Monday, December 26, 2011

Ambien For Treating Strokes?

I was watching Rock Center With Brian Williams this evening and happened to catch an interesting story about a man named Sam Goddard who suffered 8 strokes. Yes, you heard me, 8. His family was told that he would be a vegetable but little did they know that Sam was in there! He was unable to speak but Sam's fiance, did her research. Sally used Ambien to treat her fiance after hearing he would most likely have the mental capacity of a child.

Against the doctors advice, Sally gave her fiance Ambien and the results were remarkable. His speech slurred but he was talking! That is AMAZING!!! The Ambien only lasts in hour increments but wow! It's his miracle drug. No one in their hometown is willing to help Sally and Sam with the Ambien dosage. I guess they don't want to get sued but why wouldn't anyone want to get in on this? Look at the evidence! Zolpidem is the active part of the Ambien that seems to be helping stroke victims with communication. I wonder if they are isolating this chemical and seeing if this can be made into a drug by itself. This is mind boggling (no pun intended). It makes me so happy. Watching the segment tonight made my heart smile.

Imagine, you're in a coma, you can't speak but you understand and hear everything that is going on around you....Imagine someone telling you you'll never speak again and there is a slight possibility you can. Wow.

Click here to watch Sam Goddard's Story

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Those Stroke Meds Commercials

I wish there was a commercial featuring young people instead of older folks.

Healthy Careers

As a stroke survivor, or any kind of survivor, one must wonder what a healthy career is for someone recovering?

It certainly can't be in finance or anything in sales or marketing....
Mm...with teaching, kids can get on your nerves and kill you....
You can't be a food server because you probably can't lift anything due to meds.

I'm guessing the only career is lottery winner.

Well that was easy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Overpriced yet healing light fixture 
This post is for an avid reader who reminded me that I haven't posted in far too long, shame on me!

I ran into a childhood friend this evening on the corner. We spoke about life and how time passes so quickly and then, like most our age, we talked about stress. When I was younger, I never thought I would be one of those people who spoke constantly about health and medicine. It seemed like such an "old person" thing to do. This reminded me again that we can't stress out or we'll stroke out! I like that, I may coin that phrase. You heard it here first haha.

When I was in jail aka stuck at home recovering, I did a ton of online shopping. Although not always sensible, it did make me feel like I was accomplishing something outside of sitting in front of the TV watching Maury and over thinking the possibility of a second stroke.

One of the things I purchased was a light fixture from Anthropologie. Let me rephrase that, a very expensive light fixture from Anthropologie! This was part of the re-modeling of the kitchen I thought was so necessary at the time since I spent so many hours staring at the wall. Often times I look to the wall, like today and am reminded to not let things get to me. This week was really stressful and I know that I can't let myself stress out, not anymore. I look at this light fixture and I think of where I was and where I am now. I told my friend this and advised her to look at something from a year ago and think how far she's come.

Maybe we should all do that and reflect especially with the year coming to a close? This can be a subtle reminder to not stress out for a healthier 2012. I have to say this to myself too....nothing is worth your health, nothing.


Friday, November 25, 2011

D-Dimer, I'm Conquering You

For the first time since my stroke, my D-Dimer protein is below 150 which is GREAT news. It's been in the high 300s for the past couple of months. From my last post, we all know, that's really not good so to have a number like 135 is really wonderful. This seems like one of the last pieces in my puzzle of health. A high number has been hanging over my head for some time and now that it's not, I feel that much closer to being 100%.

A couple of weeks ago, I found out a friend of mine from college also had a stroke. Another young person succumbs to a clot. What is going on?? He is fast on the road to recovery so I'm just putting him out there so we can all send him some good vibes. D.B., I'm thinking of you!

D-Dimer, I knew I'd kick your booty!

Monday, November 7, 2011

True Love

Check out this beautiful love story from Stacy S., a fellow young stroke survivor.
LIKE the picture NOT the story and help her win a photo session with her beau :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays. I went out to dinner with my girlfriends as we did every year on All Hallows. Beforehand, I bbmed away discussing how I felt and what didn't feel right. I spelled things wrong and even joked about having a slow stroke. Against advice from everyone, I still went out. I dressed up as Johnnie Walker Blue. I was particularly excited by my costume this year and wasn't going to let me feeling sick deter me from showing off my top hat, sash and cane.

My friend and I stopped at a bar before dinner where I ordered a Guinness. As an old Irish doctor once told me, Guinness cures everything. I sat and sipped about a quarter of the glass and felt as miserable as I did when I came in. Aspirin, clove, beer, did not help. Nothing tasted right at dinner. Even one of my favorite dishes, veggie moo shoo did nothing more to me than licking a metal pipe would. As I stared at the ghouls in the street at the parade, I started to feel faint and excused myself. I got home, quickly got undressed and went to sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night to drunken costumed New Yorkers laughing wishing that I was one of them. I had a searing pain in my neck and mouth. I called the emergency Doctor's line and was assured that I wasn't in danger and to just make an appointment with my Primary Care Physician for that week. I went back to sleep. I kept waking up every hour on the hour. Nothing helped my neck pain. My headache got worse. I sat in my living room, scared and watched infomercials in the dark. I thought it was indigestion and looked up solutions online. I ate an apple and tried to sleep again.

It's still hard to believe this happened to me but the details of that day are still fresh in my mind. I can hear the voices. I can taste that feeling in my mouth. I have to admit, today, I am a little scared but also very grateful. Still I play over the days at the hospital, grasping at every memory, every instance. I try to visualize my ICU room, the exact location on my right hand where the IV was, the sound of the heart monitor attached to my left pointer finger. I don't want to forget. I shouldn't forget.

I had a stroke at 29 and I survived. It happened a year ago and I'm trying so hard to smile right now but all I can do is sit here and reflect about how far I've come. Even typing this now, I find myself becoming very emotional. I am lucky. I am VERY lucky....

Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. You know who you are. I am forever grateful.

For pushing me to go to the doctor,
For taking me to get my blood checked,
For being concerned,
For telling me I was strong,
For encouraging me to go on,
For believing in me,
For bringing me flowers,
For calling,
For hugs,
For making me laugh,
For being my friend,
For everything,

Thank you. I am here because of you.


Didn't feel like myself. Went to work in a hat without my hair combed and a black sweater, that is clearly imprinted in my mind. My head hurt. Someone from work came by and asked for some items. I said I wasn't feeling well. She left. I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I went back to my desk, packed my things up and left. I threw up again at security, I'm sure the guard appreciated that all went in the garbage can. Went straight to sleep once I got home.

Nothing tasted right. My mom brought me one of my favorite dishes from a local restaurant to get me to eat. It tasted like metal. I went back to sleep. Something was definitely wrong but I didn't call the doctor. I waited.

Lesson Learned
Calling the doctor can't ever hurt. Waiting can.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Someone Who Came To Mind

Dory, Disney's first character who
clearly has a brain injury.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming
Where was I going?
There, there, it's alright, it will be ok.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
Who are you?
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

My poor little short term memory'd fish, you make what sometimes happens to me a little funny. Thanks for making me smile and encouraging me to keep swimming.


Grateful I can still
run my fingers through my hair.
I lifted many boxes at work. I felt a crick in my neck and chalked it up to pulling a muscle. Since I was so busy in the past weeks, I decided to get my hair done and meet up with some friends after work. Hair dyed and blown out, I felt great. Renewed and refreshed. Neck still hurt but I was pre-occupied with the feeling of having commercial worthy locks.

