdom is doing now what you will be happy for later on in life.
God Bless Mulchie
Well done on cutting down on those cigs!!! After a good 30 yrs of smoking, including 4 after my stroke , I am so happy to finally be free. It took the wisdom of Allan Carr and his book to get me through it, but anything and anyway that you can manage it is wonderful and awesome. Keep up the good work!!!
I was also a cigarette smoker. I have NOT smoked since the day before my stroke. (june 2, 2012) Doctors say is was probably one of the main contributing factors. Cigarettes constrict the vessels among other things. The stroke was enough to help me quit cold turkey. It is something you just have to make up your mind and do it. Yes, it's a hard nasty habit to break! But you can do it!
Have you typically gotten headaches after your stroke?
I have a minor one now that feels like my old sinus headaches but my wife is nervous.
My doctor told me to call 911 if I get the worst headache of my life which isn't really great advice but....
Just a bit paranoid.
When I was released from the hospital they said to watch for headaches that are sudden, sharp, and unbearable. I.m not sure how to compare it to a severe migraine or something. But if ur headache is bad enough that ur concerned or scared it's best to go get checked out.
Just a quick follow up. It's been a month now and I feel totally fine. My exhaustion levels do come and go but I find when I stay busy I'm happiest and less likely to need a smoke. I'm still at around 4 a day but I have cheated doing 5 or 6 on weekends, and then when I travel and drink with customers that number has gone up. But when I am normally at home working it has been consistently 4. I'm not happy about this , but it is what it is. I am trying.
So only fatigue remains. No other side effects. I have a follow up with a neurologist next month and will wear a heart halter for 2 weeks to see if there are any abnormalities.
Many thanks for all the well wishes.
Congrats you are doing so well. Dont be too hard on yourself you are doing great. Smoking 4 most days over time will become the habit. Keep trying and I wish you best of luck. Keep posting and let us know how your doing.
God Bless Mulchie
Hi all. Just an FYI. I haven't had a cigarette now in 22 days!!!
I don't want to say I've quit, but the stats seem to suggest so.
My follow up with my neurologist this week confirmed what I already knew. I'm totally fine. There is nothing wrong with me. NOTHING. I am confounded as there is no real explanation.
Doc wanted me to stay on Plavix for the rest of my life but I don't see myself doing that. A baby aspirin a few times a week is all i plan to do.
I guess it's all good news.
The following user gives a hug of support to bakin: goingtorun (02-11-2013)
I must say someone is watching over you. My stroke was in my thalimus area and yes to survive we are darn lucky. When mine hit I felt someone landed a lucky punch, I was falling over light headed and no control my movements. I have thoughts on the smoking as I used light up my cigars well stopped twenty five years ago. Good for you baking keep up the progress.
When I was in country Vietnam as a river rat it was very stressful so l would toke a mj once in awhile:-) them days are long gone.I have lots of numbness my left side and the hot needels on the feet and legs really get my attention. I have been told by my neurologist my progress is doling very well. I understand it may last a life time so I have told my family I would challenge the stroke every day
We are a unique group we stroke survivors, I stay posititive for my family and my health board stroke survivors.
I just wanted to comment on your progress and support your efforts 100%
Your friend. Allen. Aloha
The Following User Says Thank You to cactus al For This Useful Post: bakin (02-12-2013)
Bakin!! Congatulations on your 22 days!!! Don't give up! I had a stroke at 41 years of age and like you, the docs have no explanation. I take an aspirin once/day and that's it. I was fortunate to have a relatively speedy recovery but I haven't forgotten how things could have been. Take each day and celebrate the fact that you are doing so well. I don't want to take for granted my health which I think I have done in the past. Be well!!
The Following User Says Thank You to Psst For This Useful Post: bakin (03-14-2013)