Saturday, July 20, 2013

When a Stroke is definitely not a joke

Okay I guess this is a bit of a serious post and I am not embarrassed to talk about it or anything like that...the only thing that embarrassed me about this situation is that I didn't even know it was happening when it did.  I am not looking for the sympathy card here but am hoping that maybe sharing my experience might help someone else out there. :-)
First of all I have often said that I am so dingy that I fart bells.  Known fact. :)
Second of all.... I am one who tends to simply blow things off.... if it is not a really bad thing.. I just tend to wait for it to go away.  I don't notice things all that well and with the situation of my arthritis and fibro for all of these years I am one who believes in the power of positive thinking and I believe that laughter heals so many things.
Another known fact--- I laugh a lot at the stupidest things and I don't pay attention to a lot of things.  And yet I've never been accused of being ignorant....once in awhile sadly mistaken perhaps LMAO...but I've always been a fairly intelligent individual.
Okay so enough already with the background carp.
Awhile back I went through about a week of leg and feet cramps and I hadn't been feeling all that well and had been having a lot of numbness in my arms and hands off and on.  Not all that unusual.... the arthritis in my neck causes a lot of pressure sometimes and it causes numbness.
So I wake up one Sunday morning and for no apparent reason at all... the left side of my tongue was completely numb.  I didn't really feel anything else out of the ordinary except for the fact that I had this weird numb tongue on one side that felt like I had been to the dentist or something.  So of course at this point what do I do? Like many peeps in this day and age....I googled "my tongue is numb on one side"  or something like that and of course a wide range of what could be going on filled up the screen ranging from minor to serious issues.
But knowing me...because I have read that maybe it isn't all that serious....I just blow it off and go about my day just waiting for it to simply go away..... and nothing else unusual happened that day except I felt pretty tired and went to bed early and didn't seem to sleep very well.
The next morning when I wake up I am feeling groggy and a little weird but nothing highly unusual.... I'm thinking it is because I did not sleep very well.  I get on the computer and things seem a bit blurry but once again I am thinking it is because I am tired.  Then about 30 minutes later..... the right side of my face on my jaw starts going numb and then I start to feel a throbbing numbness on top of my right eyebrow that kind of feels like a rock or something is on my head and I am looking out underneath it or something.  So I get worried at this point and call Kaiser.  
They end up patching me through to a nurse who walks me through these questions like "Can I touch my chin to my I losing power on one side....can I lift my arms over my head?" yada yada... and I must have passed her test because she simply told me that if my symptoms got worse to go to the hospital and that if my tongue was still numb the next morning to make a same day appointment with my doc. I looked in the face didn't seem all wicky whack.... I didn't really notice anything.... hubby didn't notice anything.... and finally the numbness in my jaw stopped being so strong and I had some weird itching on my forehead and under my nose and it seemed like I had some difficulty swallowing later that eve....but I have acid reflux and marked it up to that.
I go to bed early and wake up the next morning feeling like crap (like a bulldozer had run me over) but went to work and made a doctors' appointment for 2 that afternoon. My tongue was still numb and my lips and face were numb but more of a tingling type of numb.
When I get to the doc he tells me that he can clearly see I had had a mild stroke. My mouth on the right side was drooped about an inch and when I really looked (I mean really looked it was clear as heck....yep it sure was. )  They sent me for an brain tumors....(insert joyful joyful hollah! here )
Doc told me to take a baby aspirin each day and did a cholesterol test and said mine was perfect but put me on Lipitor as well because he said it helps prevent strokes. My potassium level was way low and I ate a bunch of bananas for a week and retook that test and it is back to normal now.  I had an ultrasound on my carteroid ? arteries a few days ago and haven't gotten the results back yet but doc seems to think that my blood pressure got too high and caused this minor stroke.
High blood pressure runs in my family.  My dad has it and both of my brothers have it.  I have been taking meds for irregular blood pressure since I was about 40...and it started when I was very healthy....140 lbs. and very active. Mine fluctuates between too high and too low.  And my meds have changed on and off in the past 12 or so years.
But I know now why they call it the "silent killer".  It has never been all that important to me because it is something that doesn't cause you apparent pain or that prevents you from getting through the day. And me there I was sitting in my desk chair chatting with the nurse and even laughing in the midst of having a stroke .
So in the few weeks since this has brain seems to be recovering pretty well.  I am still really tired.  I still find myself struggling for words and certain phrases when it all used to simply flow freely out of no where... I have short term memory lapses... finally after a very frustrating time for me in trying to use the key board and type things--- these past few days I have noticed that--I can actually type paragraphs without having to go back every other word and fix all the wrong typing by seeing all of the reds in the spell check.  And my family and friends around me can tell that I am doing waaaaaay better than I was the first few days after it happened. 
Maybe most people rush right to the doc or hospital at the onset of numbness. Maybe others like me are not going to be alarmed if it doesn't feel life threatening. So I am sharing this to let anyone out there know that if you experience a numb tongue and also have blood pressure issues.....get your arse to the hospital. IMMEDIATELY---Just do it.
I can't say that I have had any sort of an epiphany after this experience.  I have however purchased a blood pressure monitor and take my blood pressure twice a day now....and so far it is in the low 100's over low 70's.  This is where it usually is and has been whenever it has been checked over the years and when it isn't the meds have been changed. All I know now is that I need to stay on top of it and monitor my blood pressure daily because this has happened! We simply never know what is going to happen.  Doc says that we are going to give it a few weeks and if I am still feeling like I am struggling brain wise that occupational therapy is an option.  I just thank my lucky stars that it was a minor stroke. I am glad that even though I have a few health issues that I remain as active as possible and take pretty good care of myself.  And I know that keeping love and laughter in my life is the thing that truly allows me to thrive in any given situation :)
Sorry about the ramble....that's just another known fact about me hee-hee.
Here's a pic of me and my Chloe girl shortly after the stoke happened.  And my face was "working" when I smiled...and didn't look quite so droopy.  I say "Cheers to smiles" :)
It's the best thing we can do with our faces me thinks :)
#numbness #numb tongue #stroke symptoms


  1. I don't think it looks very droopy at all. Chloe sure is cute. I hope you get to feeling better.


  2. Aweee...thanks Puss! my face worked okay even then when I smiled:) and didn't look that much different when I wasn't smiling...I felt really dumb tho---when I looked in the mirror before going to the doc and didn't notice anything!
    Thanks for commenting and in my is friends like you who keep it real for me :)

  3. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story and making myself more aware of these things. Honestly, I would had done the same darn thing! I never knew it could creep up on yah like that. I am so glad it wasn't a serious one and I wish you continued good health and recovery. ((hugs))