Friday, August 22, 2014

Once more with feeling

I went to a stroke support group meeting on Wednesday and met several other people who had also had a stroke. All of the people except for the group moderator were over age 65.  It was nice to hear other people stories of their recovery.  A point which was made which I found to be true.  There are some people who just don't understand what it means when you tell them you had a stroke. A stroke means the brain's blood supply is blocked or a blood vessel within the brain ruptures. I had a stroke on the left side of my brain. I also had a brain hemorrhage on the right side of my brain. A  hemorrhage is when blood from brain trauma irritates the brain tissue. This causes swelling in the brain. Another name for this is cerebral edema.

The reason why I had additional bleeding in the brain at the time was because the ventricular catheter of my shunt was on the wrong side. When it was moved back to the right side of my brain according to the doctors I had an additional bleed on the right side of my brain. In my opinion, I think I had the stroke before I went in for surgery and I had an additional bleed when the ventricular catheter was moved to the right side. I passed out before I got to the Operating Room. I hadn't been given any anesthesia yet, just the IV had been inserted.  The stroke it caused traumatic brain injury. TBI happens when the brain is hit by a sudden force or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. 

Side effects of stroke include behavioral changes, memory loss, physical and emotional changes. Six months later, I'm still having some walking and balance issues. I still struggle with the emotional and behavior changes. I'm more anti-social than I was before.  On certain days sleeping in past my usual time of 7am is too easy.  Which is why I only allow myself to do this sometimes.

The changes in my brain haven't prevented me from continuing the work I was doing before March. It took me seven weeks, but I was able to finish a graphic novel I had been working on since January. In order to get back into illustrating it took me about four months before I was able to continue working on anything. At first it was too overwhelming and having to sit down and draw for various periods of time was too much multitasking for my brain to handle.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


I went to see an ear specialist at my local Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (ENT) regarding my right ear. Since returning home in April, I noticed my right ear feels full, there is a continuous tone and the sound quality is slightly distorted and diminished. I thought it would go away on it's own, but it hasn't. Today after getting a hearing test and speaking with a doctor I learned the hearing in my ear will not improve as it has permanent nerve damage from the stroke and traumatic brain injury I had in March. I have two options, I could get a hearing aid for my right ear. I can still hear, but it  needs to be amplified by a lot. According to doctor, I have something called Tinnitus in my right ear. Another option I have is to go see another specialist about getting Tinnitus training which could eliminate the tone I hear in my ear through brain training. I still need the hearing aid because of the diminished sound. Since it's been almost six months since the stroke and brain injury the ear doctor said my ear most likely will not improve. Not happy about the hearing being damaged permanently. At least I can still hear with amplified sound in the ear...