My Carotid Artery Dissection

carotid artery

After four days of throbbing neck pain, I finally called the Dr. I had assumed it was related to my cervical stenosis and arthritis. I also had some cold symptoms and thought it may be a swollen gland. I was wrong. My doctor’s office said it wasn’t related and I should get urgent care. 

I went to the local urgent care walk in clinic, my daughter by my side. After careful examination they decided to send me to the ER for images. They said while they couldn’t hear any blockages in my neck arteries they wanted to make sure, because if there was anything wrong there, it put me at high risk for stroke.

The ER physician ordered a Cat Scan with contrast dye. He explained he wanted a good look at the arteries because sometimes surgery is needed for a dissection; but, he assured me that it was probably nothing because the chances were 1-2 in 100,000.

Feeling a little more relaxed knowing the odds, my daughter and I awaited the results and looked forward to going home.  

We were all surprised as he returned and said something was there, a blood clot. Apparently, my carotid artery had a small tear and it clotted off.  I didn’t need surgery; but they were going to give me an IV of blood thinners.

Relieved there was no surgery needed; but the relief lasted moments and ended when they said they were admitting me. It all became very scary. They had to admit me for observation to make sure I didn’t have a stroke.

The next 24 hrs seemed liked days. I felt very emotional knowing that there was a possibility I could have a potentially fatal stroke. After the shock wore off, the tears came. Then the prayers.

The next morning I met the vascular surgeon, He prescribed blood thinners and a follow up in three months. I felt he was kind of dismissive. I am always suspicious of being treated poorly with basic medical insurance; but, I tried to find peace in the fact that I was being discharged.

I also met with the physician on duty. He ordered a MRI of my brain to make sure I didn’t have a mild stroke already. He was very nice and took the time to answer my questions. As much as I wanted to go home, I was fearful. He said if I had any numbness in my limbs, extreme headaches and/or vision problems to come right back. 

He drew this picture for me to explain exactly what had happened.carotid artery dissection

I also googled and researched carotid artery dissection, and it did not put my fears to rest. I was still at risk for stroke or worse, and it could take 3-6 months to heal.

The MRI came back negative for a stroke; however, it did show White Matter Disease, which I knew about in 2011, when a MRI was ordered for my migraines. It was explained back then as normal; but, this doctor used words like Lyme and MS being possible.

My head was spinning. I didn’t know what to think. The fact that my artery spontaneously tore made me afraid to even sneeze. I anxiously awaited to talk it over with my doctor.

A few days later, the other side of my neck hurt. It wasn’t throbbing pain, more of a sore feeling. Terrified I went back to the ER to make sure it wasn’t happening again. They ordered an ultrasound which showed “normal blockage for my age.”

When I asked my doctor about it, she explained, as we get older our blood vessels narrow and I was right where I should be. I thought to myself, normal???? How?? She ordered another ultrasound in two weeks to see how my dissection is healing and to monitor the blockages and blood clot. She also said that the white matter hasn’t progressed much since 2011. I was to discuss all of it with the neurologist who I have an appointment with on Dec 24. Meanwhile, keep taking the blood thinners, despite they have started making my gums bleed. She said I could skip a dose every other day. The good news was there wasn’t any stenosis and the blood was flowing good to my brain. I could return to my life. I can do my yoga again and not be in constant fear.

Because of the severity and rarity of this, I have to believe it happened for a reason. I started reflecting. I had been working on transmuting parts of me that I viewed as negative. I wondered if those parts were trying to hurt me, because they felt threatened. I also have been struggling with my marijuana dependency, I felt trapped within myself because of these issues. I prayed for help. Now, I am forced to not smoke anything, because it constricts the blood vessels.

Was this an answer to my prayer, a wake up call? I don’t know. I do know that I can’t wait to put this behind me. I hope that it heals quicker than three months. I want to be off these blood thinners and find herbal replacements. I am going to research herbs to help my circulation, my blood vessels, and my brain health. 

