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So, I had a stroke. Now what?

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So, I had a stroke. Now what?

Old 01-31-19, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by eatontkd View Post
Argh! The frustration of waiting.

I met with my cardiologist today. He thinks I'm a good candidate for the corrective procedure. But, he won't continue till I get clearance from yet another Neurologist!? I know I have good health insurance. (Believe me, I pay enough for it...) But I feel like my insurance is being charged for extra opinions so everybody's buddy can make money here.

Sorry.

Had to vent.
Whoa ... I would have expected you to have already had the procedure. My understanding is that it is not that invasive ... they use a little umbrella shaped thingy to plug the hole, and it is inserted through the femoral artery. Given the stroke risks, I can't imagine why they *wouldn't* approve the procedure. That's bizarre.

Sorry, man.
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Old 02-01-19, 07:17 AM
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Wednesday. Wednesday FEBRUARY 20 is the appointment with my, yet another-neurologist. Essentially an almost 3 week wait till I can get the go ahead from this Doctor. I really don't understand what's going on here. I feel like my life's on hold till this procedure is completed. Not being able to work to speed and as much is starting to have monetary effects.

Now, what did that Doctor say about STRESS??!!
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Old 02-20-19, 05:17 PM
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Well guys, I had my appointment with my neurologist today. I am not, NOT a candidate for the surgical procedure for my heart. Both he and the cardiologist agree that the main issue is the plaque in my posterior arteries. They are near 50% closed. Nothing can be done surgically so it's a regime of meds for me. I'm bummed for sure. I'm not convinced that the medication regime will take care of everything. Thanks for letting me vent. I'm trying to put a positive front out there for my wife...
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Old 02-20-19, 11:04 PM
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What meds are they recommending to clear the arteries or at least control further occlusion?
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Old 02-21-19, 02:36 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by eatontkd View Post
Well guys, I had my appointment with my neurologist today. I am not, NOT a candidate for the surgical procedure for my heart. Both he and the cardiologist agree that the main issue is the plaque in my posterior arteries. They are near 50% closed. Nothing can be done surgically so it's a regime of meds for me. I'm bummed for sure. I'm not convinced that the medication regime will take care of everything. Thanks for letting me vent. I'm trying to put a positive front out there for my wife...
It is great to read you today. Yesterday I looked to see if you had posted recently and were still OK. I can't make any comments on your doctors' findings other than to take the pills you are subscribed like a religion. And make sure the check-ups have minimal times in between to maintain and build both your and your wife's confidence. And find and repair any admiral developments.
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Old 02-21-19, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by eatontkd View Post
Well guys, I had my appointment with my neurologist today. I am not, NOT a candidate for the surgical procedure for my heart. Both he and the cardiologist agree that the main issue is the plaque in my posterior arteries. They are near 50% closed. Nothing can be done surgically so it's a regime of meds for me. I'm bummed for sure. I'm not convinced that the medication regime will take care of everything. Thanks for letting me vent. I'm trying to put a positive front out there for my wife...

Wow .. that sucks! Waited all that long for that! I presume they still believe you still have the hole in your heart, but that it isn't large enough to be a problem? Can you get a second opinion, or does the fact that cardio and neuro both agree qualify as a second opinion?

I'd want to know why they think the plaque is the "main problem." For example ... Is the place in your brain where the stroke occurred somewhere that that a clot or other obstruction was more likely to have originated in the posterior artery instead of bypassing your lungs?
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Old 02-22-19, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
lol ... it just sounded soo familiar. My friend was ridiculously healthy and disciplined. And he only discovered the problem in a pre-op physical exam for a shoulder issue, and then realized he had symptoms that went ignored or undiagnosed for a long time. Fact is, the shoulder issue may have saved his life.

The good news is that the surgery was fairly routine and simple, and fixed his problem well. You'll be back on the bike in no time! Yea baby.
I was born with a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect). A/K/A a hole between my ventricles. That caused my septum to sag, resulting in minor aortic valve "leakage." It was detected right away. I was told that when I was 30 or 35 I would likely have to have surgery because, as time goes by, the sagging usually becomes worse, causing the leakage to become worse. That time came when I was 25, likely because of all the riding. I was in prime shape. What irony.

