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Monday, November 05, 2012

I Think I'll Live For Now

Take a good close look above.  That's what not one, but both, of my carotid arteries apparently looks like.  At the top of the carotid, just at the base of where the carotid enters the skull.  The above scenario is not good.  It allows for lessened blood flow and it also poses high risk for blood clots or complete obstruction causing a stroke.  Or if a clot was allowed to form and then move into the brain....well, let's not talk about that. 

You'll remember my earlier troubles and the diagnoses of Horner's Syndrome a few weeks back.  One of the many reasons for Horner's to develop is, indeed, a dissection of the carotid arteries.  I had hopes for a lesser-impactful, happier shall we say, reason.  Last Thursday and Friday, we had our entire condominium returned to hardwood floors.  There were four workers here, the entire place was in disarray and sawdust, and the workers headed home after finishing a beautiful job.  I went to Portland Providence Medical Center for my CT scan of the brain, neck and chest.  I headed home and began helping clean the condo and putting things back in place.  And the neurologist called.  "I'm advising you to return to the Emergency Room immediately..."  What?  Huh?  I feel good.  Can't I wait until tomorrow?  Or Monday when my doctor's office opens?  Before long, two more doctors had called with the same recommendation.....return to the ER at once.  You are running a high risk of stroke.  Now, I had not been too worried about this whole thing until right at that point.  I had been optimistic and pretty upbeat.  But suddenly I'm on the internet reading about emergency surgery to put in a stent.  And he said it was both sides.  And that it was significant.  You can read about the whole affair over at LoverBoy's site here.  So I showered and headed back to the hospital fully expecting emergency surgery.  I found out later from the Cardiovascular Surgeon that he had been alerted and was ready for me in the operating room.  I had very few symptoms.  And my Horner's Syndrome symptoms from a few weeks ago had improved and were actually almost gone.  The doctor's began coming in and you know how that goes.  I answered the same medical questions ad nausea for three days repeatedly.  They agreed that the surgery was not necessary at this point.  I began blood thinning medication to reduce the chance of clots.  One of the thinners is an injection that I'm giving to myself.  The other is the world-famous Coumadin, or Warfarin.  It is powerful and has to be monitored many times a week to start with.  I'll have my blood drawn 2-3 times a week and they make adjustments to the medication -- they don't want the blood to thick or too thin.  Huge risks of bleeding...externally or internally. 

My conversation with my new friend the Cardiovascular Surgeon was really a good one.  Don't tell anyone, but he likes me.  He told me so.  He said that he enjoys being around guys like me who are positive, energetic, go to the gym, eat right, don't smoke and take an active role in their health care.  And he went on to say that he fully expects that my dissection will repair itself over the next six months. Wow.  Really?  I guess I thought that I would be on blood thinners for the remainder of my life.  But the doc says no.  Repeat CT scan in six months to check it out again.  I think the tears in my eyes alerted him to how happy I was simply to be alive.  And to hear his good news made it just that much better.  He patted me on the knee as he walked out. 

So I'm home this morning.  Getting ready to shoot myself in the stomach with the needle of blood thinning meds.  No weight lifting.  Super easy, no running, on the treadmill.  And no work this week until the blood thinners have a chance to get up to speed and evened out.  I'm nervous.  I keep thinking of those two carotid arteries which are each of our lifelines to being alive.  It makes me super nervous.  I think of my family history and how I've already outlived several men in my family.  And how my father had two heart attacks at my age.  It's unsettling and I have a hard time shaking the thoughts.  But I am alive.  And I have the best pooch and husband in the world.  And the friends!  The friends!  Facebook, texts, voice mails and emails clearly indicate that I have a group of the world's most amazing friends.  And I thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.  Oh, here I go again crying.  I've gotta go. 


Brettcajun said...

You get better boo! Glad Blair has been so helpful. BIG HUG.

anne marie in philly said...

we love you, dear. and if that small sentence makes you cry, it's because it's true. mason and blair don't want to lose you, and neither do I.

{{{{{hugs}}}}} and smooches and healing thoughts from the cold east coast!

RAD said...

Love u long time-- I know you will be ok... XOXO boo

Ur-spo said...

I thought I left a comment already - I am following you on Facebook. I am glad to see you have such love and support in all you are experiencing. Please keep us posted and remember always you are loved.