I want to live even though I know parts of me don’t. I began working on that in therapy yesterday. I am sure that this incident will begin a whole new path of my journey to health.

I am reminded that health is golden, life is precious and to not waste any time. Love the people in my life. Live my purpose. Fuck the fear. Go for it, reach for those dreams.

Every moment is an opportunity to live the best life I can.

I don’t want to die with regret. 

life-is-short-enjoy-every-moment.jpg

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Deep Breaths and Baby Steps

martin luther king jr quote

This is the frame of my mind you need to recover with mental illness. Keep moving forward! When I had my nervous breakdown, I felt paralyzed. I was terribly sick physically and just existing was painful. Deep breaths and baby steps, became my mantra.

Healing has many levels and the journey is different for everyone. It has been 13 years since my breakdown and I’m still on the road of recovery.

Through the years, I often feel the return of that drudge pace, like I am walking in mud. Thinking I will NEVER heal, dragging my depression with all my might. Holding on to a thread of hope while I snail through life.

I feel like I have finally come out of the heavy and thick darkness, and I am standing where I can see the light at the other end of the tunnel; but, sometimes that light seems so far away. Each day, I pull myself out of the dark, acknowledge my fears, put my healing hat on and inch forward.

Some days, it takes a little push, others a brave leap, and then there are the days I just can’t move, and that’s okay too. 

Where every you are on your journey, hang in there! Know that all of those baby steps add up and you ARE moving forward. You ARE healing.

One deep breath and baby step at a time!!

maya angelou quote

 

Purging the Old/Creating the New

pic credit; Purge by SteakAndUnicorns

Happy Fall everyone! I unintentionally abandoned my blog through the summer. Alas, summer jobs and projects have come to an end and I find myself in transition.

I begin to reflect not only what summer’s bountiful lessons have taught me; but, I also am reviewing the whole year thus far, as the New Year quickly approaches.

Astrologically it has been a year of retrogrades. This summer there were six planets and Chiron in retrograde at the same time! Retrogrades can make you feel you are in reverse, as old patterns surface to be healed. Anxiety, change, eruptions of what no longer serves you, are all part of the process.

I felt all of the above. My year started out with no car and in turmoil. Early spring brought, The Teal Swan event that produced an ongoing healing and transformative experience. Then my 50th birthday which marked an intense milestone with much reflection, and my party that became a free for all for suppressed feelings my family was holding, which we are all presently healing and learning from. Then, Summer was a friggin’ rollercoaster ride! I mentioned in my Healing in Progress post, I began to shed old ways and in between nourished myself as much as possible before the next big wave came. Somehow, in addition, I managed my summer work, volunteered at the herbal school’s gardens, launched my herbal lotion site, aaaand, worked on my social life and relationships.

Wheeeeee!!!🤣

Image result for life is a rollercoaster quotes

It was not without a toll. I had my days of breakdowns and relapsed on smoking cigarettes almost all year. I am on my second week of quitting….again. At first I beat myself up, another old coping way. Then I gave myself a break and learned more about the part of me that needed to smoke. How she is afraid of all the growth and change and needs some sort of habit to make her feel safe. If I could, I would still be smoking; but, the effects on my health are undeniable and not conduit to my path of self love and healing.

I also had to learn to step away from relationships that were hurting me. I finally have begun to recognize that my self worth has been so low my entire life. Coming from trauma and abuse, I developed relationships that matched the internal scars I had. I let people treat me badly and held on just to be loved. This is a lesson I am still learning and practicing.

From the beginning of the year, I began to practice changing my reactions to crisis’s, such as losing my car,  My post Carless not Homeless was a realization for me. Growing up poor and witnessing the stress it took on my mother, I naturally took on the same reactions she used to have when something went wrong. For example, if the car broke down, sure enough my poor mom would too, crying out, “What else is going to go wrong!?”, “Why us!?”, “We can never get ahead!” These are all understandable reactions but they only perpetuate the feeling of despair and depression. I finally learned to let go of the old reactions and find gratitude and peace in the moment. Mind you, this is not without struggle and tears; but, it began a new way of life for me. Letting go of old thought forms makes way for new thoughts and life.

