Monday, May 18, 2015

1 year

For those of you that haven't been keeping up with my Facebook posts, I'll catch you up...

May 7th 2014: This was the first day I had a terrible headache and nausea . I left work a few hours early to try and sleep it of. It seemed to work, because I felt much better the next day.

May 12th 2014: I left work a little before lunch that morning to head to Louisville for a 3 day conference. I had no idea that morning would be that last morning I would work until July. That week my head was hurting off and on. I sent several texts to my mom throughout those few days. I couldn't figure out if it was a headache, or possibly and ear ache, or maybe my neck? My friend is a nurse practitioner and I was already making plans to visit her in her office the following week if these symptoms continued.

May 15th 2014: Was a terrible morning. We had to sit through and award ceremony and I felt terrible. My head was hurting so badly and the microphone seemed so loud. I ended up laying my head on the table for most of the ceremony. I already had my bags in the care and was checked out of my hotel room. As soon as it was over, I jumped in my car, stopped at a drug store for some headache medicine, then drove two hours by myself to get home. Took a nap at home and I felt somewhat batter.

May 16th 2014: Around 1am my head was hurting so badly I could hardly stand it. The pain radiated from the front left side of my head all the way behind my left ear and down into my neck. I made it to the bathroom before I started throwing up, but I felt so week I didn't know if I could stand. Somehow, I happened to grab my phone when I was headed to the bathroom. I called my Ex, because well I figured he would be awake and he is a paramedic so I thought he might have some advice. He said I needed to go to the ER, when I told him I didn't think I could drive he came and got my daughter and I. I realized before we got there that my insurance card was at my parents house. He came in while I got registered and he left to go get my insurance card. I was the only one in the waiting room at the time. From the time I got to the ER to the time I left, I was probably the ER for a total of 45 minutes. I was complaining of the worst headache of my life, neck pain, and nausea. No tests were completed, they gave me something for the nausea and some migraine meds, and told me to follow up with my doctor the following week. My Ex had my daughter and I stay with him at his mothers to make sure I was ok. I woke up the next morning feeling much better. Later that evening I drove to Nashville to stay with a friend because we were running a 5k the next morning. After all, the doctor said it was only a Migraine.

May 17th 2014:I felt perfectly fine that morning. Took my migraine meds, and my friends and I headed off to the race! About 1/3 of the way through this race full of obstacles, the pain in my head returned... the rest of the race was miserable. I was walking around all the obstacles, and by the time we made it back to the car, I just laid down in the back seat. My plan was the take a nap at my friends house before I headed home, but I just wanted to go home. I drove the hour back home in terrible pain. I was supposed to take my daughter to Sesame Street Live, but I didn't think I would be able to handle the noise, so her Dad's family took her. I slept the rest of the day.

May 18th 2014: I woke up that Sunday Morning feeling much better, so I headed off to church. After church I went to my parents house for a while, and then went to Target to get a gift for a friend for her Wedding Shower. During the Wedding Shower, the pain returned.  As soon as the shower was over I headed home to take nap. I don't remember a whole lot after I got home. I was taking off my church clothes and putting on my comfortable clothes, then I was going to turn on a movie on Netflix and go to sleep. That's when things started getting blurry.

I remember that I couldn't make the Wii remote do what I wanted it to do. I thought there was something wrong with it, but my stroke had already begun and my brain just wasn't working properly. I don't remember walking from my bedroom to the stairs, but I do remember walking up the stairs with the remote in my hand to get some help with it. When I turned the corner my brother in law was standing there, he started talking to me, but I wasn't able to respond. I remember my older sister taking me to the couch and then nothing....

Within just a few minutes of me coming up the stairs, I had my 1st of 4 seizures. I don't remember the ambulance ride, but looking at the report I was apparently a very bad patient. I ripped out my IV, was projectile vomiting, and refused to lay still.

I remember the nurse at the emergency room, and the next thing I remember I was waking up at Vanderbilt still intubated after my life flight.

Everything after that was a blur. I remember a lot of people came to see me, and a lot of them I didn't know at the time, but now I remember them being there.

2 surgeries, lots of medications and therapy, and 1 year later here I am.

It was only 11 days from my first headache to when my stroke occurred. That's not even two weeks! Strokes can happen to anyone at any age.

So what have I learned this past year?

I am horrified a of seizures, but seizures aren't as scary if you are one having them and can't remember it... sorry to everyone else who had to witness them, mostly my nephew Ivan.

I learned that I can do a lot of things I never thought I could, like giving myself shots when I have always hated needles.

I have learned that I am incredibly resilient. I may have had a brain injury last year, and things might not work quite the same as they used to, but I took two college classes this semester and did very well in both of them. Not bad for a girl who only a year ago didn't know the what the opposite of black was.

I have learned that I have the most amazing support system in the world! My family and friends, my church family, my work family... I am so blessed. Your love and support and visits, and gifts, and prayers were definitely appreciated. I never would have made it this far without all of you.

I have learned that losing your hair is definitely not the worst thing in the world (its pretty close though, lol).

I am thankful for all my doctors at Vanderbilt, and I highly recommend them! I am also very thankful to all the wonderful people I got to know at Bluegrass Outpatient Therapy, that was practically my second home in the beginning when I was doing 6 hours of therapy a week. Wonderful people there.

Mostly, I am thankful to God. And maybe that sounds cliche, but I mean it. I am thankful that my brain works as well as it does, even with my frustrations sometimes. I thankful that I have no physical disabilities associated with my stroke. I am mostly thankful that I received the opportunity to continue being Olivia's mom and to continue to watch her grow.

So what's next for Paigerific? First I am hopping and praying the my upcoming CT at Vanderbilt will reveal enough progress that my Neurologist will decide to start weening me off my remaining medications. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for this, and I will definitely let you know the outcome of this appointment.

I am also making a lot of changes in my life, mostly personal, but some I will be sharing with you all along the way.

God gave me this life. God gave me this second chance. I don't know if you were paying attention to the MANY times that had I had the stroke another time, it definitely could have ended my life, like while driving, or when I was alone.

Today, I am just thankful to be alive. It is absolutely crazy that my stroke was a year ago. My life has changed so much since last year.

Thank YOU for all your support throughout this past year. Thanks for reading all my ramblings, especially the ones that were terribly misspelled!

So stay tuned, because I have so much more up my sleeve!

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What is Paigerific? I’m glad you asked, although I don’t have an exact definition to offer. Paigerific is my thoughts and my heart. Paigerific is my passion and my fear. Paigerific is my success and my failures. Paigerific is my blood, sweat, and tears. Paigerific is more than just simply word. It’s a million different words all rolled into one. Words like hope, grace, determination, imperfection, love, faith, insecurity… The one word I would use to describe myself? I am Paigerific.


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