Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate? Here are the steps to get started. (Prompt idea by Biola ‘Leye.)
I was getting my girls ready for school the morning of December 17th and felt fine. Out the door they went, and I began starting my day. About a half hour later my left leg started throbbing. I hadn’t done anything to it so thought that was strange. Sat down for a little and the pain didn’t ease up. Stood up and my leg no longer had pain; instead it was numb. I felt like I was dragging my leg as I walked into our living room. I thought if I shook it the numbness would go away , you know like when your foot goes to sleep. Nothing helped, I was starting to get nervous. The thought of stroke passed through my mind, but I was like, NO, can’t be! I called my Dr and they told me to go to the ER.
I remember the scared feeling that washed over me when laying in the ER. A feeling of panic arose within me as I was told to lift my left leg and I couldn’t do it. I was really trying to and my leg would not budge! It felt like there was a 100 pound weight on my leg keeping me from moving. I could see that nothing was on my leg. It didn’t matter how much I willed myself to move my leg, it wasn’t moving and I wondered what had happened to me. While laying there I started getting a really bad headache. CT Scan, MRI, bloodwork, etc. Welcome to the world of tests!
Into the night my headache lasted and I still couldn’t move my leg. My left hand began going numb also and there was short period of where my speech wasn’t slurred, but I really had to concentrate to get the words out. A feeling that just can’t be described. So many diagnosis were thrown around, the beginning of MS, Parkinsons, heart problems and yes stroke was among them. The Drs. were confused tho, for I didn’t have risk factors for stroke and the tests they ran didn’t make it real clear. (Remember how I said in that Mother’s Day post that I have perplexed Dr.s from when I first was born :))
There were many nights of tears shed. I was away from my precious family. Yes I got to see them every day, but that wasn’t the same. I knew the girls were scared at seeing me hooked up to monitors, seeing me having to have help to walk. What was wrong with Mom? My husband was scared but holding it together for my girls. Saying goodbye to them each night was the hardest. I felt so alone. I remember one night in particular that was my hardest night. For some reason my left hand started twitching really bad. I kept hitting my leg as I tried to play cards with my family with one hand, to get my mind off of it. At one point a very tender moment happened between me and my 9 year old daughter. She took my hand and put her leg right against mine and said ,”Hit my leg Mommy.” That still brings tears to my eyes. We just talked about it recently and she said how she remembers that freaked her out so much. But at that time she was strong and was there for me.
That episode lasted 3 hours! I was exhausted by the time it was over and even more emotional at my family leaving. Remember crying into my pillow as I turned off my light and crying out to God. God answered in the way of my sister calling me from Virginia and I slept in peace 🙂
The hospital was my home for 6 days, I was so eager to get back home! They discharged me on Dec.22nd. Yeah,so much for Christmas shopping and baking cookies,etc. But you know none of that mattered when I got home. I was just so delighted to be with my family. The meaning of Christmas really held true that Christmas. It surely wasn’t in the gifts. It was in the LOVE and being able to be with all my family as we celebrated. I may have still used a cane, but I was there!
Being that the Drs. weren’t really sure about my diagnosis when they released me I was referred to John Hopkins. I felt very confident in the Dr there even tho I was shocked when he first told me his diagnosis, until he explained. A Hemiplegic Migraine or another word is Complicated Migraine. I was like Ummm….wait a minute I have had headaches before. This was a little more major! My leg and hand were affected. He went on to explain how with a Hemiplegic migraine the blood vessels constrict affecting the frontal lobes of the brain. These cause stroke-like episodes. If constriction is extreme or for prolonged amount of time it can cause nerve damage. If you remember I mentioned while laying in the ER I developed a very bad headache that went into the night!
Have I confused you yet? My diagnosis is a mini stroke, BUT was caused by a Hemiplegic Migraine. These are rare, which is why a lot of Drs. aren’t fully aware yet of what damage they can really cause. My neurologist from John Hopkins said to spread the word, so I am spreading it.:) It took about 2 years til my leg felt normal again. And over that time I could tell when a headache was coming for my leg would start hurting first or go numb on me. It still can happen that way. Especially if I get really stressed about something I can often feel the effects in my left leg first. I told the Dr its my stress barometer 🙂 It is that way cause of the nerve damage, making it the weak part of my body now.
I have been on beta blockers to help prevent it from happening again and it really has worked wonders on my headaches! I am very thankful that the Dr could find something to help me. I could not take your typical migraine meds for they constrict the blood vessels to help stop the headache. In a hemiplegic migraine the blood vessels constrict too much and that is what causes the stroke symptoms.
If you suffer from headaches or are curious at learning more I urge you to research it. The research will explain it a lot better than me. . You can google Hemiplegic migraine, their are people who have suffered a lot worse from them. My neurologist wrote a book called Heal your Headache, and it also is a very good source of info to help you with all kinds of headaches. Feel free to ask me anything you want and I will answer if I can.
In the end, yeah my leg might not be the same and yes I can be more forgetful at times with some of the nerve damage done. BUT I am thankful to God for not having it be a major stroke and that I am still here! I can still enjoy life to the fullest being surrounded by my wonderful family and friends!
On a side note in last appointment with neurologist it was told to me that anyone that has a stroke it increases their risk 50% more to have a second one. That can be a little disturbing, but can’t dwell on that. I asked in what ways I can avoid it, besides the normal risk factors. AVOID STRESS! YUP, that is what the DR said. I laughed, and asked for a plane ticket to Hawaii and a maid, chaueffer, etc. 🙂 I say that to prove a point. Stress is not good in our lives, and unfortunately it is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid. BUT we can have some control over how we let it affect us and that is why I strive to let things roll off my back. I strive to find humor and joy even when life may be hard. I strive to make sure I have ways to express my stress, whether its in journaling, blogging, talking it out, etc. Find a way that works for you and do it!! YOUR HEALTH does really depend on it!