While purging the old, I have begun to create space for a new healthy mind, body spirit. I have created confidence in myself with work and volunteering. I am creating new friendships and relationships. I am creating health and core strength with yoga and a mostly vegan diet. I created an herbal lotion line and blog, which I will share here soon. I am creating the life I was once too afraid of.

Fall is the season of change. For me it is a bittersweet transition. I am always sad to see summer go, and begin dreading winter. This year, I am learning to be present in the moment and appreciate Fall’s magic, because it goes as quickly as summer does.

I created goals for winter that will hopefully keep me focused and motivated. I plan to build my lotion site and work on a book. I share that here to hold myself accountable. I also have shared these goals with people in my life, something I never do. That’s how I know I am serious!

In between seasons, I stop and take a breath first. Rest, restore, and then reboot.

I continue purging and transmuting old energies into life giving breath. I breathe in the life that awaits me. The life of highest potential. The life I deserve. It is a constant process with triggers, insights, tears and smiles along the way. I continue to heal myself so I can in return help heal others. 

3.2.1. Quote Me-Living Life

live in the moment

Thanks to my dear friend Kat from Family Furore for tagging my in this quote challenge.

I absolutely adore quotes and it is always a challenge to pick only a few. In this challenge it is only two quotes and the topic is Living Life.

It is such a wide topic that it lends me the freedom to choose from prophets, poets, authors, artists and/or spiritual teachers.

One of my favorite spiritual teachers/authors that greatly influenced my life is Dr. Wayne Dyer. He helped me change my perspective from the darkness and hopelessness of my depression to one of motivation to live life without fear and regrets.

“Don_t-die-with-your-music-still-inside-1

For my second quote I turned to another favorite Kahlil Gibran, such a wise prophet and beautiful poet. I find it interesting the similarities these two share in their lessons.

kahlil gibran

I hope these quotes bring a tad of enlightenment and maybe even a smile. I spread that joy by nominating some of my peers for the same challenge:

  1. Teleporting Weena
  2. Leennas Creative Box
  3. Spiritual Dragonfly 

Here are the rules to the 3.2.1. Quote Me Challenge:)

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post 2 quotes for the Topic of the Day, which is Living Life.
  • Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me’.

Wishing you all peace and joy in living your life! ❤

yoga

Healing in Progress

healing in progress sign

When I ran my mom’s shop with her, we came up with a little sign that read, “Gone to Meditate, Be back soon.” Whenever we needed a break, we put the sign up and went for a walk, or sat and looked at the ocean. We talked, laughed, meditated, or sometimes went for a bite and beer. 

That little sign gave us the freedom to  “meditate” in any form we saw fit.

I wish at times I could hang a sign on myself that warned oncomers of my present state. Maybe, “Approach with Caution, Feeling Unstable”, or “Under Construction, Enter at your own risk!” Just to give them an idea of what to expect before engaging with me.

If I could hang a sign right now, it would read “Healing in Progress.” Summer is a time for rapid growth. Blooming and Blossoming, with the occasional thunderstorm to break the tension and cleanse.

I have been working on cleansing. Shedding old forms of thoughts and reactions. Letting go of what no longer serves my highest potential. This is an ultimate self love exercise. To know I am no longer keeping myself at a lower vibration, to know I am worth better, brighter and bigger. This is huge progress! 

In between these growth spurts lie moments of quiet comfort and nourishment for self, body, mind and spirit. Sitting with nature or in a cool scented bath.

I have  noticed some bloggers take the summer off and post a sign on their blog saying so. I am not taking the summer off; but, I have noticed that I find it hard to find time and focus to write more. I am simply allowing myself to be swept up in the moment. I am participating in my own healing. Therefore, if you have noticed my absence, fear not, I am a healing in progress.

Hope you are having a healing and blessed summer!!! ❤

summer growth