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Iwamura 08-20-2012 03:02 PM

My Stroke
Hello Everyone,
Let me begin by saying it was a blessing to find this site. I have learned more here than from the group of doctors treating me. I think it has more to do with not knowing what to ask or finding the words to tell the doctor how and what you're feeling.

I had a TIA stroke on June 3, 2012. (left frontal brain) Although it was considered a mini stroke, it was a stroke. As of today, I do not have any loss of movement on the right-side. However, fatigue, weakness, tinglings, anxiety and nerve pain do exist.

Prior to having the stroke, I did not realize I had high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I considered myself a healthy and active 51 year old mother of three.

I think one of the most difficult parts of my healing process has been getting my meds regulated. Until recently, I did not have much hope on a speedy recovery until my meds were changed last week. The BP meds I was on made me feel AWFUL. I was also taking anxiety and depression meds that also made me feel worse. I recommend not waiting more than 2-3 weeks to determine if certain meds are working for you. Tell your doctor!

Since I had not lost coordination or movement, the doctors did not offer physical therapy. After almost three months I asked for physical and occupational therapy. During my evaluation, the therapist asked what I hoped to accomplish and my response was to gain my strength and confidence. I have lost all self-confidence and have been so un-sure of life's simple things. I'm sure if you are reading this, you know what I'm talking about. I learned that this is completely normal with stroke patients. Just as anxiety and depression is.

I can happily say as of today, it seems I'm on the right track with blood pressure and cholesterol medicines. I also have a positive outlook with physical therapy!

Wishing each of you a blessed day!

Mulchie 08-21-2012 09:18 AM

Re: My Stroke
Hello and Welcome
We are so glad you found us. I am so sorry for your stroke but it seems you are doing well. Remember you will continue to improve and heal as time goes on. No one knows how much you will heal but you will increasingly improve. You are young to have suffered a stroke but remember, you were saved for a reason, how great is that. When we suffer a stroke its like hitting a wall. Our life as we knew it to be is over and we begin piecing together our new life. The anxiety and stress your right it is a common thread. However there are many natural ways to help cope with the anxiety. There are many wonderful yoga exercises that can be done in a chair and relaxation methods. I found a quiet place in my house and put a comfy chair there. I surrounded the area with pictures and things I love. I have my yoga tapes and my relaxation music. At first I would go there several times a day but now its only once in the morning and once at night. It definetly helps with anxiety, lowers b/p and helps deminish the fear.
I suffered two strokes, the first one went undetected by doctors even though I new something was wrong. The second one they could not avoid dealing with it. I have gone from wheel chair to walker to cane. I had many symptoms which have gone or quieted as long as I stay with in my limits of activity. My level of activity is constantly increasing as I get stronger and stronger.
Never give up, never say I have gone as far as I can go. Constantly moving forward and embrassing our new life remembering we were saved for a reason. Appreciating things in our life we never noticed before and putting the puzzle back together one piece at a time. But this time I am putting the puzzle together with much more care and consideration for myself. Guaranting a greater life.
I am glad you found comfort and information in reading the posts. So many courageous people post here. They have all suffered a stroke or they are caregivers of a loved one who has suffered a stroke. There is no greater source of information that what comes from experience. People going through it, the trials and tribulations, and triumphs. Its never over till its over. Best of Luck and please keep posting and let us know how your doing. We are very glad you found us.
God Bless Mulchie

Iwamura 08-22-2012 10:10 AM

Re: My Stroke
Thank you for the reply Mulchie!
This is so therapeutic and encouraging to read and share our thoughts and experiences.

writeleft 08-22-2012 10:39 AM

Re: My Stroke
I welcome you as well! So happy to have you. I love your attitude, it will take you far in your recovery.

Reading your story brought me back on so many points of my stroke recovery. I have to agree about the loss of confidence as being the most dramatic change in myself. I have never really gotten it all back. What I have regained instead of the confidence is a different sort of power or strength. So it has been more of a trade, than an actual give away. It sure seems like a huge loss for a long while, until things begin to fit back into their places. It took me years and years to get to where I am today. One day after another.

I really understand what you are going through with all the medications. I also have a huge daily medication regimen, that include many of the same type you take. I have to balance 17 a day, and getting them right and staying on them is so important. Once you do get the list that works for you, I protect it carefully. Keep the changes slow and as few as possible. Also remember that many of the BP meds make you very sensitive to sunlight, and can make you feel terribly if you get into the sun.

