Still in the woods

I had a wee funny turn today, and wanted to share a bit about what happened and what I think about it. September 2020, I had six TIAs over three months, followed by a bilateral, multifocal, cerebellar stroke. I have almost arrived at my second year anniversary, or as I just think of it, another year.

Today, I got up at 9 am, had a coffee, and then by about 10 am, I was ready for some breakfast. After that, I pottered around the house, organising this and that. By about 2 pm, I felt a little exhausted mentally, and took a forty minute nap. By the late afternoon, I had put in a couple of fence posts alongside the pig sty, cut down most of a fruitless wild plum, and fed the pigs some apples. I went upstairs to relax, light the fire and watch an episode of To The Manor Born which has newly arrived on BritBox. As I was lighting the fire and watching Penelope Keith, trying to beguile a crowd of party guests that she had just returned from Spain when she had, in actuality, been lying under a sunlamp in her sitting room for a week, I turned my head and felt disorientated. I wobbled to one side, and felt a discharge of panic start from my feet up to my head. That hot flush of fear that tosses all sense of security into the air. The feeling lasted for about twenty seconds at most. I immediately put myself to bed. I couldn’t relax, I checked my blood pressure, it was okay, pre-high but not ringing any alarm bells. Heart rate was normal but I felt detached and undermined by the experience. I took half a Lorazepam because that’s what I have them for. I was suddenly very tired.

I lay in bed and thought about what had just occurred. The sensation was not unlike the times I had the TIAs. A giddy, whooshing, disorientated wobble. The exhaustion was not unlike when I experienced the first TIA and slept on the couch for several hours. So what just happened? I am on anti-platelet medication, they are not foolproof but better than nothing. I have made satisfactory improvement as far as my personal measurement for improvement goes. I get giddy spells all the time, and I manage them individually.

I lay on the bed and tried to remember if I had experienced anything like that, other than previous TIAs. I couldn’t unequivocally say so. Yet, it felt distinctly different from what I have dealt with along my recovery journey thus far. But is it? Can I recall similar moments or are they lost to memory? Then I thought about what I had been doing. I was crouched in front of the wood burner, my head turned to the left, absorbed in Penelope Keith’s dialogue. I then turned my head back to the fire, I think. Was there a moment when my brain lagged between the two, and it couldn’t make a smooth transition? I did the regular tests, finger-to-nose and finger-to-finger, turned finger slaps on the palm of the other hand, heel up front of leg … all fine, except for when I put heel to toe standing, I felt after ten seconds, my body drifting to the left. My head was drained after the experience. Did I do too much today? Was I thinking too much? Have I been letting too much stimulus into my mind? Is a good night’s sleep, the answer?

I won’t know until tomorrow, but this wee blip has been the first slightly worrying moment in about six months. I am a lot more in control now, which is good. I am not letting it stress me, but I am on high alert, and certainly intrigued as to what it might be, and how I can avoid or confront such moments as I drag my feet through the recovery process. So, how do I feel now? My head is a little discombulated, and I am wobblier than usual. Nothing is screaming out to me that I have definitely had another TIA, I am a little suspicious about it though. I don’t feel physically or mentally comfortable, but this may be the aftershock of panic and anxiety.

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Possibly a panic attack? But maybe not, you need looking over by a professional.
Your expertise, together with your personal appraisal are not enough for a diagnosis.
Even to a medical person simply looking at some symptoms might not be enough to properly evaluate the situation.
An instant answer might not be possible.
It would be wise not to proceed with only guesses for explanation.
Speaking up and saying your piece is probably a very good idea though . . .

I hope the new day is better for you.

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@Rups hi Rups I agree with @Bobbi you are quite an expert but you certainly need to seek help.

You always give us answers and we know you are very well read up on strokes, and your experience is vast after everything you have been through.

I hope it was a panic attack (not really I wish it hadn’t happened to you) please let us know how you get on over next 24 hours.

I wish you lots of luck :four_leaf_clover: thinking of you Loraine

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It definitely was not a panic attack, I’ve lived with those for about twenty years now, but this morning my blood pressure tested high, so I will contact my GP tomorrow and try and work out what is going on.

Hi Rups, no advice, sorry. But wishing you, all the best. David.

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Thanks Lorraine, not sure they will do a lot, but I will present myself to my GP for a check-up. Apart from an MRI, there’s no way of detecting another TIA. My consultant advised to return to hospital if any acute changes occurred. I wouldn’t call what happened acute, but it was a little unnerving. The thing is, I have had a fairly good run with symptoms over the last six months, I need to read back through my stroke diary to check if I have felt like that before. We tend to forget the troubled moments as we move forward, and when they resurface it can be a case of the shock of the new.

@Rups that sounds like a good plan.

