When I had my stroke, it was an eye-opener for me. Not just the fact that I was 31 years old and had a stroke, but the fact, that yes, I’m not immortal. I mean we all know we’re going to die someday, but when you’re young, you just never think about it.
At least, I didn’t anyway … until my stroke. I realized how short life really is. Even though, now, life has returned to normal for me, I still get an eye-opener from time to time.
This week was one of those moments. A disc jockey with a local country music radio station died. It caused me to reflect back on my stroke and my own mortality. The D.J. was Dave McLain. While I didn’t know him well, many of my co-workers did. He had just written a book, “One in a Million.” It was about his near fatal brain hemorrhage 10 years ago and how he bounced back and survived. But this week he had a brain aneurysm that took his life.
An aneurysm is a permanent ballooning in the wall of an artery. The pressure of blood passing through can force part of a weakened artery to bulge outward, forming a thin-skinned blister.
I realized Dave and I had a lot in common. Both of us had near fatal experiences, survived and even bounced back to normal. In fact, our separate conditions could even be connected. In fact, the gravest threat an aneurysm poses is that it will burst and cause a stroke or life-threatening hemorrhage. But even if it doesn’t rupture, a large aneurysm can hinder circulation and even cause unwanted blood-clot formation.
My stroke was caused by a blood clot, or cerebral infarction. This means the clot blocked the blood flow to the brain. That’s the first basic type of stroke. The other is a cerebral hemorrhage, which occurs when there is bleeding into the brain.
A cerebral hemorrhage usually occurs as a result of weak arteries or aneurysms in the brain that rupture. In most cases, high blood pressure is the cause of weak arteries.
The only way to get rid of an aneurysm is to have it surgically removed, often a risky procedure. Sometimes surgery isn’t the best cure, though, because it may be more dangerous that the aneurysm itself. Careful monitoring and drug therapy may be the best treatment, but of course, a doctor would know best.
What’s scary is that most aneurysms have no symptoms. However, in some cases, people have had these symptoms: a severe, pulsing type of pain; hoarseness; persistent coughing; and a severe headache or bad migraine.
When I survived my stroke, it made me feel invincible. I felt like this was as bad as it gets and I made it through it. So what now? For Dave, he beat it once, but not twice. His aneurysm got him in the end. But he left behind his book and hopefully some inspiration for others. He also got 10 more years with his family. I often wonder if I’ll have another stroke and if so, would I be so lucky to survive again? It’s the big unknown. So, I guess I will continue to live each day and enjoy life for as long as I’m given.
I dedicate this blog to Dave McLain and others who have past on, but will always remain in our hearts as courageous and true survivors in life.
Published On: September 07, 2006