Lesson Learned
Don't wait until you're in dire straights to beautify yourself a little. Even doing something for yourself as small as a blowout will make you feel better. There's only one you, why not have it be your best you! I'm doing things to beautify my outer as well as my inner. Even slapping a coat of polish onto my nails myself helps me after a long day.

Small victories.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Migraines migraines everywhere.

Lesson Learned
Stay home when afflicted with them. Don't try and do things. You'll lose. The key to getting rid of a migraine is sleeping, avoiding light and sometimes, lavender. Lavender calms the little monsters kicking your hemispheres.

If that fails, call your doctor, don't wait. If what he/she is saying doesn't work for you, get a second opinion. Health is not something to play with.

Small victories.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sure, Get That Botox!

So I was just thinking about strokies who have been left with weakened or stiffened limbs and muscles and wondered what else would help them besides physical therapy. My friends and I always joke about needing botox now that we've entered out 30s and how we look like we're in our 90s. As a joke, I was going to put together this whole spiel about botox and came across an article about the wrinkle smoother and stroke victims. Apparently botox Type A is usd for helping strokies with their atrophied limbs. It allegedly helps improve patient's mobility helps muscles relax. Wow! That is awesome!

It is NOT approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this use but it is so widely accepted that Medicare and other insurers are reimbursing patients for its use. I'm not sure what doctors practice this but apparently this isn't news. I'm finding articles on botox and stroke from 2002! All the articles seem positive regarding treatment for spasticity due to stroke.

Mm, kind of makes my day.


I actually don't remember this day last year. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I was doing and I can't remember. I started to get frustrated but honestly, can many of you remember where you were this day last year? I guess I shouldn't beat myself up too badly about it.

Lesson Learned
Sometimes the things we can't remember are better left in the past. Maybe there's a reason it left our minds. Maybe some things are better left to quietly fade away.

Small victories.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Grateful I can still hold 
a crochet needle in my right hand.
This day last year I was at work talking to several different family members and friends. I remember that vividly. Work became more stressful as I'm experiencing now. October is very busy here. I was definitely stressed. I remember getting about 8-10 boxes of work stuff and just thinking that I needed a break and couldn't do it anymore. Maybe the one thing I did positively that day was pause and say, I'm not unpacking these boxes, I'm going to wait, I need to breathe.

Something I picked up while I was stressed at work was crocheting. I was a wiz at it in college and made the occasional blanket and scarf here and there. I started to keep a ball of yarn and needle by my desk and even though I didn't have much time during my breaks, I would do one or two stitches. Doing something as small as that was a comfort to me and even looking at the bag helped me.

Lesson Learned
Remember to take time to talk to your friends. Pick up the phone. Texts cannot compare to the sound of a person's voice.
Crocheting-not just for nerds and grannies

Small Victories.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I'm going to post every day this week following up to the day when I think I had the stroke. I keep trying to play through my head exactly what happened the week before or week of my stroke. Chopra tells us to try and picture where we were a year prior and what has changed what has remained the same. I have mentioned this before and I love doing it because it really helps me move forward and continue to change and evolve into a more aware person.

Grateful I can still walk across a bridge.
Last year around this time, I know I was worried about work and overwhelmed with everything going on in my life. It was the weekend so I know I was pretty active in helping folks down the stairs on the train with strollers, something I can sadly not do anymore. Why I decided to do it, I don't know! Anyway, I was pretty down about being so busy and was rushing nonstop from job, to writing, to socializing and not getting enough sleep.

Lesson Learned
This year I am not letting work run my life. I'm taking time to breathe. I am learning to say no. I am taking better care of myself. I sleep more, which makes my dog happy.
I'm grateful for being able to type without error.

Small victories.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Creative Sonic Boom?

I recently read an article in the LA Times about people who have creative surges after suffering brain damage. We've all heard of art therapy. I wonder if it has something to do with that. Sometimes when you lose one thing, such as speech, you gain another, like creativity.  Maybe it was something dormant that was only awakened by an extreme of brain damage....who knows?

The brain is such a complicated piece of work that scientists are still trying to figure it out. I remember after I had my stroke, I couldn't stop writing and know, once I was able to type properly again :). How fascinating to know that if I hadn't had the stroke, I may not have been able to complete a screenplay or finish my full length play.

"There are virtually no situations where brain damage makes things better," says Anjan Chatterjee, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who is working on a book about art and the brain. But art is, he adds, one of the few complex aspects of human cognition that doesn't necessarily get worse.
-LA Times by Emily Sohn 5.20.11

The brain...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Quarter Owl

Oh and for those of you wondering how much was in Mr. Owl...he had $80 in quarters stuffed inside him.
Small victories.

New Practices for the Recently Ill

Try something new. It could be something you were afraid of before or something you've always wanted to do.
Remember that you almost couldn't because you nearly had that ability taken away from you.

Wear the high heels because you can still walk.
Eat the sushi because you aren't on blood thinners.
Rock the red lipstick because you still have mobility in your right hand.
Give thanks every day.
It was almost taken away from you,
But now you're strong,
You survived,
You're alive!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blood Clot Of Wisdom from Jill Bolte Taylor

I've been given twelve years I almost didn't have, says Bolte Taylor. To me, that is precious, sacred time. I wake up every morning, wiggle my toes and my fingers, and say to them, 'Good morning, girls; thanks for another great day.'
-Jill Bolte Taylor from the book My Stroke of Insight

So beautiful and true. Every night, I give thanks for being able to live another day just like that.

Small victories

Hello Old Friend

A little before I had my stroke, I started collecting quarters and putting my separate change in a tin at the bottom of the kitchen pantry. I wasn't saving up for anything in particular, just putting my change away for a rainy day....or a trip to the casino :) The tin in the back of the pantry was from some cookies I had bought in elementary school. As soon as the cookies were done, I started to put change in it. I'm not sure why, but that's what I have been doing for 20 years. Every time it fills up, I wrap it and take it to the bank to my savings or cash it and buy nail polish or something small just for me. I figured quarters should have their own special home at this point so I bought a ceramic owl to house my 25 cents.

My quarter owl became kind of a bribery tactic for my Mother to get me to take my Lovenox. If I shot myself up on the first try, I got a dollar in quarters, second try, 50 cents and so on. Shooting myself in the stomach with the drug was never something I was comfortable with doing and it often ended with me in tears and having to have a pep talk with my stomach and said needle for 5 minutes in order to take the medicine. After I finished my five days of Lovenox, I started to just add quarters to the owl everyday. This came from change after I got a morning bagel when I would go to get my blood checked or after I would go for my block walk to the bakery. The quarter owl slowly filled up and got heavier and heavier but I didn't empty it.

Last night, I decided to empty the owl, who doesn't have a name. He needs a name btw. Any suggestions? I wrapped all my quarters last night laughing to myself. I'm going to start filling him up again but it won't feel like the first time. Can anyone guess how much came out of him? When I told my mother, she couldn't believe it! I almost can't bring myself to cash it. I'm connected to these quarters. Never thought that would come out of my mouth...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Holistic Dangers?

This weekend my Mom showed me an article in the Reader's Digest about the benefits and risks of home remedies or natural remedies when it comes to illness. Many times, I know because I am guilty of this too, we often self diagnose ourselves and try to solve our issues without going to a doctor. Now, I'm all for using herbs and things to try and get rid of colds and aches and pains before shooting off to a pill or doc but reading this article makes me think twice.

