April 28, 2011

IS this a side effect?

     Today's blog isn't humorous or cute.  It is just me trying to figure some things out.  I know that I know that I know I am beyond lucky in terms of this stroke.  The simple fact that I had my stroke just over 2 months ago and I am home, driving and fairly independent is nothing short of miraculous.  I know I get frustrated with myself when my energy runs out and I can't do ALL that I want.  I am truly working on that.  I have gotten good at looking over a week seeing what's up and planning activities on a more spread out philosophy instead of how much can I get done in one day American mentality.
    You can't watch a TV show today without seeing at least one commercial for a medicine.  When you listen to them list the side effects half the time you think who would be crazy enough to even think of taking that med!! I did learn a little bit about that.  If 1, truly it only takes 1, person in a drug company's drug trial study experiences a symptom it has to be listed as a possible side-effect.  I always wondered when you hear the announcer say this drug may cause insomnia and then 3 items later also state it may cause drowsiness.  Well if one person had a restless night and the other person was exhausted both these statements make the "possible side-effects" list.  This was explained to me by one of my nurses who used to work for a pharmaceutical company.  A little crazy don't you think but let's face it in the litigious society we Americans live in can you blame them for CYA?
     What about after we recover from medical procedures?  I had a very successful Anterior Cervical Fusion with Plating (say that 10 times fast) in September 2008.  All of the pain in my neck and the tingling/weakness in my arm disappeared.  As with any surgical procedure there are side-effects.  Blood clots are one of them and 3 weeks later it was discovered that I had one in my lung; medically referred to as a PE (Pulmonary Embolism).  This near wrecked my life.  First off either they find the PE because the patient was smart enough to recognize something wasn't just right and went to the ER, or they are found post-mortem.  It is that simple.  That was how honestly the doctor told us when he delivered the news.  Unfortunately not only did I have this side-effect but I am also one of those who do not respond well to the meds used to treat blood clots and went through 9 months of hell~ including 3 more hospital stays and 1 incredibly close brush with death.
     Those type of side effects are expected.  They are unfortunate but they are expected and clearly laid out to you before any procedure begins.
     When we suffer losses there are immense side-effects.  Whether it is the loss of a loved one, and even a pet.  Sometimes it is simply the loss that occurs when we leave something old to start something new.  Changing jobs even when for the better has it's losses and consequences.  I do think that thanks to the Internet and social networks that we don't feel quite the sting as 25 years ago when we move away.  While we do lose the ability to be a part of a shared experience we are able to at least stay connected. 
     What I am struggling to understand is the side-effect of fear.  I consider myself a fairly strong and intelligent person.  I can understand the reality of what has happened and how it has changed not only my life but that of those around me as well.  I am making changes to create a healthier lifestyle for me and my family in different areas.  But fear having this strong hold I just don't understand.  The Effects of Fear lists 10 distinct attributes it can have on your life.  I think those statements are true but not sure how to apply them in this situation.
     The reality: Wednesday night while I was sitting at Panera's I felt my entire body just change.  We've all had that feeling when we know we have the flu before we're truly symptomatic. But the thing is I don't know what the change was or what it meant.  The only thing I can truly describe is that I felt my heart racing. When I got up my balance was a little off.  No caffeine or different drugs to point to.  I knew better than to completely ignore it.  I didn't have vision issues.  To be on the safe side I had someone follow me home. 
     Have you seen fear spread?  It is not a comfortable thing to watch.  This was even more uncomfortable as I knew I was the cause.  First I saw it on Meg as she got in the car then on Paige who followed us home.  When I walked in the door it had arrived ahead of us and was already visible on Michael and Patrick.  Fear feeds on Fear.  It easily can multiply and become overwhelming.  How do you stop this?  How can rational concern quickly become measurable fear? 
     While feeling horrible last night the weight of fear was just making it worse.  That's a horrible cycle to let grow any momentum.  I guess fear is an appropriate feeling for anyone recovering from a situation they had no control over. Was what I feeling a warning of another stroke? Just being worried about another stroke could almost cause one!  I felt horrible to begin with and was unable to sleep.  Letting my mind wander is never a good thing.  I can't fall asleep to music.  I know falling asleep to TV prevents a true restful sleep.  I've learned if I can't fall asleep I have to distract my mind and last night was no different.  I play online games, fb and well blog.  This did help to keep my fears at bay. 
     This morning I awoke and felt some better.  I didn't sleep as well as I wanted so that added to my fatigue.  Tomorrow I am headed to Mobile so I've agreed to spend today on bed-rest to help deflate my husband's fears.
     Stress  Fear
     One in the same or identical twins?
     Either way they both need to be acknowledged and met head on.


  1. Oh Bren, reading that was like listening to myself, it is amazing! I was out having lunch with a friend and honestly thought the flu was coming on, and then fear took over, and tears just started to flow, and I said to Julie, now, whenever I feel "sick" the first thought is a normal I am sick, and then it immediately goes to so, am I stroking again? I can go on & on, but, our lives are the same, and unless you have walked that walk, you can't IMAGINE it. Blogging helps me, trememdously, Too!!

  2. Bren, I'm so sorry. Fear has reared it's ugly head in my life way too often. I'll be praying for you.


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