Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Stroke of Luck: Trying to Make Sense of It All (2 of 3)

I write this a month after my stroke. I am still trying to make sense of it all.

Something in my gut tells me that I have spread myself too thinly. I realize that slowing down is no longer an option. It is a must! I need to give up multi-tasking of work and responsibilities. I must learn how to pace my activities. It is difficult for me to say no, but I can't do everything. I must make wise choices on projects to pursue and advocacies to champion. And boy, these are not easy things to do. Knowing me, my first enemy is myself.

A week after I got out of the hospital, I had a follow up visit with my neurologist. I had a dozen of questions for her. The medical term for the stroke I had is Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), also known as mini-stroke. All my tests, from MRI to EEG, ultrasound of the carotid arteries to 2D echo didn't show negative impressions. My blood chemistry results, however, show a high cholesterol count and plaque build up in my arteries has begun.

On the bright side, TIA can be medically managed. Age and genetics are two factors that medical science cannot control though. A change in lifestyle and age appropriate choices can be done. So now, I am taking blood thinners and Lipitor. Drinking warm water diluted with honey and apple cider vinegar in the morning and before going to bed has been part of my routine. I have observed eating a low calorie diet since my weight loss program in 2014 (OplanBalik Alindog) but now, I strictly follow a white meat, low fat, veggie diet. I have lost 6 lbs already. It sounds drastic. Yes, the worrier that I am, I go "praning" on days when I feel so low. Maybe I need to walk or run again.

People say I am strong and courageous. But what they do not know is that, fear and anxiety still rest in my heart. I worry. A lot. I drive my husband crazy. My kids are exasperated with me at times. What comforts me is the thought that I am still alive. I go to bed at night praying for light, for healing, for God to grant me with a listening heart and a feeling mind. Honestly, there are times, when even this does not seem to work for me.

But I go on. I talk to my body organs. I apologize if I tire them out at the end of the day. I promise to take care of myself by following my neurologist's treatment plan for me. The nutrionist advised me to eat a low fat diet. I have religiously done so since I was discharged from Makati Medical Center on Friday night, three days after the stroke. Believe it or not, I was cleared fit to go back to work the following Monday. That was the only advise by my neurologist that I didn't follow. I was scared to push myself. I still am fearful of another attack.

Indeed, it is my luck to survive this stroke. But the road to recovery is another story.


linda nietes said...

You are in our prayers.
Recover your good health because health is wealth!
Try meditation if you can. It will be helpful.

Linda Nietes
Philippine Expressions Bookshop

Zarah C. Gagatiga said...

Hi Linda. Thank you for this! I only read it today! How it escaped me is unimaginable. But again, thank you. I hope you are well too!

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