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Anxiety Zone Member Introduction Featured in the Forums/ Story of My Stroke

Posted 06-14-10 at 02:23 PM by CrystalShiloh
Updated 06-16-10 at 03:40 AM by CrystalShiloh (I am a perfectionist)
My name is CrystalShiloh. I came here to the Anxiety Zone to chat with others affected by anxiety and in order to see anyone's else's profile, one must introduce themself. I was hoping to avoid this as I never know what is appropriate to write as an intro, but I'll do my best. Anyway.

I am a 31 year old female and I live in the Washington D.C. Metro Area. I have a husband and we have two cats, named Rand and Descartes. I am unemployed; however, I was enrolled at George Mason University (GMU) as a student before I withdrew during my senior year. I majored in English with a concentration in linguistics. While I was there, I was diagnosed with chronic migraine headaches, which are brought on by anxiety, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I eventually became crippled by my fear of failing, which was working to motivate me, despite the fact that I was accepted at the #4 college in the country for my degree program and am in the top 1% of all college students with a 3.98 GPA (I earned two A-s in my first semester and I am not at all ashamed to admit it). After I withdrew, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (SA), inattentive type Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (AD/HD), an assortment of impulse control problems, such as dermatillomania (skin picking), and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).

Apparently, I have a highly sensitive neurological system. Recently, I suffered my first seizure ever, which caused a tear somewhere in my right rotator cuff (shoulder) and a dissection (in other words, a cut) in my right vertebral artery (located in my neck), which contributed to my suffering an Ischemic stroke. Further, my right arm is useless above my elbow and I sustained permanent damage to my cerebellum. This in turn, has adversely affected my coordination (I lean to the right). I am going to have an MRI of my shoulder tomorrow evening and I intend to follow that up with physical therapy. The prognosis for a full recovery is good.

I have been seeing the same therapist for 3 years and 3 months, I just started seeing a new psychiatrist and neurologist. I am presently taking Fluoxetine (generic for Prozac) 60 mg. for my anxiety and depression, Lamictal XR 25 mg. to lower my risk of another stroke and further reduce my depression, Seroquel XR 300 mg. for my anxiety, Warfarin (generic for Coumadin) 5 mg. to prevent another clot from forming, and Isometh/Apap Dichlo (generic for Midrin) for my migraines. I suffered severe side-effects on the Prozac, up until recently. The only adjustment my psychiatrist made was to add the adjuncts Seroquel and Provigil. My neurologist will probably add Pristique to my list of meds next time we meet, which will serve as a prophylactic and as another adjunct to the Prozac. Prior to my seizure, I took 80 mg. of Prozac and 200 mg. of Provigil to energize me and to an extent, alleviate my AD/HD symptoms. Post-seizure, my psychiatrist has been handling me with kid gloves. He decreased my dose of Prozac and eliminated Provigil altogether, as a precaution against additional seizures. I didn't want to back-track because I had already endured side-effects for a week while taking 80 mg. of Prozac. We will never know for sure what the cause of my seizure was.

I long to be in school, but now is not the time. Meanwhile, I am working on myself. I am happy to be here amongst friends.

Response to Questions:
How is it that you tore your rotator cuff? During the seizure, did you fall? As a rule, seizures themselves don't cause injury, rather the falls that can occur do. I didn't fall during my seizure. Fortunately, my husband was here. We were in the kitchen, talking while I fixed coffee. I experienced de-realization and I expressed this to my husband. I don't remember anything after that. When I regained consciousness, I asked him, "How did I get here and why does my lip hurt?" My husband explained that I continued conversing with him and that I told him my heart was racing so he picked me up and put me on the floor. According to him, he had his arms around me when my seizure started. I bit him on the chest and myself on the lip, drawing blood both times. My head turned side to side and my whole body shook. After a while, I stopped convulsing and started clenching and unclenching my muscles. This accounts for the injuries I sustained to my right rotator cuff and vertebral artery coupled with the increased risk of dissection caused by smoking while taking Yaz. I now know that people with migraines are also at a higher risk for stroke and that risk is elevated in those who have migraine with aura. This includes me. Incidentally, I had a migraine on the way to the hospital, so I took 100 mg. of Immitex. When we arrived at the hospital, my migraine returned, so I took another 100 mg. of Immitex. This could have contributed to my stroke, as Immitex is a vasoconstrictor and it is now evident from my MRA that I have a congenitally narrow vertebral artery on the right. I have since significantly decreased my smoking and completely discontinued my use of birth control. I recommend that anyone with this many risk factors for stoke follow suit.

Response to Comments:
I agree that this has been a horrid ordeal, but I am assured that it could have been worse. I count myself lucky that the stroke was in my cerebellum as that area of the brain is responsible solely for coordination and it will certainly adapt. Further, I was fortunate that my husband was working from home.

Seizures and migraines affect people who have highly sensitive neurological systems, so you were right when you stated that they are related. At our last meeting, my neurologist mentioned she might add Pristiq as a prophylactic to reduce my risk of migraines. I'm not sure, but I think that it is also an anti-seizure medicine or maybe that was Topomax she was talking about.

High blood pressure also raises the risk of stroke, which I don't have.

No worries. The prognosis for a full recovery is positive and my husband has been helping through it as have my new-found friends here. I appreciate you all!

Last night, I had an MRI of my right rotator cuff, however, I may need to repeat it because I was moving too much and most of the images were blurred as a result. After the technician asked me some standard questions, I asked him, "How long do you expect this to take?" He told me, "No more than thirty minutes." I thought that the technician seemed considerate. When we were setting up, he asked me if I wanted a blanket and he tucked it in between me and the metal railing. He told me, "I need you to sit very still." Further, "Just breathe normally." I laid there, waiting patiently and I practically jumped out of my skin when the machine started. It scared me. The noise wasn't constant or consistent, so it startled me every time it changed. As I noticed I was clenching my muscles, I would consciously relax them.

After the first part, the technician came on the intercom and asked me, "Are you cold?" I told him "No, I'm fine." He reiterated that he needed me to stay still. I focused all of my attention onto my right shoulder. To my frustration, the more tried not to twitch, the more I twitched. After the second part, the technician came on the intercom and asked me, "Are you in pain?" I told him, "No, I'm fine." He again reiterated that he needed me to stay still. I took small breaths, so my shoulder would stay still and it backfired. I tried to imagine myself at home, curled up on the couch. To my consternation, I couldn't. After the third part, the technician came on the intercom and asked me, "Do we need to reschedule you for some other time? He added, "Because quite honestly, you would have been done by now, if you didn't move." He sounded exasperated with me. I apologized and adjusted my arm and told him, "No, can we please try it again? I promise I won't move a muscle." I told myself over and over again that I would be there as long as it took and I tried to imagine going somewhere afterward for food. That just made me more jumpy. To make maters worse, I started shaking. When it was all over, the technician asked what was up with me and I told him that I was anxious. He suggested that if I have another MRI to take something beforehand. Hopefully, it won't come to that. We will soon see.

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