Last weekend was such a high point with Ivan’s graduation…and then came Monday. I know there is a multitude of “Monday jokes” that are made on a regular basis, but it would be an understatement to say that this Monday was, well, not the best. In fact, the gif below is a pretty accurate representation of how we feel right now:
Actually, it started out pretty nicely – Ivan went to work at the high school like normal, I started my therapy/morning routine at home, and we were both still celebrating the glow of a degree well-finished. Until I stood up and completely lost my balance. Thankfully, I caught myself on a book shelf before I hit the floor and was able to make it to the couch to lie down, but I was definitely scared. With a history of 2 strokes, as well as a traumatic brain injury that is still healing, balance – or lack thereof – is something you take very seriously. Up until that morning, I had experienced surprisingly few balance issues and was improving much faster than originally expected. So suddenly losing my balance was a clear warning sign that something could be going wrong. Ivan called me as soon as he could head home from the school, but when I tried to talk on the phone, it quickly became apparent that I was struggling to get any words out. Thankfully my speech came back after a few minutes, but as time passed, my balance continued to deteriorate. By the time we called Kaiser and they told us to come into the ER, I couldn’t keep myself upright without Ivan supporting most of my weight, and by the time we made it to the hospital, I could barely transfer out of the car seat into a wheelchair.
Since I was experiencing stroke-like symptoms and had already had 2 strokes as well as a complicated medical history, the biggest priority at this point was to ascertain whether I had, in fact, experienced an additional stroke. With this in mind, the ER doctors whisked us back for a CT scan followed by 3 types of MRI exams, as well as an ultrasound of my carotid arteries (my right carotid artery was dissected during the original accident, so it’s always a source of concern). These tests take a long time to get through, and even longer for doctors to read and deliberate on, so I ended up being admitted to spend the night in the hospital until they could get a clearer picture of what was going on. Poor Ivan – he opted to spend the night in my hospital wing, which meant sleeping in a waiting room chair since the unit wasn’t set up for overnight family visitors.
To make a long story short(er), here is what we know so far: 1) No new strokes showed up on the MRI (thank you, Lord! 2) Although it looked like there might have been a new clot in the carotid artery Monday night, it didn’t show up on the Tuesday morning scan, which is also a praise. 3) The symptoms appeared to be a mini-stroke (also called a TIA), but those don’t show up on MRI readings.
So, to conclude my convoluted Monday story…I’ve been home again since Tuesday afternoon, we’re praising God that there was no additional stroke damage on the MRI, and we’re still in the process of working with our neurologist to decide if there should be any medication changes or other measures to prevent additional TIAs or a real stroke.
God is good, and I’m so thankful for His healing presence every step of the way…but this was a great reminder of how much we still need Him during the twists and turns of the recovery journey…and how you literally never know what a day might bring!