Here are answers to the questions I get asked most about me and my stroke.
Why did you have a stroke?
My strokes were caused by a vertebral dissection, where a tear to tissues in an artery in my neck resulted in a clot. About 4 small pieces of the clot broke off and travelled to my brain, causing ‘strokes’.
This picture shows a carteroid artery and mine was in the vertebral artery – which is smaller and at the back of the neck, but this shows the general story…
Why were you “lucky”?
I was incredibly lucky , firstly, because these mainly impacted my cerebellum (the bit of your brain that does motor control; the one to my brain stem was incredibly, incredibly small) and, secondly, because my recovery is proving to be very speedy indeed when compared with others.
What’s the cerebellum and what do the various areas of the brain do?
Patient.co.uk has a diagram and a list that I liked, because most of the items on the list underneath the picture (bar the swallowing, understanding and emotions) applied to me:
But stroke is rare, right?
Strokes in someone my age are rare; vertebral dissections are often the way they happen at this age, but are also comparatively rare: in total, they account for less than 2% of strokes.
Tell me more about strokes…
More information about strokes and vertebral dissections is available all. I haven’t read it all yet, but if you want to have a look, I’ve copied loads of useful links onto the resources page.
What’s the Cadiss Trial that you were involved in?
The Cadiss trial compares the effectiveness of Warfarin with aspirin to see the difference in benefits. Warfarin is generally thought to be a better post-stroke drug for protecting against another one but it’s hard to dose and you have to have blood tests a lot, whereas aspirin is easy but they don’t know if its as effective. You can find out more here about the CADISS trial. I personally hope it transpires that aspirin is just as good because warafarin was an utter pain in the neck (pun not intended).
Are there good stroke blogs out there?
Yes, and many are much better than this one! See down the right hand side of the screen for a list of links.
What were you grateful for in the initial weeks?
If you want more information on strokes, go to the resources page!