Almost 3 weeks ago I got up to fix dinner and my legs went to jelly. I sat down for a few minutes, but when I got up, they still felt like jelly and my left arm had gone numb and tingly. All I could think of was ‘I’m having a stroke – how do you test if you’re having a stroke?’ So I held my left arm in the air and watched as it slumped to the chair by my side. Then I asked my 16 year old son to help me ring an ambulance.
I spent the next 24 hours in emergency at the local hospital. They gave me a CT scan and told me I had a giant aneurysm in one of the arteries in the right side of my brain. A few days later I was taken to a large hospital in Sydney, had a barrage of tests including MRI and angiogram. Then on the Friday night I was told that I would need to have open surgery on my brain to ‘clip’ the aneurysm, so it wouldn’t rupture. So I had the whole weekend to think about that. They proposed doing the surgery the following Monday. I was as ready for it as I could be, when one of the registrars came in and said they thought it could be fixed by a process called ‘coiling’, which is a much less invasive procedure where they perform surgery via a catheter inserted in the femoral artery and fed up into the brain.
So on Tuesday I went to have the coiling, but the machine had broken down. I’d already been sedated and they were trying to explain how they were going to block the artery and I could lose the peripheral vision on the left side of both my eyes, although it was highly likely that other blood vessels had taken over that function. I felt incredibly helpless because of the sedation.
On Wednesday, I went for the procedure. When I woke up I could see perfectly, but my left arm and the left side of my face were numb and tingly – I’d had a stroke during the procedure. I spent two and a half weeks in hospital. Now I’m home with my kids. They’ve been wonderful – keeping things going at home while I was away. All I could think about was my kids – they lost their dad (my ex-husband) to cancer 3 years ago, and they’ve had a rough time.
I’m so thankful for all the good wishes, prayers and positive thoughts from family and friends. And for the answer to those prayers. It’s made such a difference! I’m told it could take 18 months for my left arm to get back to normal, and have been prescribed lots of crafting to get the muscles and co-ordination happening. I’m still unbelievably tired and exhausted.
So my friends, live every day!