When I was having my stroke, I self diagnosed. I first thought I was having indigestion or some kind of heartburn. I took to the internet and did things like eating an apple and having some yogurt to try and ease the pain in my chest I attributed to some Italian food I had eaten earlier in the day. BUT on the flipside, when I called the emergency doctor line, a pompous Doc named Doctor Foo, the same Neuro who told me nothing was wrong with me, told me I was fine and to see my Primary Care Doctor that Monday.

Mmm, sometimes I guess both options fail. But still, especially when dealing with stroke, you can't take neck pain lightly. Something in this article struck me in particular. Never ever ever let a chiropractor touch your neck if you are in pain. They may make the issue worse especially if you are in danger of having a stroke. They can make the dissection worse and cause you more harm. My neck tingles just thinking about it! The article also spoke about some folks who overdo it on holistic or natural remedies. It cited one man with rectal cancer who od'd on carrot juice and actually worsened his condition. This makes me so sad. Many times we try so hard to fix ourselves that we end up doing something to make it even more horrible. I'm not going to lie, I probably would have done the same thing.

Just something to think about. Look at both sides of the coin before going crazy on one or the other.

Be well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

MRI Results

I got my MRI results and everything seems to be in order. So strange though...

I had many of the same symptoms I had when I was having my stroke. I forgot things, took time to say what I had on my mind, head cloudiness and yet, no stroke came. My Neurologist said that stroke symptoms can return even though you're not in danger of having another stroke. She raised my aspirin intake to two baby aspirin and said it would help and sure enough it did! My symptoms disappeared in a couple of days.

Scary though...I didn't like having those feelings again. It was incredibly scary. I still don't have any news about my D-Dimer but at least I know that I won't be having another stroke.

Friday, September 2, 2011

MRI, We Meet Again

D-Dimer, you are a thorn in my side.

I went to the Hematologist yesterday to discuss my uber high number (mid 300s). First I had to get blood drawn. Not something I am not used to but the technician wasn't as used to me as most others were. I was wearing a button down shirt and the arm was a little tight so I couldn't roll it up completely soooo naturally I said "Hmm, looks like I have to take off my shirt". I started to unbutton and the tech quickly shouted "No!" I guess not many people offer to strip so they can take a proper blood sample.

He said no need for that, I'll get you a gown. I explained that I had a bra on and that it didn't bug me, but it bugged him! Then he came at me kind of shaky with the needle and I had to stop him and tell him to calm down. After that, things ran smoothly and I am not bruised on my arm!

When I saw my Hematologist, I told her that I felt like I was hesitant when I would speak. She called my Neurologist to see what she thought about that and I was quickly whisked away to the Neurologist's office top speed. After taking a visual test with my Neuro, (the greatest ever Dr. Myrna Cardiel) I was sent to get an MRI. Normally, I don't terribly mind getting these tests except because of whatever is going on with me right now, I had to be in the machine for 1.5 hrs, the longest I had ever heard of. This freaked me out. For those of you who have never had an MRI, it's not fun. It's loud, you hear all kinds of  banging and you have to stay perfectly still otherwise the pics mess up. Did I mention that it's super tiny and you get claustrophobic?

I made sure to stop home and get together a nice playlist for my MRI; some calm Flying Lotus, Thundercat and of course, some Jillionaire :) I was all covered with a blanket and had my headphones on. Ok, 1.5 hrs in a tube and can't move. All types of things run through your head when you have that time on your hands, especially when the tech doesn't ask if you would like the volume adjusted on your headphones before you begin! I could only hear the faint whisper of the music against the loud clanging of the magnets of the machine. I started to think about all the things that could be wrong with me and let me tell you, you think about some pretty ugly nasty not so good things when you can't move and are in a plastic tube in an uncomfortable and airy hospital gown.

But...I survived. The test was over and I was free to go. I walked home afterwards thinking again of what could be wrong. I hate that my levels are funky and that my mind is cloudy. Why is it cloudy? Why am I feeling hesitant? What is going on?

D-Dimer, once again, I really hate you. I wish I wasn't positive, I wish my level was below 245. You're not welcome here. I was doing well. Get out!

Monday, August 22, 2011

D-Dimer, I Hate You

On Friday, I spoke with a technician from my Hematologist's office about the results of my Anti thrombin and D-dimer blood tests. I have to go in every 3 months to make sure everything is looking ok. I went in May and everything was fine but on Friday, my result for my D-dimer was "peculiar" as the tech put it.

Usually I speak to my doctor about my results. I'm not sure why the tech called me. I'm pretty annoyed at a normal D-dimer result is less that 245. Mine is 349. Eek. This freaks me out especially because I don't know what the hell it means and the tech couldn't tell me (lawsuits). She said I should come in at the beginning of September for an appointment with the doc so I made an appt but still I would like an explanation of what the number means and what, if any, I can do to bring it down.

I have been on edge all weekend because I don't know what it all means! The internet has not been my friend in this instance. Everything I look up is wordy and scary with words like thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

D-dimer tests are ordered, along with other laboratory tests and imaging scans, to help rule out the presence of a thrombus. This test may be used to determine if further testing is necessary to help diagnose diseases and conditions that cause hypercoagulability, a tendency to clot inappropriately.

I don't want to wait until September 1st to see what is going on. Can't someone call me back now?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

100th Post!

Yay, it's my 100th post!
Thank you so much for continuing to read about my journey and becoming more aware about strokes in young people. You never ever know who may need your help. You're educated!

With October and November fast approaching, I've started to think about whether or not I want to have a Strokiversary Party for my 1 year. Of course many of you may think this morbid or weird, but if you know me, this is par for the course. I'm happy to be here!

I'm thinking I may have a small quiet dinner...maybe with all things Vitamin K (sushi and green tea!) and cranberry juice! We can't forget cranberry juice. (Was pretty much forbidden to drink it while being on Coumadin/Warfarin) Does this sound weird? I really think I'm going to do it. I'm pretty excited about my 1 year Strokiversary. Nowadays, I've been replaying in my mind everything I was doing last year around this time. I keep trying to pinpoint exactly what I was doing. You should try this. I'll probably start to do this more in October leading up to the end of the month. I know that right around this time last year, I was very stressed at work and the tension kept building and building all the way through October.

I still don't know exactly and precisely what caused my stroke but I know my stress at work had something to do with it. Of course, I am typing this as I am at work haha. Clearly someone is not bothering with getting stressed out too much these days!

For now, let's just laugh at my mock party menu.

Vitamin K Party Menu!
Sushi-mad ill rolls
Spinach Salad with Green Peppers and Garbanzo beans
Roasted Cauliflower from Whole Foods

Main Course
Pesto Chicken or Fish with Asparagus and Broccoli
Cauldron of Callaloo Soup with Crab and Dumpling
Falafel on a bed of Wilted Greens

Butter Rum Cake
Bailey's Chocolate Cake

Cranberry Juice Spritzers
Green Tea-Hot and Iced
A bevy of alcoholic beverages 

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I recently went the lady parts doctor to make sure the plumbing was working as one should do once a year and started to talk to my doc (who is FIERCE btw, her name is Dr. Audrey Buxbaum NYC) about whether or not I would have difficulty conceiving because of my stroke.

She told me I didn't have a lot of options in terms of birth control, because of hormones, I can never take anything with estrogen ever again...everrrr. She did offer me several options without estrogen including something called Para Gard. This is an IUD free of any hormones, zippo 0% hormones, nada nothing. Sounds cool right? I don't know. While I am not a fan of IUDs at all, this seems to be my only option. It pretty much looks like a T wrapped in copper...ew. Copper s actually naturally found in the body which is an interesting fact. I'm just not sure I want additional copper in my body from something in the shape of a T!