I hope you find something in your notes and if you don’t you should at least let your GP know.

Hope you feel better soon it’s rubbish when this has happened to you especially after all you’ve already experienced.

Sending positivity and hope your ok as the day unfolds. Keep us posted please . Best wishes Loraine :hugs:

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@Rups Let us know how you get on. I hope you get more settled soon.

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do at least let your GP know about this. A frightening experience even if a one off

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@Rups hope you are feeling a bit better now. I agree with others about getting checked over. You can never be too careful. If it is a TIA (I hope not) rather than just over doing it then they need to know in case some meds need adjusting.

Look after yourself and hope it’s something and nothing for you.
Best wishes

Ann

Shwmae Ann, not feeling too bad today, a little rattled from yesterday. It may have just been a moment. Rather than overdoing things, I suspect it may have been because I was so absorbed in what was happening on the telly, that when I turned my head to concentrate back to lighting the fire, my brain lagged and I was in a crouching position which often is a little wobbly for me at the best of times. That’s my immediate theory.

I looked back over my stroke diary and, boy, what I a mess I was in, everyday. I feel a bit better about yesterday because reading my daily experiences over the first year of stroke recovery, there were many times I suspected a TIA, but because I had a second MRI close to a year after the stroke, and it showed no further damage, I am somewhat eased that, although, I still jump at shadows, at least I am not jumping at shadows every few days.

I am still going to get checked-up by my GP, but I know there is very little they can do about it unless certain I have had a TIA, and that would require an MRI. They won’t do that for someone without it being considered urgent or potentially serious. My second MRI took six months to organise.

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@Rups glad you’re feeling better today. Crouching makes me very wobbly too. Its amazing the things we used to do without a second thought that we really have to be aware of now.
Pleased you’re going to get a GP check up.
Look after yourself xx

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@Rups i bet it was scary reading back in your diary. Glad you feel a bit ok today and even better your getting checked out. Life’s a b*<$h at times

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Hope all goes well Rups. Possibly a panic attack.

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Hi Rups a month behind you on stroke front but had an out of the blue experience a couple of weeks ago which I felt should consult Doctor over. I put it down to over doing physical activities and mental with a bit of emotion turmoil thrown into mix. Went to bed late, never have trouble going to sleep. Woke, turned my head to side and felt like I had a cannon ball in head rolling and felt giddy, got to sleep again,almost immediately,woke again-turned my head other way and experienced cannon ball rolling again but this time it was if it was pulling my head down into mattress a weird feeling. Got to sleep again then up for my early morning pee giddy and wobbled my way to toilet. Since stroke always have to sit down felt a bit nauseous for minute or two, back to bed. Up at seven to make cup of tea still a bit giddy after breakfast things settled down. Took blood pressure ,low readings and rest of day not usual self. Since being stroked had the usual panic attack a lot of us have,few weeks after thinking I’d had another, caused by depression and anxiety. Since then mood swings but nothing like the recent experience. Chatted it over with doctor,overdoing it on both fronts with a little emotion and low blood pressure probably the cause. Interestingly he suggested that maybe I could come off one of my pills. So told me to stop taking one but keep taking BP and book in for blood test, then he will decide if I can stay off it. Have felt for while now if I could crack the balancing act between physical and mental activity I’d be in a much better place. Still have the odd giddy spell and what gets me down is problem with vision combined thick head. Are we running when we should be taking little steps. I’m a young at heart 73 and some days know I’ve been stupid.

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Pleased you’re feeling better today, that would have been a shock

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Hi @Rups
Hope things continue to settle for you and that the GP is thorough and gives you no cause for concern. From personal experience panic attacks, as I’m sure you are aware, give very real physical symptoms. We stroke survivors unwittingly second guess every scenario, believing the stroke is behind each and every aberration in action, thought and deed. You are absolutely right to get things checked out, wishing you well, and hoping for a reassuring outcome, Julia x

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Shwmae @Pds, the trouble with cerebellar stroke, and I’ve discussed it with other cerebellar stroke survivors, is that the post stroke symptoms mimic the pre-stroke symptoms. After yesterday, I did feel a bit better today but my symptoms have been worse, now this may be because I’m heading down a poorly week, which I do have as part of my recovery cycle, better week and then poorly week. But, one can also think that my condition today is a result of a TIA, there’s the rub, and it makes for quite a topsy-turvy world at times.

Low blood pressure can cause giddiness, mine was rather high this morning, but it may just be a spike. Consultant said to me, ‘I wouldn’t bother checking your blood pressure at home, I’ve found it doesn’t help.’ I also checked my partner’s blood pressure, which was pre-high, and then I checked my youngest son who had excellent blood pressure.

Sorry to hear of your cannon ball head. Last two days, my head has been a bit off.

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