All I can say is that I don't think I could have had a better appointment. First, I need to say that she was surprised, not at the fact I am walking because she thinks I would have gotten there soon anyway, but she was surprised that I was walking as soon as I am. When she came to get me, she said that she expected to see me in another state, but not walking. Then, once I was in her office, she revealed the "smoking gun" that no one else has been able to find, yet. Before my appointment yesterday I had an MRA of my upper chest, neck, and head. In the hospital, they only did an MRI, MRA and CT of my head and neck. What she said is that I have an artery, the left ventricular artery, to my brain that is completely blocked. Now, I know that sounds bad, but she said that in my case it is good because it will not allow further clots to go to my brain, but I am getting ahead of myself. Basically what happened is that sometime in the past, when is unimportant, but somteime in the past my artery became totally occluded. Something happened, it could be a fall, a strain, a cough or anything that created a tear in that artery. (BTW, my headaches were caused by the tear in the artery,not by anything else). The tear allowed blood to leave the artery and form a clot. Something happened (it could or could not have been the massage) that allowed the clot to move into my brain and caused the stroke. The good news is that there is less than a 10% chance of recurrence in 10 years. The other good news is that she took me off (I will go off it over time) all the meds from the VA. She took me off Simvastatin (Zocor) because my stroke was not caused by a buildup of cholesterol. She also is taking me off of all the blood pressure medications because my blood pressure was only 108/54 at the appointment and she said it was too low. (Incidentally, she thinks that I passed out more from low blood pressure than anything else because I was bleeding in my leg and I only have one ventricular artery to feed my brain with blood). Basically she wants my blood pressure top number to stay between 120 and 130 because I only have one artery feeding my brain and she wants my heart to pump hard enough to feed my brain constantly. (Right now it stays between 115 and 120). Overall, it was a GREAT appointment, she does not think I have to worry about a reoccurence of my stroke, she took me off all the VA meds (I am on 81mg of aspirin and Folic acid as a preventive, but that is over-the -counter). The ONLY restriction I have (it is more precautionary than anything else) is that I cannot do anymore "Thrill Rides" at an amusement park, I cannot do any slides at a waterpark, I cannot ride horseback...basically I cannot do anything that might manipulate my neck. Of course, how often do I do those things...maybe once a year! So, unless somethin else happens, IF (and I do not want one) I hae another stroke, she waid that it will not likely be related to this one...it sounds like this is one and done.
A few years ago I was presented with the opportunity to come back to Stratford, Iowa, to First Baptist church, as their pastor; for those of you who have followed this blog for some time, FBC in Stratford was my first pastorate. Let's just say I prayed about it as I was jumping at the opportunity. The church has a parsonage, so I could live there and not have to worry about a houe payment; and I needed to slow down, and this was a part time position (which, as a side note, allowed for me to get a greater disability from the VA than when I was working full time with St. Croix Hospice...) We love Stratford, and absolutely love the church; the people are wonderful and accepted us, again, with open arms. This was, for me, the perfect position: I get to pastor a church I LOVE, I get to do life with people I LOVE, and I have already had the opportunity to do weddings and baptism services for kids (adults now) that I have known their entire lives. IT IS GREAT. The longer I have been here,