I was talking to a friend yesterday about IUDs and she said that in Canada, you can't even get one unless you're 35. This definitely does not point me in the direction of getting one of these. What more is out there for stroke vics who want BC and can't take anything with hormones?

We also spoke about family planning. Now, because of clots, I may not be able to house mini-mes. Pregnancy is a natural coagulant so you can only guess why this would be an ish for me. We all know how I feel about Lovenox, the shot I had to take twice a day. I can't do that again. I'm far too big of a wuss to stab myself in the stomach twice a day again and certainly not for 9 months!

The good doc provided me with the number of a center in midtown. Wait time for an appointment is a month because apparently they sift through cases and see who is a good match for the patient. I don't want a family right now but I'd like to think that children are down the line at some point. You can never be too early in getting all your information, right?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Work After Stroke

Fellow Strokies,

How have you coped with coming back to work after being on medical leave? After recovery, it may be hard to come back into the swing of things. You may not be able to do everything you once did. This can be frustrating...or it can be dumbfounding. Sometimes you may not realize that you weren't as good at doing something and it can take someone telling you that you're kind of sucking for you to pause and realize it.

Have you ever had a moment like that? What does it make you feel like?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Deja Vu

This week was a particularly hard one at work for many reasons including people saying that I didn't work hard enough which was a pretty big jab to me. I sweat and bleed for my job...I mean obviously, I stroked out and this all got me down. I mean down down to the point where I felt sick and then, just when I didn't think I could get any lower, I had an epiphany.

The day I got the phonecall that I had to go to the hospital because I had a stroke, I was packing up some t-shirts to send to some of our field reps. I was surrounded by black shirts and empty boxes. Yesterday, I was surrounded by white shirts and empty boxes. (Wicked comparison btw, did you catch that?) Anywho, as I was packing them up, I was stressed. I was doing exactly what I did before. History was repeating itself. This was definitely an "Aha" moment. I stopped for a second, put down the shirts and again the little voice in my head said, um hello, you did this before and you ended up in ICU. Work is just what it is, work. It's not your life. It's not something that should take you over. Work is work. Live your life. So I stopped being upset for a minute, breathed and remembered everything that happened last November.

Sometimes you have to listen to the voice in your head. You have to stop. Listen to what history has taught you. Deja Vu isn't just Deja Vu as Chopra points out. It's meant to tell you you're on the right path or to make you aware of exactly what you're doing at that moment. It's a tap on the shoulder to make you think. So tomorrow, I'm taking a moment, I'm calming down. No need to always be full steam ahead. Breathe, otherwise as history shows, I might just be back in that emergency room!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Laugh...

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my obsession with The Golden Girls. I would watch every episode with my grandparents when I was little laughing at dirty jokes not fully knowing what they meant but happy that there was a show out there that could comfort me and make me think that these women were my Aunties. Even today, I hunt online for episodes hoping there is one I missed, a new episode, a lost episode, something I haven't seen before so I could feed my obsession.

As I get older, my friends and I relate to these 4 women more and more. We actually get all the dirty jokes and look try and figure out which Golden Girl we are. As of this year, I'm Sophia (the shortest in the red). I love being able to relate to things she says even though I'm over 50 years younger than her. "Ah, every day you forget something new". I think I laughed for a good 5 minutes yesteray as I saw a re-run.

The same goes for cartoon comedies of today. One of my favorite cartoons is Family Guy. Recently, I saw an episode where the patriarch, Peter, has a stroke which paralyzes the left side of his body (hemiplegia). This epi makes fun of his condition and while I know that is wrong, helloooo, sometimes we need to laugh. What good is anything if we can't laugh at life and experiences? The episode goes on and Peter is seen dragging his lifeless arm and leg through everyday activities. While crass, again, I laughed. At the end of the epi, Peter is cured of his ailments through the use of stem cells.

I guess what I'm trying to say is when your ailments get you down, laugh. It beats walking around feeling sorry for yourself. Ice cream sundaes can only get you so far right?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stroke Joke

Friend: So your memory is kind of shot from the stroke?
Me: Yeah, it sucks.
Friend: What kinds of things do you forget?
Me: I don't remember!



Today I met up with my Dad who was up for a visit from the Caribbean. I love my father. He's awesome. I could talk about him forever. He needs his own blog.  That's how epically awesome he is.

Over some iced coffee and creme brulee that he's not supposed to have (hello heart attack), we spoke about  stroke. I often forget that he also had a stroke...and a heart attack at the same time in 2001. We made fun of memory loss and other things that happened to us. That was the first time we had spoken about his stroke and mine. I felt a new level of closeness between us. It's awesome that we can share experiences, even the bad ones.

I love my Daddy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Good Die Young

This is more of a reflective post not concerning stroke but concerning life.

Yesterday, I was saddened to hear of a friend's brother's passing. He was only 33. Healthy, young, full of life and taken. His heart simply stopped. Isn't that something? It just stopped. You think you can prevent anything by eating healthy and taking care of yourself and then life throws you a curveball. I often think that at this age, we are too young to die but when I really get down to it, when I was younger I was saying the same thing when my parents or aunts or uncles had friends pass...They were in their 30s so it really shouldn't come as a surprise to me that these things happen. You can die. You're not invisible. You can break.

We often think that nothing can touch us, that nothing can happen or that it happens to someone else and never to us per se. I don't know...I guess it's moments like these that make us open our eyes if not for just a moment so we can slow down and just be. Ignore the perils of everyday and just pause and recognize that we aren't untouchable and to cherish each and every moment.

Seriously...stop and smell the flowers.
R.I.P. Peter...When I think of you, I always see a kind smile on your face. You will be missed.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pregnancy After Stroke

Today, I read an article about a woman who suffered over 3 miscarriages. The article was about how sometimes nature just isn't being nature and that there could be serious medical reasons why she was losing so many babies.

One of the reasons was clotting. This freaked me out because I'd like to think that one day I'll have a couple of young scrappers in my life and now that seems a little uncertain. Stroke victims have a risk when they carry. When I was reading this, I started to remember all the bad feelings, hurts and pains I had while recovering and the symptoms I had leading up to the stroke. I DO NOT want to have another one and that seems to be a very real risk if/when I get pregnant.

I know you can get your blood tested for levels of antithrombin and things like that but do I really want to risk that? I already have slightly below levels for certain proteins....what if this ends up hurting me? Having a family is a ways off for me but it's still something I should think about. Hmm...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Should Be Done

I was saddened to hear of a friend's mother's passing from a stroke yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. Her passing reminds me that not enough is being done for victims (especially victims under 60 of strokes).

I have been reading up on Stroke Trials. There seems to be a great amount of research being done which no doubt makes me happy and I hope makes you happy to. I just recently found out that drug trials can cost from $500 million to $2 billion! All this for drugs that may never see the light of day. Candidates for a new drug to treat a disease might include 5,000 to 10,000 chemical compounds and from that, typically 10 of these will qualify to test on people! 10!

