Feb 28
Barbie58
Barbie58 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Survived two Transient Ischemic Attacks within 18 months

I'm 58 years old and suffered my first TIA in March 2015.  The day before the attack in the evening I was extremely dizzy and almost unable to walk without assistance.  I also had blurred vision that evening where I could not focus to read.  I went to work the next day and during a small office meeting with a few people I began to stumble over my words and a severe headache ensued.   My left side was numb and my tounge was not straight.  My blood pressure was elevated when I arrived at the hospital.  I was diagnosed with a TIA.  After the attack I suffered with memory loss and left arm weakness. I was very fatigued afterwards and slept a lot which is unusual for me!    I went to outpatient therapy for 8 weeks to help with memory loss and weakness.  I was unable to drive for three months and kept repeating myself.  In time I was able to get back to my daily routine but always seemed tired.  I was on a beta blocker and two aspirins daily for meds.  I also have tachycardia, very high blood pressure (and extremely low at times), and high cholesterol over 300.  I was under care of a cardiologist and following his advice.  On October 1, 2016 I was out shopping with my husband and granddaughter.  Without warning this time and quickly the symptoms of a "mini-stroke" occurred.  I couldn't think clearly and I couldn't talk either.  My husband said I was bright red and I remember sweating profusely and also having double vision and the left side of my body was numb which caused me to collapse on the floor in the store.   My husband was in a bit of panic and gave me five aspirins to take.  (This could be life threatening if it is a hemorrhage stroke).  I was brought to emergency at Unity Hospital which they rushed me in for a series of tests.  I was given a painful spinal tap to be sure I wasn't bleeding in the brain and a C-scan which showed white matter on the right side.  I spent the next four days in the hospital and diagnosed with my second TIA.  The residual I have this time is extreme weakness in my left hand and some loss of sensation.  I have difficulty opening things and holding on to heavy items in my left hand. I went to my cardiologist follow-up appointment after my TIA.   I wore a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours and he took the average reading and said you are fine.   I expressed my concern about my high blood pressure which goes over 200 on the top and over 100 on the bottom with heart rates over 200.  I asked him If he was going to give me any tests to reassure me how to move forward and avoid having a devastating stroke.  My mom had one TIA then a debilitating stroke which completely changed her life.  She can no longer work or drive as she was before her major stroke.  He said he had not planned on administering any further tests.  I believe he noted I was a little anxious.  NO I was being my own advocate.  I asked if he thought I needed to take a stress tests since it was over two years since I had one.  His reply no.  I'll see you in a year.   My mom inquired about my appointment and she suggested a second opinion would not hurt.  Her former boss highly recommended a new cardiologist and I had an appointment within a week!
My husband and I were very impressed with the cardiologist.  He was like a detective whereas my other cardiologist was more of a maintenance type doctor.   He administered serveral tests.  My blood pressure was reading 148/104 twice.  A sonogram for Carotid Arteries which showed a buildup of plaque. (More on the left side than the right side.).    He also had me take a stress test which I completed and failed.  I also failed my ECG test.  I was prescribed in addition to meds a statin drug to lower my cholesterol and avoid more plaque from narrowing my arteries even more.  Also another blood pressure medicine to take in the evening before bed.  The doctor was also concerned about my rapid heart rate and shortness of breath.(A-Fib).  It's also quite a challenge because my heart rate drops below 37 periodically throughout the day and reaches over 185 as well.  My new cardiologist scheduled me for surgery on January 12, 2017 at RGH for a cardiac monitor called Reveal LINQ.  It is inserted just over the heart under the skin and monitors my heart rate 24/7 continuously.   It helps with diagnostic and treatments solutions.  The cardiac monitor will alert the physician if a symptom triggers the LINQ.  It offers me a great peace of mind.   My goal is to continue to stay as healthy and active and to do everything in my power to keep the BIG Stroke at bay!  
4 Comments
  • Barbie58
    Barbie58,
    I wanted to add that my Dad had a five by-pass heart surgery 5 years ago. This is my genetic inheritance of plaque in my neck arteries. My wonderful parents are still alive at 83 and 85. They are remarkable. My Dad takes wonderful care of my Mom who is a devastating Stroke survivor. They are my heros.
  • Christinag
    Christinag,
    Barbie you sound like your are in my hometown I had a LINQ at RGH as well. Email me if you want to talk Onehotss@icloud.com Christina G
  • AHA/ASA Sarah Ismail
    AHA/ASA Sarah Ismail,
    Barbie58, It's so important to stay positive in the light of things and encouraged and I am so glad to see that you are doing just that! Wishing you all the best, Sarah
  • Barbie58
    Barbie58,
    Hi Christina. I would love to talk with you. Thank you for reaching out to me. Barbienesser@sirness.com
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