In any event, when they opened me up to patch the ventricular hole and give me an artificial heart valve they found a tiny hole between my atria that had never been detected. It was so small that no patch was needed. Surgeon simply sewed it closed. Pretty interesting that it was never detected. My conditions was one that demonstrated the abilities of ultrasound machines quite well. So for a couple of years in college I was a demonstration subject at mini-trade shows. I would lie on a table for two hours while techs from the different machine manufacturers demonstrated their machines' capabilities. My chest would end up coated in that gel, but $25/hr. was good money for a college student back in the mid-80s. Despite receiving the equivalent of dozens of ultrasound procedures, no on ever detected the atrial hole. I also had three cardiac caths (ages 6, 12 and 25) that never revealed it.
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Old 02-27-19, 09:41 AM
  #58  
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Thanks for all the ongoing concern fellas. I honestly appreciate it.

After all the MRI's (4, 2 with contrast), CT's (3, 1 with contrast), blood work (I literally lost count!), and observation, my Doctors all conclude that the hole in my heart chamber is not significant nor the sinister culprit of my stroke. Only after a special order blood test was it discovered that I have a high amount of Lipoprotein-A. This contributes to plaque in my arteries. Most significantly, the back of the neck where it's, unfortunately, inoperable. At some point it's near 50% closure, bummer. I've been placed on a regime of Atorvastatin, Chlorthalidone and low-dose Aspirin. It's telling that 6 months ago I was haughty about not needing to be on any meds "at my age"! Karma much?

I've been following some blogs and posts regarding strokes. I am very aware of how fortunate I am to have come from this event with only limited after effect. I deal with a slight sight issue, headache and buzzing in my ears. To date, the sight thing has either improved or I'm "learning" to compensate. The headache is the worst offender now. Constant and at different levels from annoyance to "leave me alone"! The difficult thing in all this is the knowledge that there's undoubtedly another stroke in my future. Bugger. My only weapons against it are self-inflicted diet constraints, movement, and pills!

Other than that, I'm cautiously getting back into life. Trying to be even MORE aware of diet and exercise, being faithful to my meds, and aware of true matters.

Hey, stop reading and go for a ride....
Doug

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Old 03-01-19, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by eatontkd View Post
Thanks for all the ongoing concern fellas. I honestly appreciate it.

After all the MRI's (4, 2 with contrast), CT's (3, 1 with contrast), blood work (I literally lost count!), and observation, my Doctors all conclude that the hole in my heart chamber is not significant nor the sinister culprit of my stroke. Only after a special order blood test was it discovered that I have a high amount of Lipoprotein-A. This contributes to plaque in my arteries. Most significantly, the back of the neck where it's, unfortunately, inoperable. At some point it's near 50% closure, bummer. I've been placed on a regime of Atorvastatin, Chlorthalidone and low-dose Aspirin. It's telling that 6 months ago I was haughty about not needing to be on any meds "at my age"! Karma much?

I've been following some blogs and posts regarding strokes. I am very aware of how fortunate I am to have come from this event with only limited after effect. I deal with a slight sight issue, headache and buzzing in my ears. To date, the sight thing has either improved or I'm "learning" to compensate. The headache is the worst offender now. Constant and at different levels from annoyance to "leave me alone"! The difficult thing in all this is the knowledge that there's undoubtedly another stroke in my future. Bugger. My only weapons against it are self-inflicted diet constraints, movement, and pills!

Other than that, I'm cautiously getting back into life. Trying to be even MORE aware of diet and exercise, being faithful to my meds, and aware of true matters.

Hey, stop reading and go for a ride....
Doug
Oh man ... that sucks. So your ordinary blood tests showed no problems, and it wasn't until the stroke that they ordered the test that revealed your high amount of Lipoprotein-A? That's kinda scary. Sheez.

Sounds like you have a treatment plan and you'll be up and about on your bike sooner than later. Good luck to ya.

BTW, with all you've been through, you should treat yourself to riding somewhere warm ... like SoCal. C'mon out sometime and we'll give you a grand tour.
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Old 03-01-19, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
So your ordinary blood tests showed no problems, and it wasn't until the stroke that they ordered the test that revealed your high amount of Lipoprotein-A? ....BTW, with all you've been through, you should treat yourself to riding somewhere warm ... like SoCal. C'mon out sometime and we'll give you a grand tour.
You got it, that pesky Lipoprotein-A was hiding there for along time! Regular blood work doesn't call for it. My other "indicators" where always solid so there was never a need to order the extra test. Fortunately, my stroke event was mild enough that maybe there's a chance to get ahead of this now, I hope.