Imagine being a scientist working on these drugs. You could go your whole career and not see one single drug approved...Well, if they don't get discouraged, neither can we! There's something out there. We just have to keep digging.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Cutest Little Clot You Ever Did See

On a recent trip to the Hematologist, I came across this little critter on top of the receptionist's computer.
I guess every little laugh helps :)

I Made It

I'm 30.
I'm alive and well.
I can blow out candles.
I can dance, smile and laugh.
I'm 6 months after.
Dissection free.
Blood Thinner free.
Piece of mind.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


May is Stroke Awareness Month (As declared by George Bush in 1989)
Celebration! Throw the confetti up in the air and dance!

The face of stroke is you and me. Remember, anyone can get a stroke and up to 80% can be prevented.
It has officially been 6 months since I had my own stroke so today is my own stroke birthday. Happy birthday ischemic stroke, you didn't get the best of me!

Shout out to Liza who's also celebrating her 1 year strokiversary! Here's to health and being better and stronger with each passing day!

Today's Stroke Tip:
Women may report different unique stroke symptoms than men:
  • sudden face and limb pain
  • sudden hiccups
  • sudden nausea
  • sudden general weakness
  • sudden chest pain
  • sudden shortness of breath
  • sudden palpitations

Monday, April 25, 2011


Ever have one of those days where your brain just feels...crammed? My brain is so busy and filled with who knows what, I feel like it's the angry stock market and tons of people are screaming buy buy sell sell! It's pretty dizzying...

I wonder if it's "a case of the Mondays". (200 points for anyone who knows what movie that's from).
Think I'll take 5 minutes, close my eyes and try to get all that noise out. Time to breathe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beautiful Way To Discuss Strokes With Kids

When Grandpa Comes Home
I came across this book about how to talk to children about strokes while doing some research on trials for new drugs and prevention.  It is such a great way to help children understand what's going on. The character of Grandpa is brought home after suffering a stroke and stays with his daughter, son, and granddaughter, Jane. It goes through Jane and Grandpa's frustrations with the adjustment of living with a stroke, not only with the patient but with the family.  You can read it online. 

I love it! What a creative way to help others understand what stroke does!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Did You Know?

On an average, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke.

Strokes can—and do—occur at ANY age. Nearly one quarter of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Over 143,579 people die each year from stroke in the United States.


Today's Word Is...


Antithrombin is a small itty bitty protein molecule that inactivates several enzymes of the coagulation system. (Things that help clot your blood-*cue 10,000 Pyramid music)

Anthithrombin's inactivation increases in the presence of Heparin (The thing I was on before the Warfarin aka Coumadin) Fun fact:  It can be made from goat's milk...ew Why am I bringing this up? Well, remember those results I was waiting for from the Hematologist and from the turkey waddle receptionist? Well, after yet another call from me to her, I finally got a call back and got my test results.

Everything in terms of blood is pretty rockin except for my antithrombin.  A normal range is 80% and I am just on the cusp of that with a number of 78%.  This sucks because that means I may be naturally prone to clots and that this stroke was just waiting to happen. My doc is going to run the test again in two weeks because if it goes down any further, there is a very good chance, mm, a very crappy chance, that I may have to go back on Warfarin....and I can't do that. I don't think I can physically do that.  That would mean more Lovenox shots and more of feeling like a zombie and NO GREEN FOODS!

That's like having to go back to way. So, say a small what up to whoever you pray to for me that I won't have to do this because I don't think I have it in me to do that.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hematologist Results

I still haven't gotten my blood test results from the Hematologist and it's been 3 weeks. Kind of ridiculous, right?

I called the office twice and spoke to one of the receptionists who, I swear, sounds like a turkey. Seriously, whenever she talks, all I hear is "waddle waddle waddle". I know I'm not the only one thinking this either. I voicenoted her without her knowing and sent it to a friend of mine and she totally agrees. The woman sounds like a straight turkey. Whenever I go there I always refer to her as such.  It has never occured to me to ask what her name is, I like Turkey Lurkey just fine.

Anywho, no results yet.  Just thought I'd keep you guys posted. Hope everyone is having a great day!

Be well!

I Feel Like The Weather

Dark and gross.

I am big into family, maybe because I don't have any brothers or sisters. That said, when I was recovering, I thought I would hear from certain people and I didn't...that hurt.  I'm telling you, all it takes is for one incident to happen to see who's really there for you.  I'm so grateful and touched by everyone who I've received emails, texts and phonecalls from especially because they didn't have to do that. If not for social media sites, we wouldn't know what was going on in each other's lives.  A phonecall? What is that? That's one of the reasons I love my bff. We still send cards. Sounds dumb I know but snail mail is really great.  Sometimes our lives get so busy, we don't hear speak to each other on the phone for days or 2 weeks but when that happens, I get a card from her or she gets a card from me.  It's the greatest thing ever.  We've been doing this ritual for over 11 years. It's a great little way to say hey I'm here.

We only see or hear from certain friend or family when there is a wedding or funeral.  That is awful...people always say, "let's not always meet like this" but does anyone actually mean or stick with that? I have been saying since this has happend that I am going to reach out more and try my best to keep in touch with people I wouldn't normally keep in touch with because life is short. I extend my hand and if you don't take it, then I know, that's your test.

Wow. I'm sorry for the Debbie Downer post today but I was really irked by this weekend. Anyway, back to the bright side of things.  By you not reaching out or keeping in touch, you don't have a place in my life, I have to let you go. As T.D. Jakes says:

"There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk. I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left...Let them go."

I like to say that to myself when I am feeling like this.  It really puts things into perspective.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Haha Psych....

So that check I got in the mail is to pay ANOTHER bill headed my way. The insurance company just wanted to send it to me first. :(


Oh well, at least I got a tax refund haha

Monday, March 28, 2011

Small Victories!

I usually get like 3 bills AT LEAST a week from NYU or whoever with kind yet cutting words about payment so I often leave them alone for a week and don't open them until I feel it's necessary.  Impending bankruptcy is not something I like to welcome with open arms.

So this morning, right before work, I figured I would see what I was being taken for and to my great surprise, I didn't get a bill. I got an actual REFUND! It seems that my insurance covered my MRIs and MRAs and I got serious $$$ from the good old health insurance people.  I'm so ridic happy!

Pleasant news for a Monday :)  Hope everyone is having a healthy Monday!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Addicted to Video Games

I have a HUGE problem playing video games...the problem is, I can't stop. Seriously, I once played The Sims for 6 hours straight and everytime I closed my eyes, I saw little itty bitty avatars moving about. It was scary and annoying at the same time. With that said, I love me some games, don't get me started on my Mario or Zelda addiction...

A couple of years ago, I bought Brain Age for my Nintendo DS.  For those of you who don't know, Brain Age is a game designed to sharpen your noodle and improve your...brain's age. I was discussing this with my coworker yesterday and she told me that a doctor actually prescribed one of his stroke patients, Brain Age!  That is AWESOME.  When you look at it, you'd be saving a ton of money on therapy by playing brain teasers that cost you a one time fee of $49.99.

See, your parents were wrong, video games ARE good for you. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Hate Waiting

Patience is a virtue.
I'm not really feeling that right now.
I want my blood protein results NOW.
...Why does that sound kind of dirty?
But I do.
Why does this take so long when we seem to be in the day and age of the quickness with medical stuffies?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

H.O.P.E. For Stroke is such a beautiful, inspiring website filled with stories of survivors and support.


I was brought to tears reading all they went through.  If you are a caregiver, definitely go on this site.  You'll meet people just like you.  I know I am always talking about stroke victims.  I have to shout out the caregivers.  Your job is FAR FROM EASY.  Anyone who can have a smile on their face 24 hours a day while taking on the difficult task of taking care of someone else and not complain, not say a negative word should be immediately streamed towards sainthood.  You are the people responsible for making us feel better.  It takes a special person to do this.  Words can't express how much I respect you.

