I had done the five day ITB Pump trial. I can say that the results were amazing! For a couple of days, I was able to feel how to walk “almost” normally again.
I “checked in” on Monday. After getting out of my street clothes and changing into the standard issue uber sexy hospital gown and settling into my room, the nurse took vitals and I set to wait for the doctors. The doctors came in and gave me a rundown of what was going to happen the next five days (We were in constant phone contact prior to this day, so this was just a review).
The doctors then prepped my back for the insertion of the catheter which will infuse Baclofen directly to my spine. They start with a super low dose. After the insertion, I am to lay flat on my back for 6-8 hours to allow the insertion site to heal. Otherwise, I run the risk of getting a spinal headache. Which according to the doctors, is the worse headache one could ever experience. I was not even allowed to bend my legs. Apparently, I did not follow this direction to a T coz I got a headache that kicked my ass the next day. I wanted to do a test walk, so I lied and told the Dr. I was fine.
The first day at a low dose, I already felt a difference! My steps felt lighter and my foot was not curling in. The doctor and I walked a couple of times around the floor. My headache was getting worse, so we had to stop. And once again I had to lay completely flat on my back for a few hours.
Wednesday, the physical therapist came by to walk with me. We once again just walked around the floor. I asked if they had a treadmill, unfortunately they didn’t (i brought running clothes!!). I really wanted to try my new legs! She watched the video of me walking before the medicine was hooked up. It turned out that I was walking the wrong way. I was walking fast and steady, but I had adapted by walking while swinging my leg outwards to make big steps. I now have to relearn how to walk again. I also walked around with Armando and Scotty, they even noticed the difference! Scotty said “You don’t walk like Frankenstein anymore!”
Thursday I was at full dose. My leg felt light, I didn’t feel any tone or spasticity, I wanted to run! Later that day, they started tapering down the medicine I was receiving. I had so many mixed feelings. I have many questions, I was anxious. I knew that when I wake up the next day the little bit of freedom that I had was going to be gone. My light legs will be gone. I was sad.
Friday was check out day. The catheter was removed and I was placed on flat bed rest again for the rest of the day. The doctors came in and talked to me about the results of the trial. He was glad that I had thought to record myself walking as it served as a good reference for the trial. We took a before and during video during the trial. Both the Doc and the PT were very encouraged by the results, they think I will get very good results from getting the implant. The decision is mine.
The medicine is now completely off my system and I can definitely say that it made a big difference. I have talked it over with my family, I have thought about it the past few days. I am leaning towards getting the implant. Do I have HUGE expectations? You bet! I have some time to think about this, I have many questions. My family and I also have our reservations because as with any surgery there are risk. But seeing the difference, how could I even have a second thought?
Part of my therapy, my exercise routine is to go for a walk on days that I do not go to the gym. My very good friend and forever neighbor sent me a text asking if I wanted to go for a walk, it was a bit unusual since it was Thursday afternoon and she is usually at work. I jumped at the chance. To be honest, I have been slacking off on my walks. I have been to the gym and use the elliptical or the treadmill. So off we went. I love our walks Tammy and I, we have known each for ages, since our kids were toddlers. We used to spend many summer afternoons well into the evenings playing at the park. Our kids covered head to toe with sand. We’ve had to spray them off with the hose on at the front yard before going inside. Now, our kids are teens, now busy with their own lives . So it is just now Tammy and I reminiscing about the good old days. We also vent, talk about our day, our week our lives. So there we were, on a warm Thursday afternoon walking down familiar paths that we have walked many, many times. We turn around to get back home and I see that my Runkeeper was at 1.85 miles, I of course wanted, no needed to make it to 2 miles. I asked Tammy if it would be ok if we walk to end of the street and around the corner to make it to two miles. I was pushing myself, trying to walk faster and all of the sudden, I feel myself going down, I see the panic on Tammy’s face, I dropped my phone and as if on instinct the first thing I did was to STOP the Runkeeper app. A rush of frustration came over me when I saw that I fell at 1.99 miles! Ok. ok some of you might just shrug it off and think it is no big deal, but another runner would understand the frustration. I felt something warm on my arm, my running capris was dotted with little red spots, the pain now starting to creep up on me. A car pulled up as we sit on the sidewalk, blood dripping on my arm and pants. Two people come out of the car asking if we were ok.
