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Slow Progressing Major Stroke at age 51
By Mary E. Coe   

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One day Angela was full of life, a happy mother, grandmother and wife and held down a full time job. The next day she was in for the fight of her life.

Angela went about her daily routine, up in the morning and off to work; after work she and her husband prepared and ate dinner; before settling down to enjoy their favorite TV show.  Later, as Angela walked down the hall to the bed-room, she said to her husband, “Wow! For a moment; it seemed as if my left foot was sticking to the floor,” she didn’t take it serious because it didn’t happen again and she figured it could have been her imagination. 

The following morning as Angela was leaving the house to go to work, she noticed stiffness in the left leg; her husband also knew something wasn’t right, He said maybe she should skip work.  “I probably, just slept wrong last night,” Angelia responded “it will be alright!”

51 year old Angela took off in her car for the 2 miles drive to work; this was the most frightening drive Angela ever took, a drive she will remember for a long time.  On the way to work, Angela lost mobility and control of the left side.  “What is happening to my body,” Angela thought as she fought hard to control the vehicle with her right hand which wasn’t an easy task.  It was as if her body was fighting against her; a very scary situation, her car was all over the road and she fought hard to avoid an accident and tried to get the car to the side of the road, to park it. Angela realized that she had made it to her job, she saw the parking lot to the right, Angela managed to get the car into the parking lot and parked it without hitting another vehicle, she didn’t try to park in a parking space, she just wanted to park that vehicle.

Angela’s left leg was dragging a little as she made it to the lobby of her work place, she sat down to collect herself and calm down.   Her voice was a little slurred when she asked a co-worker to call her husband to pick her up.

Logan, Angela’s, husband took one look at her and decided to take her straight to the emergency room.   The doctor ordered several tests, everything checked out; no artery clogging were found;   EKG  checked out;  she was walking with a slight limp and she was talking; there were no signs of a heart attack or a major stroke; the diagnostic was a mini stroke.  Angela was advised to stay over night in the hospital for observations, however; since she was told she could return to work in three or four days and all tests were positive, Angela went home with medication.

Around 5 p. m.  that evening, Logan was in the kitchen preparing dinner when he heard Angela call out from the bed room.  “I can’t get up!”  Logan rushed down the hall, Angela was in tears, “I tried to go to the kitchen to help you and I can’t get up” 

“We’ll be OK Logan assured her; we have an appointment tomorrow morning; we’ll be alright until then.  Logan helped his wife down the hall way to the living room where she could relax while he finished dinner.   Logan, too, had medical problems and he was extremely tired.

The next morning; news wasn’t good at the doctor’s office; blood test that was taken in the emergency room; the day before; showed  Angela’s cholesterol was very high;  new tests confirmed Angela had suffered a major stroke, not a mini stroke as the ER doctor thought, the damage was done when she first suffered the stroke, it didn’t matter that she didn’t return to ER the night before when she noticed she couldn’t walk alone; the damage had already been done and the stroke was just running it’s course.   Angela was hospitalized; she could still speak well, but, with a slur.  She was put on a regular diet.  This was scary times for Angela, she was so devastated and sad, she didn’t hold back the bitter tears.  “What is happening to my body?” she cried.

The next morning when Logan came to visit his wife, he was met with more devastation and confusions, Angela had been downgraded from a regular diet to a softer diet, she couldn’t speak at all, the doctor said the stroke was worst than they first anticipated.  Later that evening Angela was downgraded to a thick liquid diet; she couldn’t have clear liquids such as water because she could strangle.  The doctor asked Angela to sign for an angiogram test so the physician could see exactly what was going on in the brain. Earlier tests showed signs of a possible aneurysm, the doctor was talking about brain coiling and clipping and other terms that sounded like French to Angela’s family.  When an aneurysm erupts it can; in a lot of cases cause sudden death.

An aneurysm is a weak artery, a swelling occurs on a section of the artery, and as the blood flows into the swelling it inflates like a balloon and erupts when it is past the limit or becomes too full. It resembles a ball or a balloon.

Coiling is a less invasive treatment of the aneurysm.  Real time X-ray technology is used, a catheter (small plastic tube) is inserted into the femoral artery of the patient’s leg; navigating it through the vascular system into the head and into the aneurysm.  Tiny platinum coils are threaded in the catheter and deployed into the aneurysm (the weak swollen part of the artery) blocking the blood flow and preventing rupture.    Treating the aneurysm by clipping, the surgeon must remove a section of the skull; the surgeon then spreads the brain tissues apart places a tiny metal clip across the neck of the aneurysm to stop the flow of blood into the aneurysm.  After clipping the bone is secured in its place and the wound is closed.    The big question:  Was Angela a good candidate for either procedure?

By this time the doctor said the stroke would leave Angela permanently disabled and she needed to do an angiogram to see exactly what was going on and what treatment could be used.  The doctor had nothing positive to say.  And the stroke continued to take its course for the worst.  By the following morning the doctor needed permission to put Angela on a feeding tube; she could not chew or swallow.  Angela was very alert; she understood everything that was said. Since she was so alert, the doctor included her in all discussions and decisions.  She could write a few words legible enough for the family to know what she wanted to say.

The angiogram showed a clogged artery far into the brain.  The doctor said there were two surgeons that could operate  to unclog the artery.  Two neurologists said definitely not!  The artery was too deep into the brain and it would be too dangerous.   The neurologist said Angela’s condition was inoperable.  For now the patient is on blood thinner; the doctor is hoping the blood thinner will unclog the artery.  

Angela is devastated but in good spirit.  Angela said she will recovery and return to work, she is a fighter and have faith. She is determined to get well and return to work.  This slow progressing stroke was heartrending for the entire family.  No one knew what was going on.  At no time was Angela in a coma or lost consciousness.  She was very alert as her body failed her and went through all these changes.

This all happened to Angela a couple of days before Christmas, approximately two weeks ago, One day she was working and planning for the holidays, the next day she was in for the fight of her life. She lost mobility of the left side and is in a wheel chair.  Her family and friends are praying for her recovery.  God can do what doctors cannot.  

Angela can now said a three to five word sentence and she smiles a lot, she speaks very slow and her voice is slurred but she is a fighter and is fighting hard.  She vows to give up smoking those cigarettes.  Her family and friends are giving her lots of support.   She left the hospital and is in a rehab center and she is keeping the faith that one day she will recover.








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