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So, I had a stroke.

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Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2005
, Female
And nobody knows why it happened, nor exactly when it happened. The official diagnosis is a silent cryptogenic stroke in the right parietal lobe.

Silent meaning that I didn't recognize when it was happening and it didn't leave any obvious stroke related changes in my mental and physical abilities, just some vague weakness and brain fog I blew off as caused by aging and other illnesses. Cryptogenic because I have no distinct risk factors and the only 2 possible risk factors can't be proven as the cause, so nobody can say why it happened. And it was a stroke, not a TIA, or "mini stroke". There is a pretty big piece of essentially dead space in the right parietal lobe of my brain now.

I found out in mid August when I went to the ER after having an episode where I couldn't move or speak for a few minutes and then had what appeared to be a small seizure. It wasn't a seizure, and nobody ever figured out what it was, but while I was being checked out, they did a cat scan, found an abnormal spot in my brain, and packed me off in an ambulance to a major hospital with a big neuroscience program for further evaluation. They did an MRI and discovered the stroke. Now, they can tell if a stroke is recent or old. Recent meaning 48 hours or less, old meaning anything before that. Days, weeks, months, and potentially years. Nobody really knows.

I don't currently have any distinct risk factors. Not a smoker, only 46, no sleep apnea, blood pressure is normal, blood glucose under tight control, healthy heart. Slightly elevated heart rate, but not high enough to amount to anything. But I did have shingles earlier this year, and the virus can temporarily raise stroke risk. However, the weakness and brain fog go back a lot farther than that, so they don't believe it was the cause. Also I could have atrial fibrillation, but of a type that only causes an episode months to a year or more apart. It's a cause in a fairly small percentage of cryptogenic strokes and hardly ever caught on wearable heart monitors because you only wear them for a short while. I wore one for the days I was in the hospital, then 2 weeks at home and nothing at all out of the ordinary happened.

Right now, the plan is to implant a tiny cardiac monitor under my skin next week to try and catch a rare afib episode. It's a long shot, but if they catch one, they can put me on a different anticoagulant drug that will greatly improve my chances of preventing a disabling or fatal second stroke caused by afib. The monitor stays in for 3 years. If it catches nothing abnormal, then I continue to keep on top of my health and hope for the best and never know what caused the stroke.

Needless to say, the unknowns have been a mindfuck of monumental proportions. Nobody knows when, why, or how I avoided serious impairments given the size and location of the stroke. I don't like unknowns, I need to know what I'm dealing with. It's sent my anxiety through the roof, and I've been having to manage that as best as I can.

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