Category Archives: Health

Any posts related to health related issues other than stroke or brain hemorrhage directly.


Good morning, everyone. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

There’s been a lot of stressing here for the last week, give or take a few days. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had my three MRIs done about a week and a half ago. My neurologist appointment was supposed to be on Friday, but I received a call that morning that he wouldn’t be in the office. The earliest ‘late’ appointment I could get was the beginning of March.


Photo courtesy of

Normally that wouldn’t bother me but with the whole medication thing up in the air, it leaves me frustrated. In an attempt to stay more alert, I’ve started taking my 30mg Duloxetine every other day instead of daily. I won’t chance any other changes until I see and speak to Dr. G.

It’s helped with the sleepiness, but minimally. The thought of lowering the number of meds I’d have to take daily fueled my excitement. Now I have to wait another month. I haven’t received any phone calls from him regarding the MRIs. I don’t know if it’s because he hasn’t seen them, or if it’s because no news is good news.

Not sure if I mentioned this before, but the purpose of two of the MRIs was to rule out spinal stenosis (like I need any other issues).

I suffered through two days with a monster headache a few days ago. In my bed was where I spent most of my time.

Other than that, I’ve been taking things day by day. Staying positive has been a task but between my friends, family, and Sophie, I’ll make it through. I might call during the week to see if he has any cancellations prior to March.

Thank you guys for always allowing me to vent, and for being there when things get tough. I appreciate you.

Have a great week. Hugs.



Good morning, everyone! Encouraged by my first visit to my new neurologist last week, I thought this would be a perfect time to give you a progress report of sorts.

Getting better...

Hopefully will be taking a lot less!! 🙂

As a lot of you know, I take a variety of medications. For the purposes of this post, I’ll list the one’s that are relevant.

  • Keppra (Levetiracetam) for seizures 1,250mg daily)
  • Cymbalta (Duloxetine 30 and 60mg) daily for neuropathic pain
  • Paroxetine (Paxil) 40mg for depression. 

After going over my medical history and medications together, Dr. G. said he was a little perplexed that my other doctors had me on so many different medications for so long. He understands why they probably did; the Keppra is a safe drug with few side effects. Unfortunately, it is also a mood destabilizer.

He wants to try something new with me. He said that I have every neurologic problem the medication he wants to put me on will help. That medication is Depakote. I’ve known people on it, and had patients who were on it, but I never realized its versatility. I always thought it was to treat bipolar disorder only. Not so. It helps prevent migraines and seizures, works on neuropathic pain, and is a mood stabilizer. WHAT?! 🙂

Dr. G put me on a low placebo dose of it to see how my body reacts to it. If all goes well, when I see him next month, I’ll start weaning off the listed four meds, and have the Depakote gradually increase until we hit the magic therapeutic dose.

Unfortunately, my gait hasn’t been the greatest lately, and I’ve been using my cane more than I normally would. I’ve been clumsy lately and Vivi told the doctor that when I went to NJ, each time I returned, it took almost two days to recover. We’re hoping the Depakote will solve the mood and exhaustion problems, as well as the neuropathic pain.

Dr. G is sending me for an MRI of my brain, neck, and back since I’m unsteady. He noted that I walk with my legs a little spread and said that it’s my body’s way of keeping me balanced. I love that he speaks in layman’s terms. He basically said my spine is like the highway of my body. if there’s a lane closure, what happens? Traffic. I probably have some brain to limb traffic; actually, I know I do. Hence, all the MRIs. Fingers crossed that it’ll be something we can fix through PT or something. I’ll keep you updated.








Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since I posted any real updates on my condition. Way back, I started blogging about my journey through the bleed and subsequent stroke. If you’ve followed me since the beginning, you know that I had to overcome a lot to get to where I am now.

Here is a brief refresher for those who are recent followers and don’t know much about my history. On November 20, 2011, I suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage secondary to a ruptured aneurysm in my brain. I had brain surgery on the 22nd and suffered an ischemic stroke during the surgery.

While in Neuro ICU, I suffered seizures, TTP, and had to be intubated several times. The left side of my body was dead weight for nearly a month, I had to relearn how to speak, and spent almost another month at inpatient rehabilitation at Good Shepherd in Allentown, PA.

