New member needing advice

Hi All. I had a TIA on New Year's Eve. Subsequent tests showed a completely blocked carotid artery and surgery was duly carried out. This all came as a significant shock to me as I thought I was quite fit and healthy, I'm also only 47 yrs old. I was smoking and this combined with my family history made my risk significantly higher. My cholesterol was also high, as was my blood pressure. Since my surgery I have stopped smoking completely and totally changed my diet. It's hard but I'm doing it. However I really don't know whether I'm progressing well or not with regards to my recovery. I'm now 3 weeks post op and able to manage walks and pottering about the house but that's it. Anything else causes pain (pulling like sensation) around operation site. I guess I'm asking is this normal? Am I expecting too much too soon? I'm also having awful problems with my sleep. I get off ok but wake about 3 hrs later and can rarely then get back to sleep. I take a high dose statin, blood thinner and tablet to lower blood pressure. Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

Take care all

Welcome on board Sally.

your TIA may well have saved you. Your blocked carotid artery might have gone unnoticed then the other carotid artery might have blocked. 

most of us were fit before stroke, otherwise we might not have recovered.

impressed by your health changes, well done.

i had problems sleeping. If you dont sleep well then everything else suffers. So i spent months trying extra pillows, swopped mattress, swapped rooms, left the light on. I worked out that i need 7.5 hrs sleep and that, if i am in bed by 10.30 then sleep would, eventually, improve.

i used a tinnitus relaxer which gets me off to sleep. No longer need it.

i hope someone who had a carotid problem will join in and advise.






Hi Sally

i. Had a TIA back at the beginning of November followed by an endarterectomy.  However I am 78 yrs old, I was a tottering tennis player up until 2 years ago and a hip.operation.  After the endarterectomy during which they couldn't patch the artery and had to put ina stent I suffered from Terrible fatigue,total inertia and disinterest in picking up any part of my life.  Over the weeks it has improved but at times I become so tired I can hardly brush my teeth before bed.  My concentration has improved and I do a daily walk.  It is a job to know how much of life I ccould cope with as we are both shielding and rarely go out other than for blood tests.  I have suffered.two urinary and one chest infection since the TIA so have been on multiple antibiotics.  Engaging with people on FaceTime or the phone I find exhausting.  Recovery has been a very slow process marked by intervals of negativity.  I am on two lots of statins, apixaban blood thinner and aspirin.  My right cheek and jaw are slowly getting back some feeling as is my right ear lobe, the scar has healed and doesn't bother me.
i am getting the vaccine on Monday and wonder how I will tolerate that.  I have been doing a free online writing course 'Couch to 80K' to try and improve my concentration and keep my brain alert, I am enjoying that.  What we have suffered has been horrible, I never want to undergo another operation whilst awake, made doubly so by lock down.  Keep posting here it helps.  Keep in touch, if I can be of help please let me know. Best wishes, Marylin

Thank you Marylin, your words have helped.
I'm tired of being told I've had a lucky escape. Right now it doesn't feel like I have. It feels like my whole world has been turned upside down. I know things will get better eventually but at the moment everything feels so difficult.          I hope the vaccine doesn't cause any issues for you. 
Thanks again and take care. 

Sally strokes are all different, in some ways I was lucky,a small bit broke off the clot in my carotid artery and went to my eye not my brain, it caused me to lose partial sight in my right eye for about ten minutes.  It happened on a Saturday morning and I didn't do anything about it because I couldn't get through to the Drs, ended up ringing 111.  Half hour later ambulance arrived, carted off to A and E who found nothing wrong with me but sent me to eye hospital.  Dr there said I should have been sent to stroke clinic.  Went home and had appointment with the clinic the next day.  Registrar there sent me for an ultrasound.  Then told my daughter, my son in NZ via FaceTime that I had a clot in carotid artery and they wanted to operate.  The head of neurology wanted me to stay in hospital whilst they waited for the effects of blood thinners I was on to dissipate before they could operate.  If I went home because of covid I would not be allowed back.  So I was admitted.  After a week they operated but the insertion of the stent blocked blood supply to brain.  After op couldn't move left wrist of hand.  But it was my brain that felt jumbled and sore not just the wound.  I had experienced some the effects of a stroke when my husband had one 6 years ago,  our world was totally tossed in the air and we have gradually put the pieces together the best way we can to have a life.  This time it has mostly affected me as I soon recovered use of hand and wrist.  It is the fatigue battle that keeps defeating me, the total exhaustion that makes making a cheese sandwich like a climb to the top of Everest.  It is slowly improving but it is slow. I will get there, so will you.  Ignore the people who tell you how well you look, I wanted to punch them, they had no idea how unwell I was.  They just cannot understand what a stroke has done to you. Concentrate on you and your welfare, try to walk a little further each day but don't overdo it, listen to your body.  If you can do that and manage your personal care, you are doing well.  Marylin

I often wake up around 2 or 3, like you.   I've found three different things that help and use them at different times.  1) If I'm wakeful I take 3mg Melatonin. 2) I stop trying to sleep, put the light on and read for 1/2 to 1 hour, while I nibble on about 1/4cup cheerios, which I keep handy in container by my bed(used to use crackers, but wanted to go healthier.  I find a little something in my tummy helps me to relax and sleep, and it's proven the eye movement of reading is a sleep-inducer.) 3) I use 20 mg CBD oil under my tongue.(Originally, started doing this to stop my after-stroke leg spasms that came on at night, and found that it also relaxes me and helps me sleep.  I use these methods singly usually, but sometimes I have to use #1 and #2 both or #2 and #3 together.  I don't usually do #1 and #3 together as it sometimes makes me feel too sleepy in the morning. I think there was only one time in the last 2 years that these things didn't work.  Hope this helps. Love, Jeanne

Thanks Jeanne. I've been advised by hospital not to take CBD supplements/oil but I will look in to the Melatonin. I've tried numerous sleep apps which don't help at all. Reading is my go to thing in the early hours and I avoid my phone/social media so that doesn't stimulate me. 
Thanks again and take care.