We have also found that posting is a wonderful form of exercise for the brain. As we sit here and ponder all the letters and words, our brains are working. I took up Scrabble since my strokes, and went from being awful to pretty good.

We will look forward to getting to know you, learning more about each other. I think you will find some really warm and friendly people here who are all doing the same thing. Learning to live with this thing called stroke, what a mystery it can be!


tinam7 08-22-2012 11:31 AM

Re: My Stroke
Oh yes, the confidence and fatigue factors and despondency. CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), which I've tried to learn on my own, helps as well as learning about left and right brain differences. My left brain suffered the injury (right side body impairment), but the right brain woke up and is a joy.

Do my best to live today, exercise and meditate every day, it has been 18 months with no incident and slow, steady improvement. So time is an encouragement. Give yourself credit for all you can do and try to do. Our brain wants us well and its plasticity compensates for injury. Hope leads the day.

Iwamura 08-22-2012 11:35 AM

Re: My Stroke
Hello writeleft!
Thank you for the reply. I have read several of your posts and can feel the sincerity in everything you say. You are definitely a jewel. I appreciate the time you take to share with us.

About the meds, if just one person can gain a positive from our experiences then we have made a great accomplishment. Although we might be overwhelmed or extremely emotional at times, you know you and your body better than anyone else and your doctors must rely on you and your caregivers as to what is or isn't working for you. The meds I was taking literally gave me no hope...I could not appetite....difficulty sleeping..etc. So if you're feeling like this and suspect it's your medicine, don't be afraid to speak up!

Iwamura 10-18-2012 07:15 PM

Re: My Stroke
Hello All!
My journal entry October18, 2012. It seems like a long time since I wrote anything in "My Stroke" topic but in reality it has only been since June 3, 2012 that my stroke occured. I have been back at work for about 2.5 weeks now. I have a desk job but it does required traveling to several remote locations within the city. I'd consider my job realatively stressful and demanding. Strangest thing is that I didn't realize how stressful it was until now. I've been in this field for so long it was second nature.

My return has been difficult as I constantly struggle with fatigue and numbness. I also struggle with the fear of pushing myself into another stroke when I feel the numbness grow or the heaviness in my leg and arm. I did something today that was huge for me. I used my handicap parking hanger for the first time at work. I was embarrassed! I was embarrassed to think what my coworkers were saying. Why should I even be concerned with what they think??? Anyway, it prevents me from walking so far and helps me avoid 3 flights of stairs.

I say this often and I will say it again today, I am thankful. I am thankful that I can walk, talk, and take care of myself. I do worry about being able to continue pushing myself at this pace at work and keep my job. I often think about What IF I have to apply for disability retirement? On a bad day it doesn't sound too bad! I know you know what I mean!

I hope each of you are having a blessed day!

Many hugs to you!


tinam7 10-19-2012 08:28 AM

Re: My Stroke
I do so understand that intense desire to pretend that nothing happened, that we're the same, that nothing changed. Children and full-time work is a tough assignment no matter what. With the effects of a stroke, it is so much harder.

Maybe you could work fewer hours for a while, phasing back into full-time work. The effects of stroke are a back and forth matter with an overall movement toward improvement. Can you enlist more help at home? If work is pleasurable and satisfying it is worth managing to preserve it. If it is stressful that's another matter. So there are a number of considerations. You could analyze it on paper, a plus column and a minus column and see how that appears.

Life throws its curves at us, but we can bend. We need not break, won't break. And, as you know too, there is much gratitude for what stroke did not take from us. You are also setting a wonderful example for your children. That should make you feel so good. Maybe this can help some. We are here to read, to think, to feel, to share, to hope. Yes, hope is the shining light.

Mulchie 10-19-2012 07:54 PM

Re: My Stroke
My dear friend
You are so early in stroke recovery and my heart goes out to you having to go back to work. You suffered a stroke and you need time to heal. Our life changed the day we had our stroke. Everyone here will agree with you that struggling to get back to the life you once had can be a dangerous and disheartening journey. You were saved for a reason and I dont think it was so you could walk the path you are on. Please take a step back and look at how your feeling and what exactly is happening in your recovery. Maybe you are destined to do some other type of work. Maybe you are at the beginning of your new life a greater life than before. We all go through the process in our healing where all we want is our old life back. But then we come to realize that maybe thats not such a good idea. Maybe our stroke gives us the opportunity to redesign a better life for ourselves. And when we come to that decision we stand at a cross roads. Remember, choose the better path for yourself. The greater life. It doesnt have to be like the old one it needs to be a new one. You were saved for a reason, how great is that.
God Bless Mulchie

Iwamura 10-22-2012 07:11 PM

Re: My Stroke
Hi Mulchie,
I wish I had the option of not having to return to work so soon. I have plenty sick leave accumulated but of course my family medical leave time was up so I HAD to return in fear of being terminated. That in itself added stress along with non supportive people here. I even feel pressured not to miss work to go to physical therapy! Shame on me! Lol.

