PFO and Stroke

I had a stroke 2 years ago, collapsing one morning with left side paralysis and lost sight in my left eye…. I was lucky, I recovered within days and regained my fitness… I was a triathlete and my fitness saved me and supported my quick recovery… I continue to regain my fitness, I’m not sure I will ever get back to where I was but I’m thankful to be alive and seeing my children grow up. The mental side and coming to terms with it has been the hardest, the biggest battle for me. I couldn’t understand why, I was fit and strong, low cholesterol, no issues with blood pressure, weight excellent… all was good, I was a good triathlete… why? I have since found out I have a PFO and this was the underlying reason… out of nowhere after 46 years it found me out!!! I’m on clopidogrel blood thinner and other meds now and all seems ok… but my cardiologist has suggested I have the operation to close the PFO and I’m very very undecided. I see the opportunity to potentially sort the underlying problem but the operation comes with risks… at the same time I’m managing everything, keeping fit, eating well and never miss my meds, so why tinker with anything. I guess I’m hoping to see if anyone in the community has been faced with this decision and how they handled it etc… I have a wonderful family and a good life and I guess I feel blessed each day I have with them. As I say the mental side has been and continues to be the greatest battle… thank you…

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Hi @Fuzzysight44, welcome to the community, so pleased you’re making great strides with your physical recovery.

Unfortunately there’s not always an answer to the ‘why’ question, stroke doesn’t discriminate, there’s no rhyme or reason as to whom it chooses.

It’s wonderful that you have a loving family around you for support and strength.

I agree with you that the emotional aftermath of stroke can be difficult to reconcile, I’ve been talking to a counsellor to assist with working through my issues following stroke, it helps me.

I don’t have a PFO myself, so unfortunately can’t share a personal experience, I would suggest talking to your partner/family, but ultimately the decision will be yours to make. There will be others on the forum that will have had the op and may be able to share their thoughts with you on what route they chose to take.

Wishing you all the very best, take care.

Mahoney, thanks for the reply and I hope your recovery is going well. Agree very much with your thoughts and the mental side, the fear of the unexpected and when or will it happen again.
My very best wishes…

Hi Fuzzysight 44, like yourself I was fit, spent 24 years in the military running many promotion course with lots of phys and October 2020, got up to go and get a drink and that was when I had my first stroke. People who knew me couldn’t believe it and neither could I. I knew something was wrong as I couldn’t speak and my wife called 999. Started training again against my wife’s issues but I needed it for my mental health. I then had another July 2021 at work after teaching first aid, again only loss of speech but really messed with my mental health and hand writing is terrible and have my wife write letters and cards for me. But recovery this time is slow but back to work, and slight embarrassment with slurred speech when talking to client and operators. It now turns out I had 27 AF attacks on a reporting period with a heart monitor. again they say due to being fit it what probably saved me, As you say just blessed to be alive and seeing kids and grand kids grow up. All the best

John, thank you for the response. Really sorry to hear your story and your battles… You think strokes affect those with poor diet, health etc but strokes seem very indiscriminate.
I hope you continue to recover and the AF can be managed, I’m sure it’s a huge worry and I know the mental side was my biggest and still remains a large battle.
I have my PFO closure in a month and to say I’m extremely nervous is an understatement…. I’m so unsure whether to leave alone as all seems ok at the moment or to go for it…
In the meantime, stay positive and I wish you the very best … David.

Good luck and be interested how it runs out with the PFO as that what caused mine after an initial TIA… Followed 10 years later with a stroke despite being on meds etc and very active.

Hi, thanks for the reply and hope all is well. Did you manage to get your PFO closed…. I’m in for the operation in early March… Many thanks again… Best wishes…

After a stroke in 2009 I had a 12 minute operation to close a PFO at the London Heart Hospital.
I was blissfully asleep at the time and the closure was done with a catheter via a vein in my groin.
Now on medication to prevent any further blood clot and almost as good as before except for some peripheral vision defects and minor balance problems ,both of which I have adapted to over time.
Good luck with your journey.

Hi, thanks for the reply and I hope you continue to recover, my very best wishes. I’m due to have my operation to close the PFO in March and in the future I’m hoping I can come off my meds …. That’s my big hope, but I’m getting conflicting info on whether you can stop the blood thinners or not… Again, my sincere best wishes…

Your story copy’s mine. I was a martial arts instructor and fitness instructor along with a door supervisor so I had to keep myself in shape. and then out of the blue aged 27 and i had my first stroke, and again another one at 29 h,heart attack at 31 and then my 3rd stroke at 35 and thats when they discovered my PFO. going through all that mental anguish once was hard enough to but go through all that again for me has been bloody awful so it was without question to have the OP my daughter was 2 when I had my first stroke and all this heart ache started and she has been great through my other “incidents”. and not to mention my forth stroke last year after my covid Jab, which they was sure it was another PFO (it was nt although I am convinced it was either because of the Astra Zenica jab and my blood disorder or because of work Load!).
yes I am the extreme to you but I was rather fit and healthy, non smoker careful eater and lived a clean life style same size and physique to Jean claude van damme.LOL
but my point is this; why put yourself, family friends and loved ones through all these feelings again? when you can have a simple OP and yes there are risks, but its a regular op which is performed many times just about 1 hour and its over, and a couple of days to recover too. I would not hesitate again and again. thats my view point!

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@hamesie73 gosh welcome to forum you’ve been through such a lot very young. But sound positive and onwards and upwards attitude is catching! Well done you your family must be relieved now. I wish you and your family lots of luck in the future.

I had a stroke 4 weeks after Astra Zeneca last year the run up to the stroke I was very ill 7 hours after the jab. Though they say it wasn’t the AZ. As it wasn’t the Cerabal Venus sinus (I think otherwise) . Loraine

That’s a tough journey you’ve been on, and I hope the future is bright and stroke free… I’m in for my PFO closure in 3 weeks and after much deliberation I feel it is right way forward. My thanks for sharing your story and thoughts and I wish you the very best in the future… Take it steady… best wishes.

Hi Lorraine, i owe it all to my wife she has been the strongest part of me, ( even when I gave up) she was holding me and everything together! making sure our daughter saw me every day and explaining why i was in hospital and not coming home to play. she was and is amazing to keep me after what we have been through, and I know i have put her through plenty more than most relationships could with stand. My 4th stroke is one of my hardest challenges and battles for after effects which i have never suffered before, Paralysis, fatigue and cognitive thinking are the worst, along with holding and finding a job so we can pay this damn mortgage! just 50k to go despite being here 27 years.
as regards to AZ jab causing the jab? everything points to it as all the test came back negative including genetics and and DNA, but financially they cant confirm it, I felt rough for 7 hours after the jab although I was still climbing trees and pruning throughout the day along with the usual weekend chores. But make no bones about it. i was ready to give up and through the towel in after my last one! My wife and daughter are my strength. i dont want to do it anymore its all way too hard for me

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good for you matey very pleased to hear that Fuzzy. X

@hamesie73 cherish her and your family. You’ve come along way. Your family , wife is your rock your very lucky so never throw the towel in for her sake just be thankful your support is extra special. I do believe mine was caused through AZ. I wish you more recovery and keep going. Loraine :blush:

I do and they know it, but they also know I have a constant battle with depression too unfortunately.
many thanks Loraine.X :kissing_heart:

@hamesie73 keep going best wishes Loraine :blush:

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