Bob G.


Survivor

Life is good

An unexpected change of plans

I had warning signs that something was wrong but I never came across any information that gave me any clue that my issues could be related to an impending stroke.

My whole life I had severe headaches with no discernible cause. I tried diet change, stopped drinking alcohol, tried meditation to manage stress, exercised, but nothing worked. I did not have classic migraine symptoms (no aura etc) but the intensity of the headaches seemed similar to how a migraine is described.

It took having a ischemic stroke for me to finally get an answer as to what the cause of my headaches was.

I had a heart defect known as a PFO. It's basically a hole in my heart that allowed a blood clot to travel to my brain causing my stroke. It's thought the PFO was the cause of the intense headaches. Since my stroke the headaches have disappeared. The fix was to implant an umbrella like device over the hole in my heart thereby plugging the hole. Remarkably, the procedure was non-invasive. The device was delivered to my heart via an artery in my thigh. It was threaded through my arteries to my heart where it remains today.

My headaches have stopped.

The only physical consequence I have today is double vision. My right eye does not track with my left eye. The emotional and psychological fallout is significant. I have memory issues. I am on disability.

My life is very different than I ever expected it might be. However I am lucky in that I'm still here.

Recovery is going to be a life long affair. The good news is that I still continue to see improvement even seven years after my stroke. I expect there is more to come. As the saying goes...where there's life there's hope.

 

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