Post TIA - What can I expect?

I'm not sure that I am I in the right place as looking at some of the threads, so many of you have suffered way more than I have, but I am new here and need to know if what I am experiencing is normal. I would phone a helpline, but I have a tendency to just burst into tears at the moment, so maybe this is a better medium for me.

I suffered a TIA last Tuesday following a cerebral angiogram to check the integrity of the coils I have in my head following a Sub Arachnoid Haemorrhage in 2001. Just a normal procedure, but with a risk of stroke and although it wasn't a full on stroke like some, it was still a TIA.

I am a week on now and still have some aching in my left arm (worse at night and first thing in the morning) and mild tingling in my fingers. When I get up in the morning I am feel quite dizzy and still tired. I came away from hospital with Clopidogrel and Atorvastatin and am awaiting an appointment with the stroke clinic. My Neurosurgeon has phoned me three times to check on my progress since last Tuesday and he is happy that when the tablets finally start to take effect that I will be fine and have no further TIAs - but despite that, I think it is fair to say I'm scared.

Is this aching and tingling still normal after a week? I am also very emotional - is this common? I am also mildly depressed - is this common also? Also just so tired all the time. I am not sleeping particularly well as I need to get up a couple of times in the night for the loo and when I do fall asleep I have the most vivid dreams - could this be the tablets. I woke in the early hours with a start as the dream was so real I felt I was having a panic attack. Even when I woke I could not get it out of my head and it took me ages to drop off again, but this morning I can't remember what it was about. This morning my heart was racing and I felt a little dizzy, but that has passed now.

I have been told that I will have to wear a heart monitor for 5 days when I get my stroke clinic appointment and I'm OK with that. Anything to get to the bottom of this.

I have already made some changes to my diet to help myself along with the tablets, but is there anything else I should be doing? At the moment I am wary of going out in case I suddenly come over very tired and need to rest, but I'm aware that I need more exercise. Feel like I'm in a catch 22 situation at the moment.

Has anyone else had these "residual" symptoms after a TIA?

Thank you.
Jan

Hi Jan. Welcome to the forum. Most of us are stroke survivors, but the answer to all your questions is 'yes'. A stroke or TIA is a major trauma, so the emotions go awol. After my stroke, I experienced fear, anxiety and depression. These ease with time, but an underlying anxiety remains.

Physical effects vary, but that is the brain re-wiring itself. When I started being able to use my hand again, I got a temporary throbbing pain in my fingers that lasted several weeks. I also could not sleep for a long time without sleeping tablets. I did need the loo a lot, but that turned out to be a urine infection, I did have some weird dreams as well and these are now just odd, linked I think to anxiety.

The worst thing I had and still have, is post stroke fatigue. I still have to rest every afternoon. This is easier than it was, but I could do without it. I have also switched to a healthier diet and cut out most alcohol.

Do come onto the forum whenever you need help or advice. There are good people here. I wish you well.

Thank you John. Your reply has made me feel more at ease. It seems that some things take longer than others and as in your case the fatigue. I thought I'd had it all when I had the brain haemorrhage back in 2001, but this one was a bit of a shocker. It took me 4 months to heal after the SAH and even before the TIA, I was still suffering from fatigue, but it was manageable. Now this and I feel I am back to square one. My groin still aches from the cerebral angiogram procedure, my left arm aches and my left leg, although I can feel it properly now is definitely weaker. My vision is now clearer, although I am struggling with bright and flashing light. All in all though, I am still alive, but just frustrated and anxious that I may have another one.

I am also feeling the cold and get cramp in my feet.

I guess it just takes a bit longer to bounce back as you get older.

My godmum (who is now 87 bless her) said my god dad had a few TIAs but not a single one after he started taking the Clopidogrel although he did develop a tremor in his left hand when he was tired. So I think I might need to be more patient and just get plenty of rest. It's only been a week.

I rarely drink alcohol these days and I gave up smoking 2 years ago - I do still vape though, but am reducing the mg on the liquid next week from 12mg to 6mg. My afternoon snack is now a small bowl of shredded wheat instead of chocolate or biscuits and I'm trying to eat more fruit and veg.

It's just the lack of energy getting me down. I am still trying to work some up to go and have a shower but when I've done that I know I will have palpitations and will have to sit and rest for a while until my hands stop shaking. Early days though.

I wish you well too in your ongoing recovery.

Dear Jan
All the things you mention are common to us stroke survivors. The tears etc, bad dreams and so on.
Please try to get away from the depression. Let it get a hold and it will set you back months.
At a minimum try smiling four times a day. Amazing how that helps.
Be positive and think hard about what you can do rather than what you can not. Recovery is very slow, but if yours is a typical TIA then its usually a quicker recovery.

