notes on strokes

face the fear

July 12, 2016

a few weeks ago, on a Sunday morning as I was lying in bed, I rolled my eyes around looking for the dogs and my  eyes got stuck looking up  and they would not come down, suddenly my left arm and leg, which were paralyzed  in my stroke 3 years earlier began flailing around and a primitive cry came out of my mouth.  I could not stop the flailing or the screaming.  Was I having another Stroke?  I didn’t know.   but the medical personnel in the ambulance called it a focal seizure meaning that it was localized to one part of my brain.  I was rushed to the hospital and was happy to learn that I did not have another stroke or any new bleeding in my brain.  But I had had a seizure. A couple of weeks later I asked my neurologist about the event and he said the scar tissue in left in my brain by the stroke made me  susceptible to seizures.

Why has no one ever mentioned this? I asked.

 We didn’t want to scare you, he replied.

 I quickly decided that the seizure was caused by rolling my eyes around instead of turning my head, so if I didn’t move my eyes I wouldn’t have another seizure.  This was the same logic that told me since I had my first two strokes after getting up to go to the bathroom , that never going to the bathroom again would prevent any future strokes.  That strategy worked for about a day but obviously I couldn’t stop my natural bodily processes even if  my fear that  going to the bathroom would cause another stroke. 

Likewise I can’t stop moving my eyes when I look around just because I worry that might cause a seizure. While I think my fears are real (strokes and seizures are scary) I have to live my life as normally as I can without doing obviously foolish or dangerous things.   life is filled with dangers expected and unexpected but that can’t be a reason for me to stay in bed and under the covers for the rest of my life


 Even though Fear is a legitimate emotion, we can’t let it be the ruling force in our lives.  So accept your realistic fears, act on them, face them, then get on with your life, I promise I will.  In fact, on August 15th I will be taking my show A Piece Of My Mind on the road to Idyllwild CA.  Come to the mountains and see us.