I had a TIA

Happy Leap Year Day everyone! Yesterday I electronically submitted my very last assignment of my very last course for my MBA studies. I. AM. DONE.

My next post on ye olde blogge was supposed to have been a light piece about my recent trip to Barbados. Now instead, there is this:

On the morning of February 12th I got up early (5:50 am) and thought “Great, I’ll have time to do some homework before work!” So I got myself a drink (lemon juice and water, in case you are interested) and sat down in front of my laptop to log on to the school’s discussion site. I started scrolling through my classmates’ posts when I noticed my right hand was not responding to my brain’s requests for action. Then I noticed my right leg was not operational either. I remained seated as I didn’t want to fall while testing out if I could still walk. I picked up my right hand with my left and let it drop to my side, wondering if maybe I had pinched a nerve? Nothing. I picked it up again with my left hand and put it back on the desktop. Within a couple of minutes of all of this starting, I regained use of both my right arm and leg. I immediately walked to the bathroom to check out my face in the mirror. No right-side droopiness…just the normal symmetrical droopiness I see every morning. 🙂

I really wanted to ignore this whole episode and get back to my busy day but that would be the “denial” thing to do…and I had made a vow to relinquish my Cleopatra’s crown quite a while ago. So I called Telehealth Ontario, the free helpline staffed by nurses. The nurse I spoke to told me I needed to go to the Emergency department immediately, and that I could not drive myself. Great. I called my son,  got dressed and off we went.

Blood work, ECG, Doppler and CT scan later…nothing was found other than elevated blood pressure and a couple of areas of poor blood flow in the brain (but no damage). The CT scan diagnosis was later refuted by a doc at the Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinic who  pronounced my brain completely normal and healthy, but let’s err on the side of caution and say the first doc called it correctly.

Nothing has happened to me since that couple of moments on that Friday morning. And everything has happened. I am now on medication to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol, and thin my blood. I don’t think I need to be on the latter two of these drugs.  I think the docs are trained by the drug companies to be pill dispensers. But for now  I am being a good girl and taking them all.

I bought a home blood pressure monitor so I can see if I am making a difference as I change my life (112/86 this a.m.).

I have to go to the cardiac clinic this morning to be fitted with a Holter monitor for wear for the next 28 days.

I have to spend a night in a sleep lab (yet to be scheduled).

I signed up for meditation classes and am going to talk to a counsellor specializing in grief and stress.

I plan to lose a significant amount of weight and increase my stamina and muscle mass.

YES. I see this as a LIFE. CHANGING. EXPERIENCE. (Cue dramatic music…Also sprach Zarathustra would be appropriate.)

My plan is to get off of all of these drugs ASAP by making the appropriate changes. Or, to accept graciously (huh?!) that I need to stay on them if that’s how things turn out.

My mantra for getting through tough times has always been “blinders on; full speed ahead; I’ll deal with the wreckage later”. Well, the time to deal with the wreckage is NOW, and the wreckage is apparently ME.

Looking back, over the past 4 years, I have:

  • Had to deal with my husband’s worsening OCD and then his illness and death due to lung cancer
  • Had to deal with his complicated estate
  • Experienced the loss of my mother due to non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and am currently dealing with her estate
  • Experienced the loss of my father-in-law due to old age
  • Experienced the loss of my dog due to old age
  • Spent a year cleaning up both house and rental property (20 years of husband’s hoarding = seven 14-yard dumpsters filled with trash, hundreds of bags of garbage put to the curb and I lost count of all the items recycled or donated or given away)
  • Sold my house and used proceeds to clear up husband’s debt
  • Moved into rental property and became a landlord
  • Undertook the following renovations at the building where I now live and act as landlord: plumbing repairs, electrical upgrade, solar project, new boiler system, new air conditioning systems, new roof, new kitchen, new bathroom…and there are still many more projects to undertake
  • Trained for and completed at least 2 half-marathons
  • Finally completed my MBA!!!

Yeah, I guess you could say it’s been a lot. You could say I have been experiencing undue stress.  I guess you could say I am lucky to have gotten off with a warning in the form of a TIA.

I really do feel blessed on this Leap Year Day 2016.

Blessed to live in a country where access to medical treatment is free, and is the least stressful thing about being unwell.

Blessed to have had the support of family and friends while going through all of the above.

Blessed to yet have the opportunity to make changes to improve my health…

Rock on,

The WB


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  • Love your blog! You have faced your challenges head on and simply moved forward, cleaning up the challenges as they come up. What an inspiration!

    • Thanks Moz!!! Don’t feel especially like an inspiration as my health has been compromised but I appreciate the thought and you taking the time to comment.

  • O Deb! A warning stroke! (just looked up TIA) And nothing can prepare you for a stroke – regardless! Glad you’re making healthy changes though…you have had so much on your plate the last few years! What an amazing story. And you are – you’re so practical about it all….Here’s the problem, and there’s the solution. Keeping you in our prayers! XOXO

    • Just being Dutch about everything Hetty. We are a practical, no nonsense people, after all. It’s in the blood. Thank you my friend!

  • No, you haven’t had much in your life that might elevate your BP!! Your blog is probably cathartic, too! Leading by example of how to keep control or roll with the punches!! Looking forward to seeing you soon.
    Love, Kath’ and George xxoo

    • Thanks guys! Looking forward to seeing you on the weekend!!!

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