Also, I'm vested in our state retirement system but too young to retire and not enough years for full retirement and not guaranteed disability retirement and/or social security disability along with the issue of the must have medical insurance coverage that will probabaly cost half of what I MIGHT draw.

As always, I appreciate you and your contribution to our Health Board site!


Mulchie 10-24-2012 01:38 PM

Re: My Stroke
[I am so sorry that things are not easier for you. Please remember to be as kind as possible to yourself no matter what the circumstances.
I am sorry to be so long replying to this I have had some down days and energy not what I hope it to be so I find it to hard to type and find the vocabulary for a post. However, I am better and hope you keep psting and let us know how you are. Please take care of yourself. You are important and must remember that.
God Bless Mulchie

Iwamura 10-24-2012 04:46 PM

Re: My Stroke
Mulchie, no need to apologize. I'm sorry you are having the struggles and I totally understand but you guys are my savior and I plan to post here as often as possible.

Thank you so much!


Iwamura 12-04-2012 05:34 PM

Re: My Stroke
Hello Self! Today has been warm and humid for this time of year with thunderstorms on the way tonight. I've always heard ppl say they can tell when it's gonna rain by the way their body aches. Well this morning around 3am I awoke with awful pain in my right shoulder and hand. I can barely raise my arm. Needless to say, I was not able to go back to sleep. Yes, no sleep equals exhausting day. By mid day my leg felt as if I was walking on half a leg. It's 6:30pm and I am so ready to get in bed.

With that said, I am thankful.

I hope you guys are having a great day!


tinam7 12-05-2012 08:52 AM

Re: My Stroke
There are filled notebooks with outpourings to Self from the moment it struck. For some time I gave the pages titles, now I usually just ramble on. It helps to pour it out. It helps to pour it out here too. It's 2 years for me this month. Hurray, no repeats. It remains a daily challenge with will, determination,effort. The fact that you have been able to work is a great, great feat. Give yourself much credit for it. That would not have been possible for me.

At night we slip backward with our limbs because of the inactivity, or so I think. I wake up too, esp. with that tinnitus I now have. So here are my solutions since I don't care for pain or sleep medications. When I wake up I get up and walk (good for leg) and take either a tablespoon of red wine or tequila in orange juice. Whether this works or is a placebo effect, I don't know. But I go back, am patient for sleep to take me again. I skip some nights in order not to get dependent. This way I can usually get 8 hours and feel quite refreshed in the am. Just thought I'd share this.

Mulchie 12-05-2012 05:18 PM

Re: My Stroke
Sounds like we are all doing good and marching forward. I cant tell you how inspirational I find these posts. Its good so so good that we do this. I think of the people unable to type but able to read our posts. I hope and pray it helps give encouragement and hope.
I must say after it seems my stamina is increasing. I have had two days that required alot from me and Im still standing. Like I have always said its not over till its over. Right when I thought that maybe i was at the end of my improvement, I get another surprise. Its good and it pushes me onward and gets me fired up and determined again. I think the greatest thing we can do is believe in ourselves for great things. To push the bounderies and go beyond. Yes its tough but we are tough.
Tinan7 CONGRATS ON YOUR 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY spend it having just a little more than a tablespoon of wine. LOL
Iwamura sounds like your doing well but your sleep is desterbed and thats not good. I found heating pad or ice pack worked. My leg and hip would wake me up and I would rub heat rub all over it and then wrap it in a towel. I know your not suppose to do that if you read the directions but hey, it works and I was able to drift back off to sleep. Is this pain new or from the stroke. Ill tell ya why I ask is my medication gave me frozen shoulder and was crippling my muscles. I didnt realize it because they put me on the medication right after my stroke so I thought all the symptoms were stroke but when they continued to get worse I started to investigate. It was crestor.
Good Luck keep posting God Bless Mulchie

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