Oct 31
jvigil , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

My Stroke

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I was 48, in the  early morning hours of January 6, 2018.  I woke up after falling asleep on the couch, and could not sit up.  My right arm, shoulder,  and hand was numb. It felt like everything was distorted, the room was spinning.  My head hurt so bad.  I felt like I was going to be sick.  I couldn't stand , so  I crawled to the restroom and sat on the floor by the tub, and leaned up against the wall. I was  feeling confused,  I was clammy,,the light was so dim.  I had my cell,  and tried to call 911,  but it seemed like it took me forever to dial.  I couldn't remember the lock code. I couldn't dial the right #'s. I finally got through, tried giving the operator my address,  but kept getting the #s all mixed up. I had no idea what was happening to me.  He told  me to get to my front door and unlock it. I crawled back to the living room  , unlocked the door, and just laid on the carpet, my breathing felt very faint, and I just waited until I heard them coming.   I remember seeing boots everywhere, they were asking me questions,  taking my vitals, and for the first time since this started, I felt safe. The next thing I remember,  is having a CT scan and an MRI, and them telling me I had suffered a stroke. The official diagnosis: Cerebral Infarction due to embolism of left vertebral artery.  The pain in my head was severe ,  and the dizziness wouldn't stop, and all I wanted to do was sleep.   I had no strength. To go to the restroom,  I had to use a walker,  and my daughter had to help me into the shower.  I'm a grown woman! This felt humiliating,  I felt so hurt and broken inside.  After about 6 days, I was released to go home.  I had home rehab therapy, for about a month, therapists, and a nurse. And then I was alone. My family had their own lives to get back to. They had to work and take care of kids.  I was confused as to how I'd move forward now.  I had a list of medications,  that I didn't know anything about,  or what they were for.  What do I do next?  I did not expect to feel so weak, sometimes extreme depression,  not wanting to see anyone or talk to anyone. I didnt feel like ME anymore.   I didn't want to be a burden. Nobody to lean on, comfort me, or make me feel safe.  I read a lot about my condition,  trying to gain knowledge about what happened to me.  Recovery is a long process,  you cant just fix it. Life comes to a screatching halt. Looking back , the last 6 months of 2017 , I didn't feel right, I knew something was going on. My blood pressure was way up, as was my stress level. I tried different supplements, and my Dr. did lab work, checked my hormones, and had me on meds for hypertension. 2018 though, has been the most difficult year of my life. I am blessed to be able to still walk, and talk. Everything still works. It could have been so much worse.  I realize  how blessed I am to be here, and thank God every day to be alive. I'm so thankful to my family, and the medical personnel . I have occasional cognitive issues, concentration, thinking of the right words are an issue.  I  have numbness and tingling in my right hand , and constant pain in my fingertips. My strength is not what it used to be. 10 months since my stroke,  and I'm taking life day by day.  My neurologist is sure the high blood pressure, and possible Sleep Apnea are what caused this. A heart monitor I wore for 30 days was normal. I'm the first to say, my exercise and diet are not on point, but I try. I have a long way to go still. There are many things I want to do, much to learn. I want to make the rest of my time meaningful.  My kids, my parents ,  and my granddaughters keep me going . Love fills my heart. There are so many people and friends that make me want to be better, do better, and I love them all so much. I dont know what my future holds, but I'm a strong soul....I'll never give up.  I'm a survivor ❤❤

Julie Vigil/Salt Lake City, Utah


  • ashishjain37

    You are truly blessed Julie. My best wishes to you

  • BL1970


    First off, I greatly admire your spirit!

    And I can relate to your feelings. First off, I am 61 and a survivor of three open heart surgeries and a major TIA a few years ago. Today I am 61 years old.

    When I had my tia a few years ago, I was at a grocery store and felt very suddenly weird, like dizzy and confused. I drove myself to the hopital, not remembering how I got there and waited in the ER for quite a while, dazed and confused. And when I was in the room, I was aware that no one was doing a thing! Suddenly this wave of nausia

    swept over me, and I felt my body "die" like a hiccup, and I screamed. 

    Next thing I'm in an ambulance going to a bigger hospital, (I live in Vermont),

    placed in a bed . Julie, it was a terrible week, there. NO one came to see me, I cried to the doctors, because I would want to go home, but finally, a nurse explained what had happened, and I needed to stay so they could watch to see if things stabalized.

    When I was released, a taxi brought me home. My estranged partner treated me poorly, and when I was driven to town the next day, I was scared of crossing the street, felt week, my thoughts were slurred and I was very tired. I know you know.

    Sowly, my brain seemed to begin healing. Recovery, even a tia, takes a long time to recover from, and it comes with defecits. My spelling is crazy, I get forgetful and have to conjure up words; as a dedicated bird watcher, I have to look them up now!

    I am finally getting support now, go to meeings where we can relate and feel stronger.

    I am a bit more active, walking, biking every day, and I think most importantly, being gentle with myself.

    So, thank you for reading my story. It helps me center as much as I hope I can relay my feelings to you that I am not a quitter either. Your story gives me courage. Thanks, Julie. 

    Ken BL1970




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