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Stroke or not..?
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Stroke or not..?

This Friday will be one year since I had this attack... I call it an attack because as much as it sounds like a stroke, even my doctors don't believe I had a stroke.

I was officially diagnosed as having had a stroke a month or so after the attack, but only after my doctor decided it couldn't be anything else. But personally, I'm not so sure it was a stroke or TIA.


I was hanging out with my boyfriend enjoying the day. We got ready to go to his mom's for dinner when we lightly knocked heads {barely hurt}. But I immediately started to feel funny... light headed and fuzzy, hard to describe. It sort of slowed me down but I got what I needed and got in the car. Five min. or so after the initial knocking of heads, we were in the car heading to his parents... when my vision became doubled. It wasn't side to side double, it was on top of each other {two stop signs in a vertical line} and an annoying {not really painful} headache. I just passed it off and we ate dinner. It lasted about 30 min {maybe less}. We went back to his place and watched Water Boy. Near the end of the movie {maybe 15 min. left} I noticed I was feeling wierd {tingly on the right half of my body} and my right hand was very heavy and that heavy feeling was moving up my arm. Pretty soon {1 min.} I couldn't move my arm. I can't say if before that or after that I lost function of my right leg/foot as I was curled up and just never noticed any difference. But after my arm went numb I noticed the same tingly feeling in the right half of my face and then nothing {took maybe a min or less}.

I ignored the feelings for the rest of the movie and at some point after it my boyfriend looked over and asked if I like it... I answered. I realized my words were slurred but ignored... problem was he couldn't. He noticed that the right half of my face was... dead {lips curled down, eye drooping and no 'real' movement of my mouth when I talked}. I told him about my arm and he got worried. I told him to ignore it and he kinda did. He went and let our dog out and we sat and watched tv {5 min. or so} when he decided to question me some more. So we talked, I stated I was fine {even tho I was still horribly slurring my speech and still NO function in my right arm} and got up to let our dog in. Problem was... I crumbled down into the wall as my right leg/foot was gone too.  That's when he told me to sit down and call my dad.

I'm stubborn, I insisted I was fine and could let the dog in... failed and just stumbled out front { a lot closer than the back door} and sat on our porch and called my dad {he's an ER doctor}. That's when he told me to hang up and call 911 as it sounded like I was having a stroke...

By the time the paramedics had gotten there it had been about 20-30 min {maybe more} since the beginning of the whole tingly, lose of functions began. But by the time they got there I had the functions back but still weary on my feet. So they helped me into the ambulance where I went to the hospital. While in the ambulance I got a major headache/migraine that was killing me and all I wanted to do was sleep!  The ER had two suggestions, a stroke or a migraine problem I can't remember the name of that can cause the exact same symptoms as a stroke. They did 2 CT {one when I first got in and one 30min later} but nothing abnormal showed up and they sent me upstairs.

I hung out in the hospital for three days as they did lab work and more CT's, CAT scans and a lumbar puncture {rule out meningitis}. But the only thing that showed up was restricted blood flow in an artery in my neck {one leading up to the brain} and nothing else. So once everything was cleared, they released me and told me to follow up with a neurologist.

My basic info is I have a congenital heart defect {pulminary atresia and a hypoblastic right ventrical} that was treated with a fontan. I was 20 at the time of the stroke {now 21} and a smoker. I was on birth control pills at the time as well, which they considered a big risk because of the heart problem.

Since I've been to my neurologist multiple, he's come to the conclusion of it having been a stroke. His reason being I had no headache problems before the attack {slightly ruled out the migraine condition} plus he had ordered another CT which showed a grey matter in my left thalmus {which as he said can/does occur after a stroke}. The only problem he has was most strokes don't effect the thalmus, so he determined it to be a result of my heart condition as my heart condition means I don't pump as much blood as others... yadi yadi yah.  So they put me on blood thinners to see if that helps {since the CT while in the ER did find restricted blood flow in an artery in my neck}. The restricted blood flow could have been a clot that caused me to have a stroke.

All in All... I'm not completely convinced. And I know my neurologist isn't either. He put me on Topamax incase it was the migraine condition but even after my cardiologist {they both worked together to 'solve' my problem} 'convinced' him it was a stroke caused by my heart problem... he {neurologist} wants me to stay on the Topamax. I guess i'm glad he kept me on it, because I will have a cluster of debilitating migraines once a month {I'll get one a day for about a week once a month}.

Anyways... I'm just still not convinced it was a stroke... I was wondering what other people feel and I know, keep talking to my doctor which I plan on doing later this month.
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2 Comments Post a Comment
Avatar f tn
Hi Tezz
How long did the symptoms last? Have you been left with any weakness, confusion, word finding difficulties etc? Your symptoms certainly sound TIA/stroke related. If it's a TIA your symptoms should have cleared within 24 hours.
I had a stroke in June caused by a dissection of the carotid artery. if you have narrowing of the arteries to your brain at such a young age you are at high risk of stroke especially wiht a heart condition and should probably continue with blood thinners. Were both arteries narrowed or just one?
Hope you are doing ok.
Avatar n tn
It was one artery that was narrowed, barely connected actually. I had the fontan procedure when I was little {three step process}.  
As for long term side effects to the stroke attack thingy I had, yes. For about a week I had pretty bad balance that got better quickly, but I also had a very bad speech impediment and couldn't find words to describe something very simple. I worked at a gas station and often asked people if they wanted 'crebit or lebit' {credit or debit} and fumbled words a lot. As for now, my balance is back and my speech is ok... unless I really get into a conversation and stop thinking about what i'm going to say, then I often lose words or mix them up.
I do know my cardiologist really thinks it was a stroke, but my neurologist was very unsure and now he's just going along with the stroke because he says he's ruled out all other possibilities... which is why he keeps me on the migraine meds for the migraines I don't have
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