Keep up the progress on diet and do keep reducing the vaping.

Often we try to do too much (even though it feels we are doing very little). So take some quiet rests. Meditate. And thing of all the bits that are working.

Best wishes
Colin

Thanks Colin

I think I am just being impatient. I was the same after my brain haemorrhage, I just wanted to get back to the way I was, but that never happened. You never really are the same after a trauma such as that or a TIA.

I have managed a good laugh today when someone shared Bradley Walsh having a giggling meltdown in some episodes of The Chase and he always cracks me up.

Its evening time now and my arm is aching and fingers tingling and despite having a couple of hours sleep this afternoon, am feeling very tired again and can't stop yawning.

As you say, it takes time, but I am already seeing some progress, even if it is small.

On the bonus side, I had my blood test results back today from the doctors and they are "normal" with my cholesterol at 3.3 which is average. Everything else is mid range, but I will be having more bloods done when I attend the stroke clinic, probably next month. Just waiting for the appointment.

Jan

I'm back again and still experiencing fatigue, but I have accepted that this will take a while to go. Didn't really help that I was still experiencing fatigue after my brain haemorrhage 16 years ago, and now post TIA fatigue. I've hardly been out of the house since it happened earlier this month for fear of becoming ill while I was out, or feeling so desperately tired with nowhere to lie down, but today, I am going to try and get out, even if its just to the shops with my other half.

Getting up in the morning, sorting out the cat litter tray, putting down fresh food and water for her, making the bed and then making a cuppa and I'm exhausted. The house is a tip (which is getting me down), but I just can't find the energy at the moment.

I am also having problems remembering things, like did I take my tablet, but I've just ordered a pill box for my morning and evening tablets which should help.

I am making some progress daily, it's just the tiredness that doesn't seem to go away. My sleep pattern is all out of kilter too with all these "horizontal life pauses" (hate calling them naps), and I have tried to fight them a couple of times so I can sleep properly at night, but when I do go to bed, my left arm aches still and it takes a while to find a comfortable position. I also find myself checking and rechecking things to make sure they are right, like this post.

It's still only a couple of weeks since my TIA, and I know that I am perhaps expecting too much too soon, but it still scares me how much a life can change in just one short moment.

Dear Jan
I have observed that a stroke followed by a TIA does more harm than a TIA in isolation.
Apart from not having a cat, I could have written your last post.
I do my "regimeA" each morning, but the important bit is that I end it with a 20 minute rest. If I fail to do this the day is usually bad.

I use a "dosset box" and its great. One less thing for my poorly brain to have to work out.

My rests during the day are seated. I somehow find this less intrusive than lieing down. I do have quiet places to sit. But not unknown to be the chair by my bed. I limit activity to 30 minutes, then rest.

I make myself retire at 11.20pm. Over time this has improved my sleep pattern and now its general 7.5 hours. These times suit me, but all of us will have our own requirements. Last night , for no apparent reason, I slept well over 9 hours. I had a very lazy Sunday (we always take Sunday as a rest day) and had short sleeps in the day. But I will still retire at 11.20 tonight.
I use three pillows. Two traditional plus one at right angles. I can then put weight on one pillow and keep my arm on the other, with less weight. First thing every morning is an urgent check to see if my toes and fingers work. I guess i will not be getting over stroke anytime soon !

It seems that TIAs are usually faster to recover. But that's still a lot slower than we would wish. Possibly a month or two (?).Yes life changes in an instant. I went to bed a retired FCA with plenty of voluntary work, about to spend Christmas in London, decorating the hall and landing. I awoke paralysed and 21 months later haven't made the journey to London, let alone decorating, and am unable to do any of the voluntary work. I have persisted and can now make tea for some voluntary groups. And it takes all me ability to make tea.

We all like tea (or coffee) don't we, so I am part of society again.

Colin

Afternoon - fingers still tingly, and still very tired although I am trying to do a little more each day. I have my appointment to get my 5 day heart monitor - in November, and this morning my appointment arrived for the stroke clinic - in December. Does it normally take this long to get an appointment?

Unfortunately, cuts to the NHS now means long waiting lists. I had to wait ten months for two Stroke connected appointments. My fingers still tingle after 18 months. My post stroke is still with me too, but I live with it, have just napped and will take a short walk. I always carry my phone in case of emergencies and do not go far from the house.

I waited 10 months from my MRI to my cerebral angiogram, but having had the stroke later in the day after the CA and the amount of concern there was when I went back to the hospital, I feel like I am now in limbo with questions that need answering if only to put my mind at rest. I know the NHS is under a lot of stress with cuts and funding and I appreciate everything they do, but I worry that because I am still have these residual symptoms that something is still not quite right.

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