There are also touching poems and videos on hopeforstroke.  I'll close with a wonderful poem written by Linda Murray who suffered a stroke in 2009. 

Pocket of Rainbows
My pocket is filled with rainbows,
blue purple, and pink
pouring out on the grass
where people walk in their bare feet.
A storm is coming.
It turns the sky black,
reminding me of my stroke
so I reach to a cloud,
pull soft white paper down to cover me,
and push the stroke away.

Vacation Stroke Joke

Don't come to the drinks truck if you don't want an alcoholic drink...

Only being able to have 3 or 4 drinks on Carnival Monday was a challenge! I had to space everything out which caused me to run into some problems on the road!

ELJON: Hi, can I have a pineapple juice and soda?
ELJON: And ice?
ELJON: Uh, a million dollars?

Trucktender shakes head.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Keep Your Brain Sharp!

Wiggle Your Peepers!
*Can't remember where you stashed your glasses? Try looking from side to side. Rapid horizontal eye movements causes the brain's two hemispheres to interact with each other more efficiently, explains memory researcher Andrew Parker, PhD. In moments of temporary amnesia, that action may help you pull up information.

*Taken from

Tattoo Me!

This Saturday was a big day for me. With all the doctors appointments out of the way and my six month mark of the stroke coming up, I wanted to get something to commemorate my experience. I've wanted to get a tattoo of the stroke ribbon for awhile now so a couple of weeks ago, I went to "East Side Ink" for a consultation with this dude, Needles and made an appointment. 

I was strangely calm walking into the tattoo parlor. I had slight bouts of excitement but for the most part was ok and not nervous.  In fact, I feel nervous just talking about it.  Talk about delayed response time, Eljon!
I decided to get "walk by faith" tattoo'd right next to the ribbon.  I had to keep telling myself to have faith that I would get better.  Health would improve.  I would forget this sometimes.  Like anyone, I got down every once in awhile but again, being reminded by friends and family that time heals made it better.  Inktime only took about 45 minutes. I'm still getting used to it being there!  It itches!  I'm really happy :) 

*The red on the paper towel is ink, not blood!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Last Doctor's Appt In Awhile?

Today I went to my Hematologist to run some more tests.  Now that I have been off the Warfarin aka Coumadin, my doc wants to test me for a particular protein in my blood that would make me prone to clots.  I'm hoping that this is not something that comes up because that could mean that I would have to go back on the drugs...and we all know how much I HATE blood thinners.

It also means that if and when I do decide to have a family, that I would have to take shots of Heparin every day for the entire pregnancy. This just makes me want to say surrogate now.  I like to think of myself as someone who can deal with pain easily but I'm sorry I don't care what you say, giving yourself shots is HARD.  Mad props to the diabetics and people who have to do this everyday.  You are far braver than me!  I won't find out for a couple of days if I have the protein so let's all send the good thoughts my way that I don't have that pesky protein present in my blood.

They took tubes and tubes of blood from me today.  Seeing as how this could possibly be my last visit to the Hematologist, I thought I would take a picture as the final blood draw was taken and was looked upon in disbelief and smiles as I photographed what you see there. There was a young lady next to me getting blood drawn as well. I wanted to ask what she was in for but I figured that would be innapropriate but it's not everyday that you see another young person in a Hematologist's office.  I am usually surrounded by 60-90 year olds asking me if I want a "sucking candy".

After the blood draw, I was taken to the doctor's examination room where I got bored and slightly nervous so I started to grafitti the paper on the examining table.  I don't think this is an offense in any part of the world.  Who draws on examining tables?  I didn't know what to write and didn't want it to go through to the leather so all I could think of was the below.  When all is said and done, stories of young stroke victimes shouldn't go unnoticed and shouldn't be forgotten.  It's history, my history, medical history.  My story.  And I hope it helps others.  So all I could write was that I was here.  I conquered this.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Power To End Stroke

According to
  • African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever strokes compared to Caucasians.
  • African Americans have higher death rates for stroke compared to Caucasians.
  • The prevalence of high blood pressure in African Americans in the United States is the highest in the world.
Stay healthy, eat right, know the risks!
Minutes matter when dealing with strokes.  A minute saved are brain cells saved.

New Sign of Stroke! -The Tongue

A good friend of mine forwarded an email to me regarding the new sign of having a stroke, the tongue. 

If a person is experiencing symptoms, ask them to stick their tongue out.  If the tongue is crooked, call the doctor.  With me, things tasted funny and my tongue felt numb. I think that is also a sign.  Hopefully people will pass along this information.  Remember, you never know who you can save.  Knowledge is power.

Be well!

Vacation Stroke Joke

Couldn't have been happier seeing so many feathers.

Sweaty drunk bald man comes to dance with me.  I politely wine on him for a minute.  I am now new to the game since I haven't danced in months and have had to re-teach myself how to pelt waist.

SDBM: You only know one move or what?
ELJON: (turns around) I just learned this move! (tosses drink in his face and skips away)

Dude, you better pray I don't find a pic of you on FB because I'll put it on here haha.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Second Night

The stroke didn't harm your face so I can squish it.

I have to admit, I was tired going to this second party.  After having to rest for a minute, I was a little concerned about having to sit down and rest for longer.  Luckily I didn't have to. I slept A LOT earlier in the day.  Many folks at this party were drinking Red Bull mixed with alcohol.  A friend of mine informed me before I left that Red Bull and liquor causes strokes so be warned. I guess it makes your heart rate speed up.  I forgot this on Carnival Monday and definitely had a little drink with this mixed in.  I was subsequently scolded by someone and made to dump it out in front of him.  But yes, really, no one mix the Bull with the liquor, bad bad bad.

I saw plenty people dutty wining and doing some serious dance moves with their heads at this party.  I cringed each and every time I saw this because as I said before, this is a cause of strokes.  You might think you're looking level sexy for homie who's watching in the corner but trust and believe you don't want to end up in the hospital having to shoot some Lovenox in your stomach.

The First Night

Glowing lights make fingers dance magically in the moonlight.

I touched down in Trinidad at about 5:00pm and got to my cousin's house with enough time to take a quick nap, settle and say some quick prayers to see if I could really pull off going to a party from 12:00am-6:00am.  I had a quiet moment while getting ready. I kind of felt like a boxer in the locker room getting amped up before a big fight.  You can do this, you got this!

Things were going great until about 3:00am when I started to get slightly weak.  I sat down in the corner by a bar tent and stayed there for half an hour.  I wasn't upset, I mean ok, maybe a little frustrated that I was a bit tired but everything for a reason, right? Because I had to sit down, I was able to take things in, the crowd, the music, everything for a short time without anyone else and that was beautiful. 

The crowd started to jump up and down when a performer came on the stage and caused a frenzy so I stepped to the side literally protecting my neck laughing at how ridiculous I must have looked. But again, small victories, I was able to stay up until the wee wee hours of the morning for my first Carnival party.

Yay, me.

I'm Back!

I'm back, I survived, I'm not hurt, I did it!

Trinidad Carnival was great and as you can see from the pic, I was all smiles :) the entire time. I did have some challenges when I first arrived ie having to say no to some after parties so I could rest but I'm glad I was cautious!

