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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Month 3: Mini Stroke

So tomorrow will mark 3 months/ 92 days of ceasing treatment of Topical Steroids. I'm not gonna lie, it's been extremely tough but in comparison to others also going through this, I don't think I've even scratched the surface (no pun intended!) with the withdrawal process. Sure, I've been through my own personal hell over these past few months but I'm not too sure as to whether I am going through the withdrawal as I should.

That won't make any sense whatsoever, but it does to me in that I seem to have undergone everything but true withdrawal. The week after I cut out the topical steroids and switched onto Ciclosporin, after one week of respite I was an absolute mess, riddled with eczema herpeticum and periorbital cellulitis; resulting in a weeks hospitalisation. After a week on the mend, my skin then seemingly split open of its own accord and then progressively spread throughout my entire body leaving me looking like that of a burns victim. The doctors were horrified and demanded I used some form of acute treatment to reduce the inflammation, otherwise I would likely die. I reluctantly transitioned myself back onto the Ciclosporin and after just a few days had what I thought was my eighth bout of eczema herpeticum. At this time I believed I was going through withdrawal with the added effects of immunosuppressive therapy but now after finding out I'd contracted MRSA I'm reluctant to believe it was true withdrawal at all; from leaving hospital weeks before.

My skin is still suffering and I think it's mainly down to the MRSA. The areas on my legs where the vesicles were previously present have now turned into huge areas of scabbing that keep shedding profusely and reforming as scabs or harder skin with periodical weeping, but not as widespread as once was. It's gonna be a long time before it has all gone; the infection may leave but the aftermath isn't pretty and will take time to heal. As for the rest of me, it's a mess but no where near as unmanageable as it was. I'm now able to go a full shift at work and the other night managed a trip to the supermarket afterwards.

And now I'll turn to another health issue I suffered only last night that I don't think is in any way related to my TSW. I've never had any problems with my health that weren't related to my skin or asthma troubles but last night was just a bit terrifying.

I suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA for short) which is essentially a mini stroke.

Yep, at just 23 years old I had a stroke. What the actual hell?!

It all started at approximately 10pm last night; we'd just got in from Shane doing a race at a place 45 minutes up the road, we'd stopped off for a Dominoes pizza as it was 9:30pm and we couldn't be bothered to cook anything at that time, and so returned home to scoff our faces (I must openly admit that a pizza is a treat for us and it isn't all that often we get takeaway because we generally can't afford to). After inhaling the pizza I needed to go have a shower. The second I got into the downstairs bathroom my vision started to go a bit funny and I couldn't focus on anything. I thought nothing too much of it though as I have had similar things happen in the past and proceeded to jump in the shower. Afterwards I got a couple of drinks to make sure it wasn't due to dehydration and covered myself in moisturiser, whilst still struggling with my vision.

I then sat down to my laptop as I knew it would be a long while before I'd be off to bed and I couldn't see the TV properly to warrant putting that on, so did my best to struggle to look at Tumblr and read some friends' statuses on Facebook. After a few moments I realised I couldn't make sense of simple sentences and just put it down to my vision giving me grief and making me unable to concentrate... but then I couldn't even type anything coherently that made comprehensible sense. I started trying to talk out loud to Shane but my words kept getting mixed up and I couldn't form a sentence. We both found it funny at first until I couldn't get my words out at all and then couldn't even get my brain to think in logic of how to even create a sentence in my head. I was reduced to stuttering and frustrated one word answers and pointing.

My first ever panic attack ensued and I was hyperventilating, crying, unable to breathe, nearly choking on my tongue and it was just horrible. It kind of felt like an asthma attack in that my chest was constricting but didn't have quite the same feel, which is hard for me to explain really if you've never experienced the different sensations of the two... After Shane could see me struggle to breathe he shoved an inhaler my way which I just chucked aside as I didn't need it, but it was too hard to communicate to tell him what was going on. I felt like a vegetable. Then suddenly I had a pins and needles sensation in my lower lip and down my arms. At this point my vision had returned but I was still hyperventilating and unable to talk.

Shane got onto the phone and dialed for an ambulance. When the paramedic turned up literally minutes later my breathing was controlled and he was able to carry out various tests. I still remained unable to speak, and even when bundled into the ambulance could barely utter a word. My thinking however was coming back so that I could think logically but all the words I wanted to say just stuck on my tongue. I then had a moment of sheer terror when the left side of my lip felt like it was falling, though when they looked at me there was nothing visibly wrong so I'm not sure what that was about.

When I finally got to hospital and in a side room my speech and comprehension returned! My bloods were then taken and I could read that the form the nurse had brought in with her stated something about a stroke. I honestly hadn't even considered that so that drove me into more panic. A stroke? Me? But I'm young!

They don't know what would have caused it as all my blood work and the testing came back fine. I don't have high blood pressure, I'm not overweight and I should really be at a low risk of these things occurring... but the point is it did occur. After 5 hours of waiting in the hospital I've been given an appointment to see a specialist to see what on earth could have caused this. The only thing I can think of is the pizza? Maybe it raised cholesterol momentarily? I dunno. I dunno how these things work.

But yeah, welcome to my life. My never ending bad luck life.



10 comments :

  1. This is really scary stuff :( Hopefully the specialist can at least give you a reason, I can't even imagine being in your position, you really don't deserve any of this :( <3

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    1. Thanks Charley :( I know, I keep asking how can it get any worse? but it always manages to find a way to.

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  2. hi Jenny, did they do an echocardiogram in the hospital? ultrasound of your neck? one possibility for the tia would be something called a patent foramen ovale in your heart. this is something that's present since birth and usually doesn't usually cause any issues, but it can cause problems unexpectedly. this is just a thought. hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Hi Mary, no unfortunately they couldn't do an ECG because my skin was too greasy for the pads to stick! Even when she used wipes to wipe my skin down it still wouldn't work. :( please don't scare me even more! Someone suggested it could have been the MRSA I have which would make sense... I just pray it doesn't happen again.

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  3. Very scary Jenny, thank goodness Shane was with you and got you to the hospital quickly.

    Hope you feel better soon. You really need a break here.

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    1. I know! I'm so glad he was able to deal with it.x

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  4. Is your condition the same as someone who has atopic dermatitis? I've heard they are the same thing, but I'm not really sure.

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    1. Hi Maddie, yes I have atopic derm. Dermatitis and eczema are generally used interchangeably.

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  5. Hey Jenny, I was even scared reading this so I really can't begin to imagine how you must have felt. I really hope you get to the root of it.Hope your skin is doing okay in the middle of all that trauma. Gosh you are having an awful time.Hope the Autumn shall bring you some peace, THanks for update, Aoibheann xx

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  6. hi please would you let your followers know about our free sensitive moisturiser/cleanser samples? :-) http://www.senzimi.com/senzimi-range-sensitive-skincare-products/product-samples.html

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