Now, about that warm weather....
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Old 03-14-19, 12:08 PM
  #61  
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Big day for me: first ride since my stroke! Trust me, not a huge mileage event. But therapeutic in so many ways. Looks like the comeback will be as slow in it's return as a central PA spring. Note to self: probably shouldn't use the single speed to start...

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Old 03-14-19, 05:09 PM
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Nice going! Oy, I love the color of that bike.
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Old 03-14-19, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Cuyuna View Post
My advice is to ignore ANY medical advice you get on the internet, especially on a bicycle forum, and do what your doctors tell you.
This.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:53 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Nice going! Oy, I love the color of that bike.
It's "celery".
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Old 03-15-19, 03:28 PM
  #65  
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70 degrees today!!!

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Old 04-07-19, 10:42 PM
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Just saw this thread, I hope you are making steady progress and still getting on the bicycle.
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Old 04-14-19, 09:50 PM
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I just found this thread. Sorry for your troubles, Eatonkd!


I also just had a minor stroke three weeks ago. It's still considered "cryptogenic" in that they don't know what caused it yet. I'm also on the young side, 58, with my only risk being that I smoke 5 cigarettes a day (in the off season. Lol) and have slightly high blood pressure. (122 over 76, usually.)

I've gotten conflicting info about riding, with my GP telling me "no more than 75% effort!" And the neurologist telling to go ride or work out to capacity. I'm seeing a cardiologist next week, so I guess he'll be the tie breaker?

I'm freaked out that they don't know what caused it, but hoping that the further tests will reveal something, so at least I have a sense of causality and can take appropriate steps beside the handfuls of pills I'm taking.

It's just all so very odd, and I'm basically being treated as the would treat an overweight, diabetic, sedentary, 75 year-old. Just doesn't make sense to me, but I'm following doctor's orders to the letter, anyway.

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Old 04-15-19, 12:51 AM
  #68  
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Holy moly... yet another of us with a brain medical issue. Get well soon, Wheever. And please do let us know, eatontkd how you are recovering and the riding is going on that nifty bike you have!
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Old 04-15-19, 09:24 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Wheever View Post
I've gotten conflicting info about riding, with my GP telling me "no more than 75% effort!" And the neurologist telling to go ride or work out to capacity. I'm seeing a cardiologist next week, so I guess he'll be the tie breaker?
Just a suggestion: make sure your cardiologist is a cyclist, or at least some kind of athlete. Sedentary doctors, IME, don't want you to do anything strenuous. Athletic docs, OTOH, want to help you get back to what you were doing before your event.
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Old 04-15-19, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Just a suggestion: make sure your cardiologist is a cyclist, or at least some kind of athlete. Sedentary doctors, IME, don't want you to do anything strenuous. Athletic docs, OTOH, want to help you get back to what you were doing before your event.

That's a VERY good idea.
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Old 04-16-19, 10:02 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Just a suggestion: make sure your cardiologist is a cyclist, or at least some kind of athlete. Sedentary doctors, IME, don't want you to do anything strenuous. Athletic docs, OTOH, want to help you get back to what you were doing before your event.
Originally Posted by Wheever View Post



That's a VERY good idea.

+2, definitely, from hard earned experiences.

Bill
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Old 04-16-19, 02:46 PM
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Those TIAs, mini-strokes, can be frustrating. My mom experienced many of those over the years. Usually they were diagnosed after the fact from symptoms or brain scans. She usually didn't have any dramatic symptoms and I had to watch for subtle changes in her posture, gait, motor coordination or thinking. She also had dementia so it was often difficult to be sure what was happening and what caused it. She was sedentary, from a culture an era when ladies didn't exert themselves to the point sweating or breathing hard, and resisted physical therapy.

And her older half-brother had several major strokes, with very obvious debilitating symptoms. He recovered from most of those but it was a chore. He also had serious problems with arterial plaque and multiple heart problems.

