I went back to my neurologist earlier this week; the neurologist that had been with me since my stroke left to take another position at the same hospital so I now have a new neurologist. Needles to say I was a little unsure about going to a new neurologist. I know, I know, I should not think that Dr. Benjamin walks on water but it is hard not to think that; without her I would be dead! But, I digress. This new neurologist told me some things that I had never heard before. First, I had always been under the impression that I cannot take any NSAID pain relievers because I am on an aspirin regimen. But, he told me that an occasional Motrin or Aleve is not bad; I should not become dependent upon them (that is, I should not take them daily, just periodically) but 1 every now and then is not going to hurt. The second thing he told me that made me go hmmmmmm was when he told me that all of my headaches (I get periodic terrible headaches in the back of my head. Those of you who have followed my blog for a long time know about them) are caused by nothing more than stress. If I eliminate stress (yea, good luck with that one) I can eliminate my headaches. When I told him that I get terribly fatigued, especially late in the day, he basically told me it is simply because I am out of shape and need to try walking on the treadmill more. One problem: I do walk on the treadmill periodically but then my blood pressure gets all whacky on me and then I get fatigued from the that and I am not able to do it anymore. It is not as if I do nothing; I do walk on the treadmill periodically and I try to stay active. Then he laid the biggy on me: there really is nothing that I used to be able to do that I should not be able to do now. My balance will be worse, obviously, but my stamina should not be changed at all. I'm sorry, what? I have seen my stamina go in the crapper, my endurance is terrible and my energy gets depleted quickly. So I am thinking "What the crap?" But, I went home and started thinking that it has been 5 years since my stroke (WOW....) and I have done pretty well for these 5 years, so I think I will just keep doing what I have done before and see how things go.
On December 8, 2008, my life changed forever. I had a double sided cerebellar stroke with 2 brain stem compressions. It was not until December 10, 40 hours after my stroke, that surgery was finally done to relieve the pressure. Dr. Piper, the neuro-surgeon from Iowa Methodist hospital in Des Moines, told my wife that surgery was nothing more than an attempt to save my life, but that it would not erase the deficiencies as a result of the stroke. Although she admits that she did not really understand what Dr. Piper had just said, my wife, Laura, agreed to the surgery and the care team performed a decrompessive craniotomy, to hopefully relieve the pressure and allow my brain to function somewhat normally. For those who have followed my blog for the last 14+ years, the surgery was successful, I returned to the church and I now live a relatively normal life, although I do have some pretty severe, though not always visible, defieciencies. I really thought that life could not get any worse th