I did not think I was going to be writing a Health Scare Part 4 post, at least not for many years. I went to the Stroke Center for some follow-up tests and it was found in the MRA test that I have a small dissection in one of the arteries in the back of my brain. I was told not to have my hair washed at a salon for at least six months and to be careful not to let anyone else manipulate my neck. This is the kind of tear that can happen at a hair salon, chiropractor or a yoga class (and many other scenarios). Then, on a recent Sunday, my lower lip developed a twitch on the left side and the left side of my face started tingling and feeling numb. Then, these symptoms subsided. I found it worrisome but was not ready to run to the emergency room (though I probably should have gone as these symptoms are in the realm of TIA symptoms). Then, on the following Wednesday, I felt a stabbing pain in my right ear, as if someone had plunged a knife into my ear. The stabbing pain continued and was followed by a similar pain at the top of my head. Both of these pains continued, though they started to come and go. It was so intense that I paged my neurologist to see if I needed to go to the emergency room as I was alone with the Sugar Snaps and had no child care. I secretly hoped she would say no.
She told me that with my medical history, I needed to go. She understood I needed to find child care first (which ended up being Greg leaving work and coming home). More tests were run which confirmed the original MRA result which, luckily, had not worsened. The combination of the two new episodes was concerning to my doctors after the December incident. So, my two neurologists, my cardiologist and another cardiologist (an expert in holes in the heart) consulted with each other and, after reviewing all of my films from previous procedures, concluded that heart surgery was the best option now. The TIA symptoms are like mini-earthquakes signaling that the big one could be near. I do not want to have a stroke and have my ability to take care of the Sugar Snaps to be diminished. The surgery will close all the holes in my ‘Swiss cheese’ heart.