Mike’s Story

Site created on October 20, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. We covet your prayers during this time And have been sustained by them through all of this. 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Bev Faro

A number of people who don't see us often have reached out recently to say, "How's Mike?"  I just looked back and see that my last journal entry was in December, so maybe it is time to finish off this Caring Bridge Journal with an update that answers that question.

It has been a busy winter and spring--lots of appointments and evaluations.  In late December Mike saw a urologist to evaluate any possibility that there could be cancer of the prostate.  Apparently an unrecognized cancer can cause a clot to form, and the only possible place for cancer to "hide" given all the scans he had in the fall was the prostate.  Clean bill of health there.  

Next up, thorough vision evaluation.  The neuro-ophthmologist gave him the good news in January that although he has some "blind spots", they do not cluster together, so from her perspective, he can drive!  Given the initial visual field cut he was experiencing that would have banned him from driving forever, that was evidence of recovery that was cause for great praise!!  

In February Mike was given a referral to a neurosurgeon.  The stroke center physician thought that the neurosurgeon might recommend carotid surgery.  First, however, he determined a need to obtain a better carotid MRI.  Apparently the machine at the UR takes slices of 0.7 mm thickness and the MRI done in Harrisburg looked at much thicker cuts.  The repeat MRI actually showed <50% occasion of the right carotid artery, so the neurosurgeon declined to do any kind of intervention.  Apparently the risk exceeds the benefit unless the blockage is much greater.  

Back to the stroke doctor in May, who was pleased with the recommendations of the neurosurgeon, even though he told us that he believes the stroke came from plaque in the carotid that broke off and lodged in various places in the brain. He reported that assessment came from extensive review of the brain MRI and the areas affected by the stroke.  So, the goal becomes prevention of any further strokes through maintaining a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise that will help with blood pressure, cholesterol and weight control.  That means medication assistance as well, of course--blood pressure medication and a statin.  

We've also had 3 visits to the cardiologist.  Remember that loop recorder that was placed in November?  It has continued to pick up a few episodes of arrhythmia, but no atrial fibrillation that could cause stroke.  They also determined that the frequency of the arrhythmia does not require an intervention to "ablate" (or zap) the source of that.   

At the last stroke center visit in May, Mike was also taken off his anticoagulant medication (Eliquis).  An EEG was ordered, and after that was done, his seizure medication was also discontinued.  If there is no seizure activity off the medication, hopefully Mike will be given permission to drive in the fall.  Fingers crossed!!  

OT ended in late January, and PT ended in March.  Mike continues to work on his own forms of "therapy" at home--balance exercises and word searches to improve balance, focus and attention.

We feel like the stroke is finally in the rear-view mirror.  It has left some "tracks" in Mike's brain that he continues to deal with, but overall we both feel SO blessed by his level of good health and recovery.

If you ever needed any incentive to take care of your health, let Mike's stroke experience be a cautionary tale.  He was relatively fit, getting regular check-ups, and eating well, but it happened to him.  Hopefully his experience can be a lesson to all!  

Wishing you all a healthy and safe summer.  Thanks for all your support and prayers.  
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