Offhand those are the only two folks in my family whom I can think of who had those particular health issues. I suppose I'm at some risk but I'm not going to change anything. I already watch my diet pretty carefully, get as much exercise as I can tolerate. No meds for cholesterol or BP yet, and so far no indication of any need for those.

I am a little wary sometimes of doing high intensity interval training, so I usually ease up just short of Zone 5 type efforts. I'm not training for anything. No plans to compete in crits or time trials again. Mostly I just want to be as fit as I can to enjoy group rides without getting dropped and solo rides to occasionally improve my personal bests on Strava. For the sake of preserving my knees I tend to spin more than mash, which may also minimize blood pressure spikes that might be a risk for TIAs.
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Old 04-17-19, 05:38 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Those TIAs, mini-strokes, can be frustrating. My mom experienced many of those over the years. Usually they were diagnosed after the fact from symptoms or brain scans. She usually didn't have any dramatic symptoms and I had to watch for subtle changes in her posture, gait, motor coordination or thinking. She also had dementia so it was often difficult to be sure what was happening and what caused it. She was sedentary, from a culture an era when ladies didn't exert themselves to the point sweating or breathing hard, and resisted physical therapy.

And her older half-brother had several major strokes, with very obvious debilitating symptoms. He recovered from most of those but it was a chore. He also had serious problems with arterial plaque and multiple heart problems.

Offhand those are the only two folks in my family whom I can think of who had those particular health issues. I suppose I'm at some risk but I'm not going to change anything. I already watch my diet pretty carefully, get as much exercise as I can tolerate. No meds for cholesterol or BP yet, and so far no indication of any need for those.

I am a little wary sometimes of doing high intensity interval training, so I usually ease up just short of Zone 5 type efforts. I'm not training for anything. No plans to compete in crits or time trials again. Mostly I just want to be as fit as I can to enjoy group rides without getting dropped and solo rides to occasionally improve my personal bests on Strava. For the sake of preserving my knees I tend to spin more than mash, which may also minimize blood pressure spikes that might be a risk for TIAs.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a TIA, I had a lacunar stroke. I have no family history of strokes (Except my grandfather who had a TIA or a mild stroke at 94) or heart disease; I don't have any plaque buildup, my cholesterol is good, and my resting pulse rate is 54, and my BP is usually ~122/74. They really don't know what caused it, and that makes me nervous as hell.
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Old 04-17-19, 01:03 PM
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Yup, I understand. Once we've had a diagnosis of a potentially serious medical issue it's hard to put it out of mind. After I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year I've fretted over every minor sensation that seems a bit unusual -- difficulty swallowing, a sore throat, etc. Surgery seems to have gotten it for now without chemo. But it's always on my mind.

Before last year I wouldn't have given cancer a second thought. There's little history in my family, although my dad died of prostate cancer. Most of my family medical issues were diabetes from obesity and diet, and respiratory problems from smoking. I exercise, watch my diet, dropped 50 lbs gradually over about 15 years so it's sustainable, quit smoking more than 20 years ago, and overall my BP, HR, blood work and most diagnostics look good.

But some issues, like cancer and strokes, don't cooperate with some efforts at a healthy lifestyle. So I try to just focus on enjoying today.
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Old 04-29-19, 09:20 AM
  #75  
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So after a visit with a Cardiologist, (yes! A road biker!) he thinks my stroke was caused either by Afib or something called a PFO--which is basically a hole between the ventricles that would have let, say, a small clot from the leg make it to my brain, rather than dissolving in the lungs.

For the Afib, I'm getting a little doohicky called a LinQ implanted that monitors my heart and uploads to a mother ship at night; for the possible PFO, a trans-esophageal echo (TEE) is being done first week of May. In the overall scheme of things, I think I'd rather it be the PFO, because it's repairable. If it's Afib, I'll have to be on blood thinners for the rest of my life, and at risk of a heart attack for all the Afib reasons.

Overall, I seem to have recovered well from the stroke, but as @canklecat says above, I'm hyper-vigilant about my heart and brain, worrying that I could have another stroke.

One upside is the Cardiologist told me to go ride as normal; the downside is when I did, I got light-headed, probably from the BP meds. :-/

Lordy, getting old sure does suck sometimes!
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