I tried to sleep through J'ouvert. For those of you who don't know what that is, well, to keep it short, it starts at about 4:00am and continues to like 9:00am. You get blasted with paint, oil, chocolate (yeah I know) and come home, shower and then go to the parade route for rehearsal wining.  I passed out at around 10:30pm and was woken up by the entire apartment shaking from the bass coming from the music truck.  It seems that the J'ouvert route passes right by my cousin's house.  I couldn't help but laugh.  Here I was trying to rest and be a good girl and I had to stay up anyway because of the noise.  I dosed off after a little but was again woken up by a drunk man singing quite badly outside the door or window.  I ran up and down the stairs making sure all doors and windows were locked. That is the NY in me. So when my cousins got back from playing J'ouvert and saw me looking quite exhausted, they were pretty confused!

The parties were great.  I did have some slight hesitation with some people and recognizing them. If you're reading, as I told you before, I'm still a little slow with it.  I remember you, my brain was just making local stops!  I couldn't drink like crazy since I'm taking the baby aspirin...don't want to get stomach ulcers, and the great thing was that I now remember everything...EVERYTHING. That's a blessing :) So many people came up to me and asked how I was.  I got lots of hugs and well wishes and for that and for all of you, seriously, thank you :) I felt very loved.

On the last night of my stay, while in the back of a truck riding home, my cousin told me that now that everything was over, he could tell me that he was scared sh*tless that I was coming to Trinidad.  He didn't let it be known until then becasue he knew it would freak me out. I think he was quite relieved that I was leaving the next day so I wouldn't be in danger of whatever. 

I'd be lying if I wasn't the slightest bit scared. I was. Dancing and standing up for 5-8 hours a night can be a strain on anyone and for someone who is recovering...well, it's a bit risky, but I made it.  I feel stronger for it :)

Now, I am sitting here at my cubicle, peeling and falling asleep thinking about my trip and happy that  I took the plunge and went.  My entire body aches but it was worth it, the caution, the anxiety, the fun, the whole thing.  I'm back!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's Here!

I'm finally going on my trip tomorrow and everyone is nervous except me.  I think I'm the only one who is psyched out!  Everyone is nervous that something is going to happen to me and them being nervous is making me a little nervous.

IF something happens in Trinidad, I won't really be near a hospital who will be able to deal with me.  I joked to my cousin "Just bring me back to die". I know I know that sounds horrible but I'm going to be fine.  I want to live...a little. No overdoing it none of that. Besides, I know I will have about 20 pairs of eyes on me making sure no one bumps me or touches me making sure I don't dance or drink too much.

I know they mean well and I love them even more for it...but I gotta have a little fun! :)

Will make sure and post pictures when I get back! Yay able to fly. Small victories :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Beautiful Thing About Forgetting

Paraphrasing the words of Jill Bolte Taylor, you feel like you've "lost 30 years of emotional baggage".
What a small victory :)

Thank you to my good good friend who sent this video to me. How amazing this scientist is....
She discusses her stroke. Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke Of Insight

Monday, February 28, 2011

I Remembered!

I remembered my pin.
The correct pin.
The pin for my debit card.
I was able to get money for cupcakes and french toast.
Twas a good day.

I guess maybe it was just one of those days.  I don't want to risk it though.  I am going to closely monitor myself.  Can't be too safe, right?

This Thursday, I'm starting a writing class to help with my playwriting and screenwriting.  I'm a little scared because I feel like I am slowing down...This could be just a case of writer's block or maybe just like what I said before, a case of one of those days...although this would be just one of those months...We'll see.  Last week I wrote a new piece.  It's not my best, but it's something...

Small victories :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just One Of Those Days?

Yesterday was a particularly bad day for my memory. I forgot a slew of things.

I went to the ATM and forgot my pin and stood in the bank for about 20 minutes trying all types of combinations. I stopped after the 4th time for fear that cops or something would show up and arrest me for suspicion or something. I still can't remember my pin.

Earlier in the week, I ordered tea after dining with a friend and two seconds later, couldn't remember what flavor I got.  I was very surprised when the waitress brought me peppermint.

I left my phone at home. I never leave my phone at home.  When I realized I didn't have it, I panicked and thought I lost it and was pretty much nervous for three hours until I got home and saw it in the charger.

I forgot to make an important call.  I forgot about something my Mom told me. I just plain left my brain somewhere else yesterday and everyone is telling me that it happens to everyone, that everyone has a day like that once in awhile and normally I wouldn't think anything of it but I had a stroke, I had a brain injury and I get scared.  I'm scared now.  What if it's not just one of those days? What if it's a sign of something else?  Am I losing myself?  I feel like it...but I could just be getting nervous over nothing.  All I know is that I feel pretty low about forgetting all those little things. Today should be better, right?  I mean, I remembered to write it all down today...that's good, right?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Strokes and You!

Ok, so apparently strokes in younger people are on the rise and strokes in older people are declining...but why?

This baffles me! But it's nice to see that the NY Times is recognizing that this is an issue.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Strokes In The Media

You know, strokes are getting really popular in the media.  Last week, Grey's Anatomy featured a character (who couldn't have been more than 35) who was having a stroke.  The guy walked in with a migraine and was discharged and then caught right before he got into his car by Meredith to come back in because Lexie didn't diagnose him properly.

Why do strokes keep popping up in shows and news featuring just new people?  I'm beginning to think that something is in the water or in our food that is causing this.  Seriously...can you remember strokes being in the news so much?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Dreaded DVD

I have a DVD of my actual DVD with pics of my damaged brain and I want to look at it but I'm afraid.  It's been sitting on my counter for a week and I can't bring myself to look at it.  I'm scared of all the little black spots of dead cells I'm going to see.

I have to look at it.  I'm just scared to take that first step.  It's kind of like jumping in a pool of water, you know it's going to be so frigid cold but after you get acclimated, it's not so bad.  I just have to take that first step. 

C'mon!  You can do it! I have to do it...the chanting of go Eljon in my head isn't really working for me today. Go Eljon go. Eeeee, I can't even take it out of the sleeve! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Awesome Stroke Survivor

I'd like to give a warm shout out to Stacy who I met through this blog.  Stacy has also had an ischemic stroke and is recovering beautifully.  She's an inspiration to me and I'm so glad we are getting to know each other. 

I love that I'm finding this newfound family through such a terrible incident.  It's one of the positive things we should keep in mind whenever something bad happens to us.  There's always a silver lining :)

Yay Stacy, thank you for telling me your story.  :)

I'm Published!

I wrote an article for the Trinidadian Lifestyle magazine "Outlish" on my stroke!
Check it out.  Whoot whoot, stroke awareness!

Bill Collectors Beware Of The Eljon

So NYU has been calling me like I'm an old friend these days wondering where all my payments are. 
Since I have been getting like 5 bills a day, I am a little slack in paying everyone off. I'll put a bill or two aside and get to it 2 weeks later, still in plenty of time to get to said bill collector so I get a little "miffed" when peeps call me asking where their dough is.

I treat it like a game now.  Yesterday *Liz called. She asked me about where payments were and instead of saying I mailed them, I asked her how she was and if she was following what was going on in Egypt.  She kept trying to get around that and was still asking for the bill money. I then asked her if she had seen any good movies lately.  She was really thrown and kept asking me about the money.  I eventually answered her but it really tickles me to mess with these peoples heads.  I think I'll do this from now on.

Hey, if you really REALLY want these co-payments, you may as well work for them :)

*Liz is not her real name.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bye Bye Warfarin!

I am officially off blood thinners!

