A few weeks had passed. We had settled into our new norm. My husband had drastically improved from November 5th. His right side was still weak and considerably slower than the right side, but it was coming back!
We finally got a call, which was going to be the answer to our prayers. The University of Utah Neurological Clinic called scheduling my husband to go out to Salt Lake City for more tests and to get answers.
We had four days. Four days to get everything in order. Our oldest daughters were in school and we have three dogs we needed to make sure they were all taken care of. Thank you Grandma!!
Monday morning, we get into the truck and begin our drive to Utah. We planned to arrive two hours before our appointment, to take in account any traffic we may hit and grab some lunch. We hit a bad snow storm along the way. I learned rather quickly I will not be doing good in this Northern Nevada winters haha But, somehow, we managed to arrive to his appointment with 5 minutes to spare.
For those who have never been to this Clinic, you need to know how fabulous it is. The staff and doctor are caring, considerate, thorough, and efficient. They have technology and skills that are out of this world.
As soon as we sat with the doctor, he pulled up my husband’s MRI that was done the day of his stroke. He immediately pointed out three things.
- The stroke he had on November 5, 2017 that changed our lives.
- A smaller stroke that happen just 5 days before the big one, which happened to be in the part of the brain that affects moods.
- A vertebral artery dissection, which was the cause to not one but two strokes.
The doctor explained how the dissection was caused by chiropractic manipulation of the neck. He told us how 8% of all strokes happen due to this. He also explained how rare this type of stroke is, and how majority of the people who experience it, don’t bounce back to normal, let alone survive. He was truly amazed by how fast my husband has improved and and expected a full recovery within 3 months, with a chance of another stroke happening again with as little as 1%. He wanted to send him for one more test, an CT angiogram, which did confirm his findings.
We left the appointment with a weight lifted off our shoulders. We finally had the answers we longed for. We knew what caused the stroke, well… two strokes. That was a major shock to us. We know now that my husband wasn’t a ticking time bomb anymore and a chance of another stroke happening again is extremely low! God answered our prayers. He also taught us many lessons along the way.
Since we’ve learned of the cause to his strokes, my husband has continued to push as hard as possible at therapy, and has graduated from both occupational and physical therapy. He has most his strength and mobility back in his right side, although it is a tad slower, it’s almost completely back to normal. He’s able to play with his kids again. Put his shirt and socks on without fail. He’s back to being the strong and independent man I married.
My husband has been an absolute inspiration. He was scared when it all happened, but he never let it hold him down. He pushed harder than ever before to kick these strokes in the ass. He always had a smile on his face. Always smiling.
These strokes have done so much for our family. For a moment in time, we could have crumbled and let this destroy us. But somehow, without ease, we came out stronger and closer than before. We’ve been able to appreciate every moment together, even something as simple as playing in the yard or going out to dinner. We appreciate every task (small and large). We love our small town even more. We see life in a new light. We love harder and laugh more (a lot more). We see how blessed we are now more than ever.
Part of me wishes we could turn back time and this never happened, but at the same time, so much good and blessings have come from this, I’m grateful for the “experience”.
There’s a bible verse, John 13:7, “Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'” Looking back at our last year (even beyond that…) and all the trials we’ve faced, struggles we endured, and all the sacrifices we made, it hasn’t all been perfect, but I can clearly see God’s hand in it all, orchestrating every failure and milestone into a song of daily surrender and joy. I see us struggling financially, and Him whispering, “Just wait”. I see our daughter struggling with her asthma, and Him saying, “Not for long”. I see us fighting to find happiness in our home, again Him saying, “Soon”. I see God giving us everything we’ve ever prayed for and ten times more. He moved us to a place we’re my husband is finally happy in his job, a home we love and adore, a town we never imagined we could cherish so much, and a community that has since become our family.
These strokes flipped our world upside down, they forever changed our lives, but for the better. I’m praying our story, our experience, will help prevent more strokes in the future, but mostly, I am praying you’ll see that any situation can be made to make you crumble, but don’t let it. Take those situations and grow from it, be stronger, don’t let it win. If strokes can make us happier and closer to God, I promise there’s nothing you can’t do.