I had a small stroke known as a TIA .  

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost control of your life?   Have you ever had to look at your life and totally reprioritize it?

Well, here is the day I found out I had a small stroke.

The last blog I wrote about this I thought it was Ocular Migraines.   If you didn’t read that post please click here to get caught up.    http://texasartandsoul.com/i-lost-my-vision/

After my eye doctor appointment I went to the neurologist a few weeks later just to “Confirm” it was Ocular.

I sit patiently in the Neurologist office waiting for my name to be called.    I was almost 30 minutes late because I got lost (I get lost EVERYWHERE I go) so I was nervous that they wouldn’t see me.

They called my name and led me back to an office with the doctor (really nice old guy), a young med student finishing his last year and a young lady sitting beside the doctor typing everything as we talk.

I begin to describe Aug 21st.   I told him about my eye doctor appointment and how she diagnosed me with Ocular Migraines and I basically was here just to confirm that I was fine and not dying.    Nervous laugh…

The Doctor and Med student continue to check me out and ask more questions.   He then states what I feared.

“You had a TIA.”   “What’s a TIA?”   I ask.

It’s a small stroke.

“Are you sure?  It’s not ocular?”  I ask with another nervous laugh hoping that his many years of experience are just playing tricks on him and me.

The doctor then begins to talk about why he believes this and he thinks that it could be a hole in my heart.   I am writing down everything he is saying, but still in shock and trying to remain calm.

I really thought he would just CONFIRM that it was Ocular Migraines and I’d be headed to In and Out Burger.   But no, my mind becomes blurry as I try to digest what has just been said.

So, I thank the man and then walk to the receptionist on autopilot as she sends out for 5 tests to be done over the next two weeks.   He tells me to take aspirin daily and to get off BC pills as soon as possible.

I barely make it to my car before I burst into tears in the parking lot.   What’s happening to me?    I’m only 37 years old!   I’m not the perfect ideal of health, but I also wouldn’t say I was “not healthy”.   My body knew that what happened that night was not normal…. not just an expensive  ER visit for an eye booger as my husband and I joke.   I knew that night that something was REALLY strange.

Having no control over your body is so scary.

I managed to make it out of Ft. Worth through blurry tear-filled eyes and then I called my husband to tell him what I’d heard.

The next 4 weeks involved blood tests, MRI scans with IV’s to make everything glow (that freaks me out!), Bubble Study’s, EKG’s with IV’s, some kind of carotid thingy majiggy!   More bubble studies and too many needle sticks to count.    

After a lot of testing and waiting the Neurologist confirms that I need to go to a Cardiologist because the bubble test was showing the possibility of a medium size hole.

SIDE NOTE:  MY NEUROLOGIST SAYS MY BRAIN IS PERFECT (TO ALL THOSE CURIOUS… MIKE, DAVID, JOSH, BOBBY, EDDIE!!!! )  

So what does a person do when given this kind of news? 

Well, I stuffed my face with as much Candy Corn and Diet Root Beer as possible.   My addiction to Fall’s greatest candy got so bad that I had to tell my daughter she was allowed to slap my hands if she saw me grab it at the store.

It was quite the sight in Wal-mart this past month.  …  All I can say is that there were quite a few threats made and the candy corn made it home every time, but once.

So after more tests that made me feel like I was in a weird horror movie or turning into the Bride of Frankenstein, it’s confirmed that I have a small hole in my heart that caused the stroke.

As I am halfway sedated with a camera lodged down my esophagus I hear the doctor talk about the PFO (hole in the heart) and then say to the nurses that the FDA JUST approved a few days ago for small holes to be closed (fixed!)

I know it sounds weird to say this, but God’s timing is perfect!   I was so scared I would have to walk around being scared that I would “Stroke Out” as I call it or be on major blood thinners forever.   The  idea that I can be “fixed” is very hopeful in the light of all that has happened with my dad’s heart and recently mine.

So after my procedure yesterday I had a paint party scheduled that night.   I asked the doctor ahead of time if I would be okay to still work.   He said to have someone drive me and I could still do the gig.

Some people may have cancelled the event, but I’m so thankful I didn’t.   It was such a wonderful, fun distraction!    Teaching art to first time painters and watching them have a blast made all my troubles disappear even if just for a few hours.

Art really does heal, people!   I’m so thankful I have such a creative distraction.    If you are going through a difficult moment, season or even year in your life please take time to serve others and be creative!   It really does help the soul.  

Anyway, sorry for the long blog post, but wanted to get everyone up to date!    My closure surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov 15th!   I’m nervous, but excited to reduce my stroke risk to basically zero!    The success rate for this surgery is 80% and the doctor is wonderful and very experienced so I expect great results.   I appreciate any and all prayers.

Oh, and please use art to heal if you are going through a hard time!    There are so many fun online courses and Tam Laporte is giving one of her Life Book lessons away for free over the next week!   I’ve been taking it and love it!  http://www.willowing.org

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