New(er) Story

 

A somewhat new(er) story….

I officially left the state of New York to follow my California dreams on December 30, 2016.

On January 5th, I arrived in my new hometown, Encinitas, San Diego.

On February 6th, I admitted myself to the Emergency Room.

For the past five days leading up to my ER visit that Monday morning I had been experiencing what some may call a migraine (I don’t know what to call it because I’ve never once felt this pain- never had a headache, never a migraine). It came with some disorientation – almost feeling “drunk.”

Some of you who are in the medical field received various texts from me asking “is this normal?
Well after five days I decided no matter what advice I got- no matter how many “it’s just stress and you’re in your head too much, Katie” I decided to follow my instinct and all alone, in this new city, I admitted myself into the Encinitas emergency room.

The doctors and nurses there followed a migraine protocol since they too believed that’s all I had to be in for. I presented fine. Athletic. Young. I think I was even wearing mascara. Having said that, I wasn’t exactly treated with all that much respect. But that’s a whole other story.

After many medications and still not feeling my self, I became an advocate and demanded something more. Being a nurse, I was fairly familiar with the medications they were using to knock this headache out and let me tell you, if that last one didn’t work, then I knew something else had to be up.

So I denied the morphine and instead begged for an MRI. This also had to do with the horrible huge fact that my health insurance in California was only good for emergency services. So, I asked for the MRI and after the typical “I don’t think you need this” comment, I by the mercy of His grace, got it.

Watching that doctor make his way back to my room was the most horrifying experience ever. He said “your right side of the brain looks fine where you were describing your symptoms but we found something on the left carotid artery.

At that point they told me they discovered a blood flow limiting carotid dissection in my left carotid. In human terms- they couldn’t know if I had suffered a stroke. They didn’t know much from the limited MRI and so they immediately demanded for an ambulance and I was shipped to La Jolla Neurology ICU.

I remember the feeling. Numb. I was all alone. Could I die? I wasn’t sure. I don’t even think I cried much. I couldn’t feel anything. My emotions were at a lost of words.

The RN who drove with me in the ambulance said- ” I won the lottery.” I won because I decided to listen to my intuition and admit myself- become an advocate and ultimately find out this horrific news. However, because I admitted myself I may have saved my life.

My parents got on the next plane available- they left Albany, NY at 5:40 am and found themselves in my arms around noon in California. The timing couldn’t have worked out better. They were there when the neurologist spoke, they were there for my next big test.

I think the hardest part that morning was the fact that one of the doctors had said, “Katie, this still may be nothing. Sometimes they see things on MRI’s and it ends up being a mistake, it ends up being nothing.

So as I kissed my parents goodbye, we prayed that this was just a mistake. I mean it HAD to be, right? I was 27. I was a vegetarian! I think I have a little bit of dairy every other month! I exercise everyday! I pray! I’m a good person!

But as I fought the sedation in the procedure room so I could hear the doctor speak, I soon realized it had to be otherwise.

On January 8th, 2017 they found a 75% blood limited dissection on my left carotid artery and a 40% blood limiting dissection on my right.

I am stable and I am alive. I did not experience a stroke nor did I experience any brain damage. I will be rechecked at my 3 month mark.

I am forced now to enter a new phase. A new yoga practice. One that doesn’t involve my body yet involves my mind, my soul and my well being.

I believe in the power of prayer, the power of community & I thank mine and all of you who have been there thus far, the notes, the letters, the small gifts of remembrance- I bow down to your kindness and will forever pay it forward.

 

Until next time,

Katie