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TIA at 19

Updated on June 27, 2012

The Start of a Beautiful Day

So the young girl, though not feeling so well, prepares to go to work. She was only 19 years old and this was her second real job. This day was a good day, there was some prediction of it being a rainy day but a good day all the same. As she goes out the door she remembers she forgot something; she whispers my umbrella to herself and turns around to go get it. All set now she leaves the Chelsea apartment that she lives in, with her mom and sister and makes her way to the 8Th avenue A,C and E subway line.

When she gets downstairs she realizes that the train is coming. Eagerly she runs the rest of the way down the stairs and as she reaches the turnstile she drops the umbrella that she is holding in her left hand. She picks it up takes a few more steps and drops it again; she thinks huh, that's strange maybe its because I'm rushing. The young girl makes it the rest of the way in and sprints down the stairs and makes her train.

On the train she begins to have a strange sensation, almost whispers inside her head. A few seconds later the left side of her face begins to feel numb and her tongue begins to tingle. The young girl begins to panic and pray that her legs are working, so she gets up and makes it the door windows. When she looks at herself in the windows, she can see that her worse fears have been realized. The left side of her face is not moving and is dropping a bit. All she thought was, Lord just help me get to my office. (The office building was only a few paces from the subway stop)

When she finally makes it upstairs to her office her boss, true to form, asks how she's doing unable to answer back and or speak the young girl begins to cry her tongue had become so numb that even the act of speaking had become almost impossible; now she was really scared.

Knowing of her illness the young girl's boss jumps up out of her chair at makes it over to her. Her boss calls the young girl's family for directions as to what to do. While on the phone the young girls tongue begin to get back the sensation in it and she was able to tell her sister exactly what was happening. The young girl call's her nurse and the nurse instructs her to make her way down to the hospital immediately and thats what she does.

After 15 minutes or so all symptoms had disappeared and the young girl had no residual affects. She had whats called a TIA as a result of a clotting complication of her Lupus.

Transient Ischemic Attack

The young girl had a TIA, Transient Ischemic Attack. This is a type of mini-stroke where the symptoms generally resolve within 24 hours in most cases (and in mine) the symptoms were over in 15 minutes from start to finish. I am more prone to strokes because I have what's referred to as the Lupus Anticoagulant Factors, where my blood easily clots because of the hemoglobin binding to certain proteins and or phospholipids; which we found out during this event. Not everyone that has SLE has this type of complication but it is true for me.

As we all know the brain is the driver of the whole body. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the left side. Then we have the Broca's (which is on the left) that controls language and the occipital lobes in the back of the brain controls vision. Strokes occur when there is an interruption of blood flow to any part of the brain, and when that happens those correlating parts of the body stop working. In a Transient Attack, transient suggesting that it is NOT lasting, the same thing happens as in the case of a normal attack, the only difference is that there is NO signs of brain death or trauma after the event or residual damage after the event.

Upon admission whole bunch of test were ordered by my team for me: MRIs, MRAs, CT Scans with contrasts, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), etc. Everything had resolved itself. The good news was that I didn't have any residual damage and that we found out that I did have this Anticoagulant factor. Knowing this information was very important because we would now be able to avoid a very serious event (stroke) where the effects could be permanent and devastating to me and my family.

To find out if you do have the Lupus Anticoagulant simply ask your Rheumatologist to do a PTT or Partial Thromboplastin Time. If you have Lupus, and have had numerous miscarriages in the past, this can be one of the reasons as well.

Today, Mother's Day Weekend to be Exact.

I had another mini-stroke, this year, almost 13 years after my first one. It happened exactly a week after they stopped a blood thinner I was on because of another complication that recently came up. Again I am blessed to have no residual damage, but I was a bit nervous. The symptoms were pretty much the same and so I went straight to the ER at NYU Hospital. Though I have to remain off of the coumadin (blood thinner) my Hematologist prescribed a medium aspirin to be taken EVERY day. This should keep my blood thin enough to avoid any more events like those. As a matter of fact, when I had the first TIA I was put on Aspirin therapy and was on that for a long time. The only thing that saved me here was that I know the changes in my body and didn't wait around and or second guess myself

So as I always say be actively, proactive about your care and you will always come out a winner.

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