For years I have been eating healthy, running, and cycling to keep my weight off. I was trying to protect myself from a heart attack or stroke. Life was stressful as most adults in this day in age. Little did I know that stress could be such a huge contributor to one of the worst days of my life. I didn’t have any of the usual signs or symptoms of a stroke. You know the ones they teach us all of our lives…FAST(facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call EMS)? I woke up on March 21, 2017 (my 60th birthday) to numbness of my right arm. I thought I had slept on it wrong due to the tingling, but the tingling didn’t subside. As the morning progressed, the numbness and heaviness started moving down my right side from my head through my shoulder, much like a pinched nerve. I went to the Emergency Room (ER) and had numerous tests, but not an MRI. It was concluded, without the MRI, that I had a pinched nerve. The x-ray was conclusive for deterioration in my vertebral disks. The hospital discharged me and I went on about my day.
During this time, I was several hundred miles away listening and adjudicating concert bands; which is something I have always loved. Over the next two days, my right side continued to worsen, my hearing started to bother me, my gait was off and the walls had to hold me up when I walked. Cymbals started sounding like cracking paper and my right hand was not responding as well when writing. But, I wasn’t told that I had a STROKE!
My wife drove me home and I went straight to my doctor. The doctor instantly sent me to the hospital to have an MRI; which did in fact show a STROKE in the PONS of the brain stem! He immediately started going into “how” he wanted to proceed…..what a wonderful doctor I had in Scott Jameson.
Over the last 14 months, I’ve been researching, studying and listening to anything I can find about strokes. I found a wonderful neurologist in Dr. Jodi Dodds, MD at Duke Medical System. This bright compassionate and empathetic woman listened to me and came up with a plan to help me work through this awful situation. I struggled with numerous neurological issues…..ears ringing , a constant lack of focus, and inability to do the normal day to day activities! My Blood Pressure spiked, my sugar spiked and life as I knew had changed! ……more to come!