Monday, July 07, 2008

Life Post-Stroke is Different, but Good

After my stroke, I learned several things. In the hospital, they did all sorts of tests on me - CAT scans, an MRI, ultrasounds, plus blood sugar tests several times every day.

From the tests I discovered that I have a carotid artery that is completely blocked, and the other carotid that is 60% blocked. That sounded pretty scary, until my doctor explained that one can function very well with just one working carotid, as it will provide enough blood flow to the brain to accomplish everything needed. At the same time, the partially blocked carotid needs to be maintained, so I'm now on blood thinners to make sure all works well. In a few weeks I'll be seeing a vascular surgeon about the carotids, but for now, my doctor is satisfied that all is well.

Another thing I found out is that I've actually had four strokes. Apparently, from the MRI there are four spots in my brain which show stroke damage of some kind. My doctor, an internist, wasn't able to tell me more, but when I see the vascular surgeon I'll have questions. For now, I've decided not to worry about it - I can't change it, and my brain is working well right now. Whatever will be, will be . . .

I also learned that my blood sugar was way too high, even though I was faithfully taking my prescribed meds every day. Unfortunately, those meds just weren't doing the job, so now I'm on additional medicines that help the first meds keep my blood sugars lower. I'm doing well, my blood sugars are much lower than before, but I'm still not quite at a level that makes my doctor happy.

So the next step is to get some exercise. Exercise has proven to be one of the best ways to lower one's sugar. I've been overly tired these past few months, probably from not realizing my sugar was so out of whack, and I haven't been doing much exercise-wise. So I'm now going to start slowly, mostly walking, with the idea of building up a regular walking program.

Although I'd been taking meds for my inactive thyroid, it just wasn't enough. That was also part of my tiredness - my thyroid wasn't working very well. My doctor has doubled my thyroid meds, and I'm getting some stamina and strength back. It's going to take awhile for it all to make a difference in how I feel, but I've already noticed some improvement.

One of the things which came as a surprise was that when my blood sugar is over 180 (90-100 is about the norm), it makes me go to the bathroom much more frequently. That explains all those nights when I had to pee four to six times; I didn't get much sleep those nights. Now that my blood sugar is lower, I'm only getting up one or two times a night - hurray for a good night's sleep!

Thank you to all who have written such kind notes and well-wishes. I cannot begin to tell you how much they mean to me. Your support has been absolutely wonderful, and I cherish you all as my dear, dear friends.

Special thanks to Sybille Yates for starting a Facebook group "Get well soon Beth (Loongirl) Pulsipher!"

What a hoot - with an invitation from Sybille, I even joined my own Get Well group!

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