By the time I left Good Shepherd, I was walking with a walker. In May 2012, I graduated to a cane. Less than a year later, I was walking on my own (except during bad weather, which I still do).

My speech is near normal, except when I’m overwhelmed or stressed, in which case I tend to stutter. Loud, unexpected noises tend to send me into a bit of a frenzy until I calm down. I recently sang for the first time at a karaoke gig my friend Vivian K-jayed for. The link is on one of my Celebrate the Small Things posts.

I suffered a few seizures since the bleed, but as of last summer, I was cleared to drive again by my neurologist. Finding the courage to do so again is the hard part.

I’ve had two hospitalizations since then, the most recent this past March, secondary to a fall at home. I bought three weeks in the hospital. My medications since 2011 have been cut by nearly half, including the seizure meds. My biggest hurdles to overcome now are the depression and anxiety.

Overall, I’ve come a long way in my recovery. Next on my agenda is to seek permission from my doctors to work a simple part-time job until I can handle more.




Survive and Thrive Blogfest!!

It’s time for a special kind of blog-hop. It’s called the Survive and Thrive Blogfest and it’s being thrown by the four wonderful people listed below. healthblog Of course how did I know that the Ninja Captain would have his hands in this too?

Stephen Tremp, Michael Di Gesu, Diane Wolfe, and Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

The blogfest is meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.

Considering I’m a brain hemorrhage and stroke survivor, it would make sense for me to write my post on stroke prevention, but I’m going to be a bit more generic. My specific case is extremely complicated, but for the purpose of this blogfest, I’m going to K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Silly.

At the end of this post, I will include an infographic courtesy of on how to spot the possible signs of a person experiencing a stroke.

What I’m listing below is not only for stroke prevention. It’s for healthy living that will help reduce your risk for hypertension (high blood pressure), increased cholesterol levels, heart disease, and a variety of other medical conditions.

  • Eat a healthy diet
    • Veggies, fruit, fish, whole grains, low sodium, limit or eliminate processed foods entirely.
    • If you eat food that’s low in saturated fat, trans fat, and high in fiber, you can greatly reduce your risk of having high cholesterol.
    • If you eat food that is low in sodium, you will also reduce your risk of hypertension.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Being overweight or obese also puts you at risk for diabetes, heart disease and numerous other medical conditions. Have your doctor check your BMI (body mass index) the next time you go in.
  • Get enough exercise
    • Exercise not only helps maintain a healthy body weight, but it also helps reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, so it also helps when you’re depressed because it gives you a positive feeling.
  • Don’t Smoke
    • This one is obviously a given. Smoking not only increases your chances for stroke, but also for lung disease. I stopped for nine months after my bleed; stress caused me to start again. I’m not proud, but am on a mission to stop completely by year end, now that I am no longer in a stress provoking environment.
  • Limit alcohol use
    • This one is also a given. Too much alcohol consumption can not only raise your blood pressure, but can cause alcoholism, liver problems, and countless other medical problems.

There you have it. My little addition to the Survive and Thrive Blogfest; along with my confession. I know my Fellowship family is going to be butt kicking me all over the blogosphere for that one!!

Here is the infographic I promised of how to spot the signs of a possible stroke. If you’re present, Heaven forbid, when this happens to someone you care about, waste no time and call 911 ASAP.

But truth be told, I want you stroke free, heart healthy, with normal cholesterol levels and a blood pressure within your normal limits. It’s one of the reasons why I started this second blog. If I can be part of other blogfests that will bring awareness, then bring them on, I’m in.

Thanks for stopping by.



Medical Marijuana

I signed the petition as well. Let’s get this taken care of!


Please read this and sign this.

Groundbreaking marijuana study canceled

Have at it, and let the University of Arizona know they need to support full legalization of marijuana.
Why it should be legalized so survivors can benefit;
13 reasons to use it post-stroke.

The University of Arizona fired Dr. Suzanne Sisley rather than let her study how medical marijuana can help veterans like me. Help me get her job back.

dean –
Doctor Suzanne Sisley is an amazing woman — she’s the only doctor in the country who has federal permission to conduct research on how medical marijuana can help veterans. Her study was supposed to be housed at the University of Arizona, but rather than let her conduct it, the university fired her with no explanation whatsoever. As an Iraq veteran and an Arizona alum, I’m fighting to help Doc Sisley get her job back…

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