This is a follow-up to Philippe’s post “Meghan’s Stroke (of luck)” from me, Meghan. I am still reeling from the experience. In a 2-hour window, my brain function was severely deteriorated and then fully restored. As the drug tPA coursed through my arteries, busting-up the blood clots in my brain, I went from being essentially mute to fully articulate in a few short minutes. As my 3-yr-old daughter says “It was going to be the worst day, but now it’s the best!”.
This next paragraph is going to read a little bit like an Oscar speech, so brace yourself. To say that I am grateful to Philippe and his instincts, is an understatement. TPA is only effective within 3 hours of “last seen normal”. I cannot underscore enough how much time is of the essence when someone is having a stroke. I am grateful to the proximity of YiY to a stroke center (!), to the availability of effective drugs, to the expertise of doctors, to my community of yogis and the Mama-Dream-Team who texted and emailed messages of support, visited me with jokes and treats, who babysat my kids and cooked for my family. The silver lining to a catastrophe such as this is that you realize how much you are loved and supported. I am teary-eyed and overcome as I type.
Here’s the situation now. Once a person has a stroke they are much more likely to have a secondary stroke. So, I am on blood-thinning medicine and statins for the rest of my life. The reason I developed a blood clot in the first place is unclear and the doctors are troubleshooting. I will wear a heart monitor for a month to determine if I have an irregular heart beat that could be causing clotting. I will go for a mammogram to search for cancer which could also be the source of clotting. I need to double-down on B-12 vitamins and take on a Mediterranean diet. I will meet with a cardiologist to discuss my PFO. That’s the little hole that separates the two halves of my heart– which is a totally normal thing so don’t make me feel weird about it! They might surgically close it, but it sounds like not.
From my minimal, but ongoing research, the articles linking yoga to stroke refer to arterial dissection of the carotid artery (the arteries on either side of the neck that feed the brain). This was not the case for me. My stroke was not related to strain or injury in the neck. In fact, the neurologist at Kaiser took the time to painstakingly go through each of my many CT imaging scans with me so that we could be certain that I didn’t have any tears in the arteries of my neck.
Ipso facto, there is no restriction on my activities. Expect to see me cursing the bulky pendant of my heart monitor as I sun salute by your side.