Carotid Artery Dissection - Good News for a change

As I've been sharing my Carotid Artery Dissection with you to date (mostly my lows it must be said!), I thought I'd share some positive news for a change.  I had my second follow up appointment in the hospital last week.  After some bad experiences recently (see my Rant about Doctors post), I wasn't expecting much and wasn't really looking forward to it at all.
However, something happened that felt like a mini miracle - my appointment coincided with the Consultant's clinic! This might not seem like a big deal but as a public patient, the person I see is a bit of a lottery to be honest. I've become quite a pro at hospital visits as my youngest has food allergies and my eldest was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in her Leaving Cert year. The quality of the appointment really depends on who you get and I struck hospital gold this time :)

Dr O'Brien spent some time with me, read my file thoroughly and actually remembered me being admitted and that Mark had noticed my Horner's syndrome. He showed me scans of my brain which was pretty cool :) 
He explained that ongoing pain was due to the effect on a cluster of nerves around the tear. He also didn't dismiss my reluctance to be medicated for blood pressure and cholesterol and was willing to give me time to manage these more naturally.  So this is my goal for the next while - to be as healthy as possible and try to avoid lots of medication. Naturally if my efforts don't work, I will have to take the medication but I'm happy to have the opportunity to give it a go at least.

This kind of brings me on to something that has bothered me from time to time - having a condition that is so unusual, I don't expect people to understand or be informed about it. However, when I say what it is, I think sometimes people link it with carotid artery disease which is an entirely different thing.  It doesn't particularly matter what people think but it can be quite irritating to feel that people think this has happened because of an unhealthy lifestyle. 

In actual fact, many people in my CAD support groups are pretty healthy people who exercise a lot.  I have always exercised, eat pretty well in that I cook fresh food and try to avoid processed 'junk' food and would generally be conscious of my health. I was a smoker but had given up about a month before CAD happened, thankfully.  I'm now even more conscious of what I eat - having a huge health scare can really focus your priorities!  The reality is that what happened to me could happen to anyone - being fit and healthy is definitely not a protection from tearing your carotid artery and it has occurred after gym sessions in many cases.

I do now feel a lot more positive though and the best news was that Dr. O'Brien gave me the all clear to exercise again and to be able to lift things without worrying about having a stroke.  It means that I don't have to be worrying about lugging boxes around and my heavy table when I do markets this Christmas and I've been for two proper runs already:) I'm going to have to work slowly back to my previous running level as I'm feeling pretty unfit after almost 5 months without serious exercise. My plan is to blog a little bit about my healthy lifestyle plan and see how I get on!

The following is taken from the Wikipedia definition:
'Carotid artery dissection is a separation of the layers of the artery wall supplying oxygen-bearing blood to the head and brain and is the most common cause of stroke in young adults.[1] (In vascular medicine, dissection is a blister-like de-lamination between the outer and inner walls of a blood vessel, generally originating with a partial leak in the inner lining.)[2]

And another useful link is this one about the NIH Stroke Scale.

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  • Lakisha
    Lakisha 6 November 2015 at 12:41

    I am lad that you can finally start exercising again and taking steps to go back to your old self. Best of luck in the future.

  • Mudpie Fridays
    Mudpie Fridays 6 November 2015 at 16:57

    Its sounds like you had a good appointment which is great, I have sticky blood and it unusual too, so I have had the same issues. In fact when I saw the consultant last week she fell off her chair when I said I hadn't been put on a 'plan'. I am glad you can start to exercise again and make the most of the Christmas fairs :). x

  • Rachel Neal
    Rachel Neal 6 November 2015 at 20:52

    All sounds very positive and I am really pleased for you. Just take it easy still to start with which I'm sure you will do. I am so pleased you have managed to get the all clear to exercise and do more now though. Hopefully onwards and upwards from here x

  • Janine
    Janine 6 November 2015 at 21:24

    Sounds like everything is going to be ok. :)
    At least they allowed you to exercise again. I could really do with some exercise I have never actually heard of condition like that.

  • Unknown
    Unknown 6 November 2015 at 23:46

    Sounds great. It is wonderful that you can exercise again, great for your mind x

  • Ally Messed Up Mum
    Ally Messed Up Mum 7 November 2015 at 00:20

    Oh my goodness, that' so much for you to deal with, I'm sorry you've had to go through this, especially when your little ones have their own health problems too. It's great to read you've had some positivity though, you needed it :). Make sure you don't throw yourself into it too much though, still look after yourself!! x

  • Jacqui Paterson
    Jacqui Paterson 8 November 2015 at 16:43

    What a scary thing to happen! Thank goodness you discovered what it was so quickly, and got the medical attention you needed. Good news about getting the all clear for the gym - fingers crossed you'll be back to full health ASAP. x

  • Michelle
    Michelle 9 November 2015 at 06:51

    So happy that you are starting to get back to your old self. Hopefully the exercise will help too

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