I went to the Hematologist on Tuesday and was told that since my Neurologist is in agreement, I could stop taking Warfarin, like immediately.  No need for another bridge like the evil shot Lovenox, no need for weaning myself off, I could just stop cold turkey.

And I did! I walked out of there and had hummus and spinach for lunch and 3 cups of green tea.  I had sushi for lunch! And you've probably guessed, I got sick that night because I overdosed on green but I was just too excited!  It definitely feels weird not to take a pill every night.  I got so used to that but this is a step in a positive direction! No more blood thinners makes me feel like I'm one step closer to becoming me again.

I had to call the Anticoagulation clinic to tell them that I am no longer taking a blood thinner so I don't have to come in anymore and the secretary who I would see every time I would go in told me she was so happy for me and that she better not see my face back there ever again.  She was laughing and wished me well. I got off the phone and immediately called several people to tell them the good news and no one picked up.  Why does that always happen?  You call and call when you have something exciting to say and that's the one time when no one picks up.  I ended up just saying it out loud in the street until someone called me back.  I had to tell someone, so why not the universe!

I do feel very tired though but they said that would be the case since the meds will take a couple of days to get out of my system.  I can deal with a few more days of tiredness. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weird Stroke Like Behavior Caught While On The Air

I saw this on the news today.  A young CBS reporter, Serene Branson, suffered what seemed like a stroke on the air while covering the Grammy's.  An increasing amount of young people suffering strokes.  She went home after all this which is shocking.  Just because your vitals are ok doesn't mean you're ok. I really hope she went and got an MRI right after...


*It's been confirmed that this was actually caused by a migraine. Still, remember to get checked out no matter what.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Today, I Was Cinderella

I had the flu over the weekend, full fledged, 103 degree achy fevery flu and it SUCKED.  Not that the flu would ever be a good thing, but when you can't take anything but Tylenol for it, it is the worst thing ever.  The flu also took my appetite away so I didn't really eat much of anything until last night...big mistake when you're on Warfarin.

I had my blood checked today right before I went to my regular doc and my INR was crazy.  A normal read is between a 2 and a 3 and mine....well, mine was a 4.7...eek to say the least.  That would explain the feeling of dizziness, my blood was too thin.  While this was bad bad news, the solution was the best thing ever.  For today only, I was allowed to eat as much Vitamin K I could stand so my level would go back down.  It was like the nun was my fairy Godmother and I was given a pass until midnight.

So...I kind of went crazy. I had sushi for lunch and for dinner.  I had salad, I had spinach and 3, yes 3 cups of green tea.  I got nauseous from eating so fast.  I ate and ate until I was so full, I felt like you could roll me down the street and just like that, midnight came around and I turned back into a pumpkin who couldn't have sushi or green tea until further notice.  But it was everything I could have imagined it to be, how freeing, to be able to eat what I wanted, even for a couple of hours.  How happy...

One slight drawback's 1:00am and I'm wide awake...maybe I shouldn't have had quite so many cups of green tea.

Small victories :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Several years ago, I crocheted a scarf for one of my Mother's Christmas gifts.  She still has it and currently wears it to keep warm from all this blustery weather we're having.  The other day, we were talking about said scarf and when I made it and I couldn't remember a thing.  I mean, I know I made it, I know it was several years ago but I can't for the life of me remember crocheting it. 

I have a scarf I wear.  It's black, red, gold and green and I remember exactly where I was making it, sitting on the couch in my living room with my dog sitting next to me.  I'm happy I can remember that, I am but it's really bothering me that I don't remember making my Mother's scarf.  Is this from the stroke? Have I been robbed of other memories I don't even know about?

It's a little scary, actually a lot scary. I don't even know what to do about it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Be In The Know

In healing and recovering from this ischemic stroke (which I feel should have a name, anyone have any suggestions?), I have been doing a lot of research because the only thing more deadly than a disease that can kill you, is a lack of knowledge about the disease that can kill you. Knowledge is power.

We put too much trust in doctors, at least that's how I feel. We look to them as a sort of higher power, tell me what's wrong with me, you have all the answers, but the truth is, they don't. In fact, through this whole journey, I have come across pretty stupid doctors to the point where I questioned the medication they were giving me and wouldn't take it until I spoke with a pharmacist and got a second opinion from my primary care doctor.  I shouldn't have to do that but maybe I should, after all, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be well informed.

When I went to the Anticoagulation clinic for the first time, the nurses had me sit down and watch a video on Coumadin in addition to explaining it to me.  While I felt a little weird sitting in a conference room watching a video all by myself, I appreciated that they wanted me to have all the info I could get my hands on. They sent me home with packets of info and made sure I was comfortable with my new regiment.

I love CNN. Seriously, addicted to the news from there (I'm a weirdo).  I just saw that they have a section called The Empowered Patient which focuses on well, doing your own research and knowing what's going on with your body.  Everyone should read this, sick or not.

Knowledge is power!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2 Weeks Vacation Just Isn't Enough

Two weeks vacay just isn't enough for me or anyone for that matter but especially me right now, yes it's about me today, haha. I feel that by living through this stroke, I have to see more, do more, travel more. I just can't do that with 10 days of vacation time a year off...I mean it's impossible. 

Oh wait, there's that little thing called money that also needs to be accounted for. Yes, money to travel. Charge it, charge it, charge it. I have always said that I don't mind going into debt to travel, and I don't. It's not like I'm buying a dress or something I'm only going to enjoy a handful of times. These are memories that I am going to make which will last me my entire life (memory don't fail me now...seriously, don't). Ok, slightly bad joke but a worry nonetheless. There are so many things to do, see, experience, touch, taste and again, not something I can do on 10 itty bitty little days off. This is why Europeans and people who live in the Caribbean probably live longer. They get, what 3 weeks off or something like that?

Now that I can fly, I want to go EVERYWHERE. My first trip is on March 4th to the beautiful island of Trinidad for Carnival. Now I know you're thinking whoa whoa whoa but rest assured, I will not be partying it up for most of my time there. I'm going to take a backseat and look at others.  I'm going to really take in everyone else singing and dancing, with new eyes. As someone who almost didn't have this chance.  I think I'm going to do that if I visit other places I usually frequent during vacation time and look at them with new eyes...good idea, right?

So much to do in 10 little days for the year. I'll have to choose wisely. But one thing is for certain, I will see everything with a new perspective. Something, I maybe didn't do, before the stroke. New eyes, new experiences, giving thanks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Brain: The Inside Story

Today, a coworker saw my stroke magnet on my file cabinet and was asking about the signs of a stroke and what to do if someone she knows is experiencing the same symptoms.  Many people have been asking me a lot lately about symptoms and how they should proceed when faced with an injury like that and I can't stress enough how important it is to call your doctor or 911 as soon as this happens.

Remember, the time between a moment and a minute can make all the difference in how severe your injury will be.  Never ever think that it can't happen to you just because you're young or healthy.  You can still stroke out just like anyone else.  Did you know even children have strokes? Crazy! The brain is such an unchartered territory in terms of research and we are just now learning more about it. 

I went to the Museum of Natural History this weekend with a good friend to see their exhibit on The Brain and would encourage anyone who lives in the New York area to see it as well.  It's all about, well, how the brain works and what doctors and scientists are discovering. It was very interactive and allowed you to give your own brain tests on how things effect your senses and how all your neurons work together. I'm totally butchering what you see there but if you click on the link, you'll see what I'm talking about.  It just makes you realize even more that we really don't know as much as we think we do about brain injuries.