Carotid Artery Dissection my 10 Month Update

I decided to do a 10 month update of my Carotid Artery Dissection progress. If you are new to my blog you can read about my diagnosis and subsequent progress here - Carotid Artery Dissection.

Even though nothing major has happened in a while, I was reminded recently of the fact that others have read and been helped by previous posts so this, I guess, is an encouragement for those going through it and still struggling perhaps.

The good news is that day by day, things are improving. The bad news is that many days are still plagued by fatigue and feeling down because of my inability to have the life I had before. I suppose my main goal at the moment is to genuinely come to terms with it and properly accept my limitations.
A very common occurrence with those of us who have had carotid artery dissections is to completely overdo it on the days where energy levels seem high, This can result in a total crash and burn afterwards which is psychologically difficult.
The key is to be aware of this and not overdo it - much easier said than done I know!
I'm sure others have different ways of coping with this but for me I've learnt that if I start doing loads of things and don't give myself the opportunity to sit down and rest for at least an hour in the day, I suffer with fatigue, feeling overwhelmed and the head/eye socket pain returns.
Having returned to work (possibly too soon) after my dissection, my routine is now pushing myself through the days I'm in work (just 3 thankfully) and trying to rest as much as I can over the days I'm off. I also have my candle business, though, and the level of activity I kept up pre-dissection is just not possible for me anymore.  Friday evening is just pure exhaustion, Saturday not much better. I usually have a nap every day I'm off although by Tuesday I'm starting to feel more normal. Then it's back to work on Wednesday :)

Today, though, I'm feeling pretty positive - I visited my good friend Sue at the weekend, drove nearly 5 hours to get there on Friday, managed to have drinks on Friday night and the two of us danced like mad for an hour and a half and I still felt ok enough to go for a beach walk on Saturday without feeling totally awful.
I drove back this morning and although I'm super exhausted I feel like I've definitely made progress.
I'm really hoping it won't all hit me like a tonne of bricks during the week but, you know, the joy of being my normal self made it all so worth it. I really chilled out and it felt like a weight lifted off me.

Also, being in Donegal just soothes my soul, how could it not, it's so stunning

Fintra Beach County Donegal

Sea at Fintra Beach County Donegal

We even enjoyed some champagne for Sue's birthday :)

Champagne with Raspberries

Like many who have had a dissection, I will remain on aspirin for life as the artery is healing but narrowed somewhat. I need to monitor blood pressure and cholesterol but doctors can discuss these types of things as they are on a case to case basis.
My focus here on the blog is to talk about all the symptoms that have been poorly researched and are not thoroughly understood by the medical profession (except for some specialists). I do hope and pray that this whole area will be looked at much more carefully and that all the many symptoms will be properly documented and related to specific CAD areas.
This can be one of the most frustrating aspects of CAD, having physical symptoms dismissed or not connected to CAD.  Having read the stories of so many others, I thank god regularly that I discovered the Facebook support group and all the lovely people there who have gone through the same experiences as myself.
If you are going through this or have just been diagnosed, please don't hesitate to contact me for chat or support and remember that it does get better!

Here are the Facebook links again:

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  • Unknown
    Unknown 18 April 2016 at 10:21

    It's lovely that you enjoyed that time-out with your friend and that things are slowly improving for you. Before reading your blog-post, I wasn't aware of caratid artery dissection. And you're so right, just like any other disease, you have to keep talking about it, writing about it, so that people will be more aware of the illness.

  • Talya - Motherhood: The Real Deal
    Talya - Motherhood: The Real Deal 18 April 2016 at 17:07

    I had never heard about caratid artery dissection before reading this. You most certainly deserve that glass of champagne and so much more.

  • rhian westbury
    rhian westbury 18 April 2016 at 21:14

    it's good that you have been able to return to work on 3 days because you don't want to push yourself too quickly. I had never heard of it before reading this, hope things continue getting better for you x

  • Oliver Long
    Oliver Long 18 April 2016 at 23:47

    Brilliant post. More people need to be aware of diseases like this!! Go you!!

    Oliver •

  • Ana De-Jesus
    Ana De-Jesus 19 April 2016 at 00:08

    Oh hun you are so brave and I am so sorry to hear that you are in so much pain all the time, I really help that you get the help that you need and glad you had fun with your friend Sue. Good luck xxx

  • Emma T
    Emma T 20 April 2016 at 14:31

    Must be hard to get a correct diagnosis because the exhaustion side/managing the level of activity sounds very much like my brother and his CFS. Sounds like you're managing it as well as possible

  • Anosa
    Anosa 20 April 2016 at 14:45

    Thanks for sharing your story, it's nice to see you had some fun with your friend and looks like you're managing well. Good luck

  • Unknown
    Unknown 20 April 2016 at 23:01

    I have never heard of this before. Sounds like a long old road but you sound like you are doing so well and trying to keep a positive attitude. Keep going with the blog posts, if it helps one person going through it then its worth it

  • Unknown
    Unknown 17 May 2016 at 02:34

    When you have a difficult medical issue, having some sense of normalcy is really important in my experience. And, finding the balance of not pushing yourself too hard is difficult when all you wish for is to be your old self.

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