The young man addressing Tammy said “We saw what happened. We saw her fall, can we give you a ride home?” I tried to protest, the house is just around the corner. Tammy accepted their offer, she was shaking. I keep telling her I am ok. Things were getting blurry now. My son, Vincent, heard the car pull up to the curb and ran out to meet us. Tammy’s voice was shaky as she tells Armando what happened. I had ran to the bathroom to see the damage. I had sustained a cut on the left side of my face, right under my eye barely missing my eyeball. My eyeglass broke and a piece of plastic cut my face. It was decided that I needed a trip to the emergency room.
I once had a blog where I intended to talk about running, races, and training for runs and races. Life got busy and the blog fell by the wayside. Then life threw my family and I for a loop.
It was Tuesday, October 28, 2014. Game 6 of the Giants vs. Royals World Series. I had been asleep all day, having had a shot of morphine at the emergency room the night before. I had the worse headache of my life Monday night, I was screaming in pain so my husband, Armando drove me to the emergency room. They did not determine anything to be wrong, do they gave me a dose of morphine (perhaps to shut me up as I was screaming!!!) and sent me home. The next day, I called in sick for work and slept. When I woke up at around 4:00 P.M. feeling guilty because I had slept all day, I went downstairs with faint ache still lingering in my head which I attributed to the meds wearing off, I made dinner.
After dinner, wearing my orange tutu I cheered my Giants on. A win would cinch another World Series title. My headache was getting progressively worse, it did not help that the Royals tied the series. I remember everything being hazy that night. I went upstairs to get ready for bed my head pounding now, I was also very nauseous. I said goodnight and I love you to Scotty, he asked me too lay down next to him for a bit. He looked very sad when I told him I can’t I just wanted to lie down because my head was really hurting. I threw up in the bathroom and staggered out. Vincent kept asking me what was wrong, I was telling him I my head was hurting really bad, he kept saying “I can’t understand what you’re saying”. I don’t how Vincent knew, but he said “I think you’re having a stroke”. He called 911. I tried opening my eyes and saw paramedics, I kept hearing “stroke”. My recall of that night is definitely vague. I thought I was saying I have to say bye to Scotty, but when I asked my family about that they told me I never said it. This was the beginning of what would be the longest race I will ever tackle. Please join me on this adventure. I would love and appreciate your support.
I had already mentioned that May is Stroke Awareness Month. Here in the Silicon Valley, the Stroke Awareness Foundation has played a major role in raising community awareness and education about stroke. Each year, they hold their biggest fundraiser: The annual Stroke Walk. The 5k walk happens at the beautiful San Jose Rose Gardens which in the month of May is in full bloom. This year, I decided to not only participate in the walk, but also participate in the fundraiser. I posted my link on Facebook and Instagram and surprisingly enough donations started coming in. My heart was filled with gratitude. The messages that accompanied the donations were even more heartfelt. People telling me how I have inspired them, how they see me as a strong, determined individual. I was also amazed by the people who signed up to join me on the walk. Sunday May 15th turned out to be a gorgeous day. My family where with me, my friends were there and hundreds of people who are there to support a great cause.
For more information about the Stroke Awareness Foundation visit their website:Stroke Awareness Foundation
I decided to start blogging my journey to recovery because navigating this road is tough. I want to be accountable, I want to learn from others and maybe, just maybe I will also be able to inspire.
I have learned so much this past 18 months. I have learned that I have to be my own advocate when it comes to getting the care that I need. There are people in this world who are truly kind and caring. I have learned that I have amazing friends, and most importantly my family is strong and we are able to survive a life changing tragedy.
“Pardon the dust, this site is still under construction”, please bear with me as I fumble along the first few posts. I promise to deliver good stories even as I work on making this site more attractive.