Roy's beep

Saturday, April 16, 2011

lot N

Near death; this I my daughter in-law story and why I pray.
In her own words

by Brooke Ami Durham on Monday, April 11, 2011 at 9:51pm
I just joined the Brain Aneurysm Survivors Group and this is what I wrote, it is my story.

I am a 31 year old mother of 5. At age 29, November of 2009, I had a severe migraine. I was in tremendous pain but the next day I was fine so I thought nothing of it. Well exactly 1 week later, the night before Thanksgiving I had another one, except this one was so severe that I called random people BEGGING them for the strongest pain killers they had. No one had any so I took a lortab; the pain kept intensifying so I took Ibuprofen, then Excedrin, then Tylenol... Thankfully all of that did not put me into an overdose! Anyhow, I could not stop puking, I could not bear the pain it was the most horrific pain I have ever experienced. My husband told me to go to sleep. Well I closed my eyes for a few minutes and I started puking again. It was so bad that I had no time to even flinch before it came out, but this time, I tried to get up and I was paralyzed on the entire right side of my body. I told him that I had to go to the ER and he knows that I avoid that for many reasons so if I say I need to go, then it means I am dying!

By this point I had all my clothes off because I was puking so much that there was no point in wearing any. So I had to drag my body from the bathroom floor to the hallway using only my left arm and foot. I laid down and my husband dressed me. It was not easy because I am not light and the right side of my body was dead weight. After that, he pulled the car up to the front door as I scooted down the stairs while ripping my pants on the door frame. But of course I could not feel that I was hurting myself. He was able to help lift the right side of my body into the car. We went to the ER and there, the doctor assumed it was a massive migraine and gave me migraine meds. They did not even touch the pain. The doctor said that some migraines can be so severe that they temporarily paralyze you. He was going to discharge me and began to walk out of the room. When he stopped, turned around and said, "You know, just to be safe, we should do a CT before you go."

 Moments later a nurse took me for a CT. She then wheeled me back to the room and was about to start and IV or remove one, I can't remember. But just then a swarm of Doctors and nurses came RUNNING into my room and told my Husband I was being admitted and that I had a massive bleed in my brain and that I had had a major stroke and that I would die within 24 hours. After I was admitted we were made aware that there was nothing they could do for me because the bleed was from a lesion at the tip of my brain stem and if they tried to operate, I would almost surely die. But thankfully the bleed slowed and eventually stopped on its own. At some point in the first 24 hours, I had a near death experience. It was a calm, relaxed feeling, it was warmth and I just felt that it was ok to let go, there were no thoughts, no worries, just peace. But I did not go. When I told my husband about this it scared him and then the fear turned to anger, anger at me because he didn't want me to feel like letting go. He was terrified.

I did not stop breathing as they thought I would. They kept me heavily medicated. The nurses that were not going to be there over the weekend, completely expected to come back to work on Monday to hear that I had died over the weekend. They came back on Monday and they were in awe that I was still alive. That week, I had my sister in law cut off almost all of my hair because I could not brush it or put it in a pony tail. This whole experience was also humiliating because I had to allow strangers to bathe me and to do other unmentionable things because I could not even do the simplest of things for myself.

But soon after, I began arguing with the doctors so that I could go home and hold my 3 month old baby. I wanted to be with my family and I was tired of the hospital and that was my focus. I did not care that I could not walk, see clearly, write, bathe myself or even use the toilet on my own. I just wanted to go home. Well my mother was not happy with this so she did indeed step in! Any how I was eventually put into the rehab wing where I began to relearn how to walk and relearn my coordination. I went from a fully functional young woman to a paralyzed cripple in a blink of an eye, imagine that. Well I eventually relearned all of this and even though I could not walk on my own, they finally let me go home. I am very persistent by the way. But they did require me to have a home health care provider.
I came home and it was very hard. I finally got to hold my baby again. I had to lay my arm on the couch and have people lay her in my arms and support her a bit, but I did it.

As of today, the lesion is still there and I am still at a very high risk for a reoccurrence and I am terrified every day of my life. But here’s the good news, I am walking, talking, breathing, writing, using the bathroom on my own, holding my baby, driving and all that good stuff. On the downside, I am very weak, the right side of my body always tingles, I have new major life altering phobias, I have memory loss, today I looked at my oldest daughter and I did not recognize her, scary... But I suffered severe emotional damage in that portion of my brain and I have bad headaches, scary headaches frequently. It is definitely not a fun way to live and it is very challenging, but I am alive and even though I cannot live my life completely the way I want, I am alive and I can do these things and for that I am grateful, but some days I wish it would have just taken me, because I have days where I just don't understand my purpose or why I lived because I feel like a useless person who is always sad and angry and I am too weak and sick to do anything. I am an emotional roller coaster and it is very hard every day to even open my eyes and face the world.  People tell me all the time to take aspirin to prevent another stroke, but aspirin will kill me. I can't go on amusement park rides, I can't risk hitting my head, I should avoid ibuprofen, I can't even have a beer once in a while. It sucks, some days I go thirsty all day because I am too weak to even go get myself a glass of water. I am thankful for my life but hurting just the same.
 Thank you God and god bless all of you


Debbie said...

I grew up watching my mom have "many" strokes. She would go a couple years be fine, then I'd come home from school and she was back at the hospital, I remember watching her learn to read, write and do simple math, stuff that I had already learned. It's scary, its hard for everyone. But you are alive and it was gods will... You serve a better purpose here then up there among the angels... Touching story, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!! Thanks for sharing with us!!

Roy Durham said...

she is almost back to a normal son could have never found a better mate. she is his soul mate.

Anna L. Walls said...

My mom had an aneurysm too but it was behind her heart. Medically lowering her blood-pressure preserved her life for many more years, but it did finally kill her. There will always be a hole in my life once occupied by her vitality.

My advice to your daughter, Roy, is to tell her to write a blog about it. Surely there are others out there with similar problems, plus it would be therapeutic for her. Much of her frustration is being unable to talk about it to anyone who might really understand the deep pain. In a blog, she would be venting her frustrations, getting them off her chest. At first, it will see as if she is venting to the wind, but even that is good.

Bronzi said...

Roy tell Brook she is in my thoughts and prayers. I had a cousin who had a stroke and he was left paralyze on his left side of his body. He recovered and was able to drive his car and do a lot of things. Brook has to recover and it takes some time. She will get better with determination.

I agree with Anne. Brook needs to start her own blog. Other people who have been in her shoes would be able to give her the courage to go on and advice on how to live again. Very touching story. My heart is with you and your family.

Bish Denham said...

God bless your daughter. She is strong and I agree with Anna, that she should write a blog about her experiences. In reading her story I learned what to be aware of in regards to a brain aneurysm. Who knows...I suppose it could happen to me, to anyone. In which case, she may have saved at least one life.

Brooke Durham said...

Thank you all for your concern and kind comments. As far as writing a blog goes, I wrote this to let everyone who I had not told, know what happened. It is very scary and difficult to think about it and I think about it every minute of every day. But talking about it would put me in tears and I hate crying and I think it would hurt me more than help at this point, maybe one day I will be ready to talk. Just not now. I joined the group to mainly read others stories and relate in my own mind, but that is all. Thank you again so much, to all of you.

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