Feb 17, 2019 Latest post:
Feb 16, 2020
Hi everyone. I’m Dave, Athena’s husband. I found myself sending multiple updates to multiple people and decided this Caring Bridge site would be much more efficient.
Our daughter Nikiah came home for a visit around 4:30 in the afternoon on Saturday the 16th of February to find Athena sitting in a chair in front of the fireplace, unable to move or talk. She was conscious and alert, yet unable to communicate. It appeared she had been trying to take her coat off. Nikiah asked her several times if she was okay, and the only response she was able to get was “ambulance”, which Nikiah promptly called.
Athena was transported to Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, where a life flight via helicopter was quickly arranged to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY.
She was diagnosed with a hemorrhagic stroke, the severity of which is not yet known. She is in the neurological ICU at Strong. Her condition is critical, yet stable.
She had a “bleed” at the front and top portion of her brain, where the left and right lobes come together and communicate with each other. This was not an aneurysm, and the bleeding appears to have stopped by the time she arrived at the hospital. She underwent a “DSA” late this morning - essentially a cerebral angiogram. The good news: they didn’t find anything in particular that caused this event. The concern was that she may have had some form of carotid or cerebral dissection, for which there is no treatment. Over the past few years she has suffered two SCAD events - sudden coronary artery dissection which resulted in mild heart attacks. Her treatment for those events through CMC and the Cleveland Clinic have resulted in a diagnosis of Fibro Muscular Displacia, or FMD, which can cause artery dissection, an event that involves the peeling away of the lining of the artery causing a blockage, in her case resulting in the heart attacks. However, FMD infrequently presents in the coronary arteries, and is much more frequent in the renal (kidney) or carotid (cerebral) arteries. Hence the good news: despite her history of FMD and dissections, this was not the case this time.
So the bad news: we don’t know. It’s hard to treat what we don’t know.
The next step is an MRI scheduled for around midnight tonight. Hopefully we will learn more.
In the meantime she is resting peacefully. At least at the moment. When she is awake, her arms shake violently and she is largely non verbal. It’s a challenge keeping her from ripping out her IVs and feeding tube, sometimes inadvertently. At this point she struggles with words, and a sentence is pretty much out of the question. She seems to suffer with an intense itching sensation all over when she is “awake”. It’s hard to see her constantly sleeping (she’s not sedated), yet at the same time it’s when she is most peaceful. The “alert” periods seem agonizing for her. When her eyes are open, she very clearly wants to communicate, but simply can’t.
I’m here at her side for however long it takes to figure this out. I’ll post updates as I get them. Visitors are welcome, but for brief periods. If you come, please text me at 607-227-1512 with your plans and when you arrive. I tend not to answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize, but leave a message and I’ll call you back.