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. 

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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. 

The Dark Side of my Mind

Light in the darkness by SjerZ
(pic credit; Light in the darkness by Sjerz)

The dark side of my mind,

is not my favorite place.

Lurks in corners, fragments of

memories, I fervently tried to erase.

The darkness fills me with fear,

yet gentles itself as I become near.

I approach, and I embrace

the dark side of my mind,

like before & now again,

Love is what I find.

Love for pieces of me,

left behind, and alone.

I have come back to them,

to bring them home. 

Now I see, the darkness

is a part of me,

as well as the light.

There is no reason 

for these two parts

to fight.

The dark side of my mind,

though not my favorite place,

I integrate, I heal,

and I listen, for the call

of and welcome,

the dark side of my mind.

Grateful for it’s beckon

and assisting me

in setting my mind free.

 

 

Wounded Woman

5bc9e87e975941fc2b3f8f495690f93a-d3bxc9o                                            pic credit/Cold Wounds by badccintra

 

Wounded Woman

You can tell by the look in her eyes.

A beautiful sadness, silent cries.

The lines of her face

mark passages of time.

The scars and stories, she can’t erase.

Wounded Woman

She carries immense weight

on her shoulders.

A lifetime of trauma and pain;

but, the heaviness doesn’t stop her

from dancing in the rain.

dancing in the rain

Wounded Woman

twirled and thrusted

until she broke through

to the other side.

Alas, in Great Spirit she trusted,

and set herself free,

never again to hide.

Wounded Woman

She wove her wounds

like an intricate web of Grandmother Spider;

as she journeyed deep inside her.

She found the truth and beauty

of her own old soul.

Her spirit held all the selves, the keys.

Thus, Wounded Womanbecame whole. …<3

 

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