Vertebral Artery Dissection

Subscribe to vertebralarterydissectionUpdates about awareness, news, research, and treatment information about vertebral artery dissections and strokes.
Vertebral Artery Dissection Press

Personal VAD & Stroke Stories - Page 15

These are just some of the personal stories people have sent to me since April 2008.  There are many more but problems with email accounts mean I don't have emails previous to that.

Please share your personal story on the site.

Go to Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

The stories are in no particular order and I have purposely not included names or personal information.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M27

My wife has been diagnosed with left VAD. It all began in October 2013 about a month after giving birth to our 2nd son. She had been complaining about migraines and had been hospitalized for syncope episodes. One day while riding in the car she told me that her eye would not close while blinking. Next I noticed her speech slowing and her right eye began to look droopy.

I took her to the ER and they sent us back home saying it was bels palsy. The next day I got a phone call while at work saying that she was back in the ER and now her right leg and arm were not working. Her speech and ability to see out her right eye were next to go. Doctors were saying she had a stroke.

They ran several test and MRI but couldn't find the cause so she was transported to the medical center downtown for further/better testing. The so called specialist said that she had asymptomatic left vertebral artery dissections and that she should not be having these symptoms because there was no loss of blood flow.

They put her on anticoagulants, a steroid called prednisone and narco for her intense pain. She went to a rehab facility to learn to speak ,walk, & have normal daily functions. She did really good. However she would have instances where her right side would stop working completely.

Today, she is doing much better however we still have so many unresolved questions and issues. She has seen so many different neurologists and vascular specialist and no one can give us a definitive answer on her re-occurring symptoms.

On a daily basis she complains about severe neck pain on her left side and her head hurts so bad that she often loses her memory and all cognitive abilities. She forgets her name as well as our children and almost reverts to a child like state when speaking. She is even afraid of me her husband during these episodes and she only remembers me when she smells me or an article of my clothing. Smells trigger her memory. These episodes persist as long as she is in pain. Therefore the only treatment that works for her is pain meds. Without pain meds she loses function on her right side completely and the longer she loses the function the longer it takes to come back. Once she takes her pain meds she can walk and talk like normal. She hated the pain meds and refuses to take them at times which leaves her in a wheelchair and without any memory at all until she takes her meds.

We have exhausted all resources. She has home healthcare but I fear that something is being overlooked. Doctors don't really know what to tell us anymore. She goes in every 6 months to get angiogram with contrast to check her status of the dissections.

Anyone with any useful info please email me  as you can imagine balancing 3 small children (8,3 and 1) and a wife in this situation is slowly becoming over bearing. All I want is for her to be healthy again the doctors are no help anymore and we are slowly losing hope.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M59

In April 2013 my G.P. referred me to a stroke specialist at my local hospital. I had been suffering with neck pain and experiencing dizzy spells. The specialist who saw me said that I was suffering from acute sinusitis, otherwise all ok.

Two weeks later whilst chatting with my wife, I experienced what I would describe the feeling of a 'pop', like a balloon bursting in my head. I was in bed for 2 days. I had no appetite and I was sick every time I drank even the smallest amount of water. Stupidly, I refused to allow my wife to call the doctor, as I felt I had been told " there was nothing to worry about". On the 3rd day I collapsed. My wife rang 999 and an ambulance arrived, and thankfully !!, I was taken to a different hospital than the one I had previously attended.

When I regained consciousness, I could not walk, and had pins and needles on the right hand side of my face. I was informed I had experienced a stroke, probably 2 days earlier. I have managed to walk again, and the numbness in my face has eased. I do still have severe balance issues at times, I suffer with terrible fatigue, and bouts of dizziness. What annoyed me most was I was informed by my specialist whilst in hospital, that I had a congenital defect which indicated one vertebral artery was absent, and another extremely narrow. I was actually informed I may actually die in the next few days.

Very luckily I survived. But why didn't the stroke specialist at the first hospital see this. I enquired and his response was his examination followed national guidelines. My advice to others, is don't be put off. Has anybody else had a similar experience?

VAD, Spontaneous, M64

I am a Chinese male age 64 and did not suffer a stroke.

In July 2014 I came home and fell to the floor. I was checked out for vertigo and also a mini stroke and did not have either one. After an MRI and CTA I found out I had a left vertebral dissection, an internal tear in an inoperable spot in the backside of my head. I did not have a head injury however I had a very stressful job often working 70 hours a week.

I have had follow up CTAs and so far the diagnosis has been the tear has not increased in size. I have lost weight, improved diet and take a daily baby aspirin and a statin to also manage cholesterol.

I am dizzy every day with good and bad days. On the bad days the dizziness is elevated I feel fuzzyheaded and very fatigued. I find bending over or robust exercising significantly elevated my dizziness. As does working on my laptop.

Going in for 3rd CTA soon.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F40

At 40 years old while on vacation, with out any warnings or previous signs, I all of the sudden felt very dizzy and my arms began to tingle. I collapsed and began to vomit. I was quickly rushed to the emergency room where they initially thought that I had food poisoning. After further observation they decided to do a CT scan that showed nothing. The next morning after I continued to get worse they did an MRI and MRA which showed the VAD and stroke. I have no other medical issues that would contribute to a stroke or VAD so my case quite interesting to the doctors.

My left side was affected. I had double vision and was not able to sit up or walk due to the continued dizziness I experienced. The left side of my face is numb although the muscles work well and from the outside it is not clear that my face is numb. It has been almost 10 weeks since my stroke and I am happy to report that I have recovered very well through my physical therapy (I started PT only 2 weeks after my stroke with things as simple as sitting up and then standing - early PT was key in my recovery time) at home and at the PT gym. Water aerobics was also a huge contributor to my recovery (you may be off balance but in the water it does not feel that way and you can work both sides of your body without the worry of falling). I do not have the energy I had before the stroke yet, but it is getting better every day. I still have some numbness in my face but at this point that is all that is left.

I am on blood thinners until the artery heals and hopefully that will not be to long.

VAD, Spontaneous (chiropractor), F34

Hello, I suffered my right side VAD on January 29th, 2015. I went to the chiropractor for the first time ever for an adjustment. I woke up the following morning with a headache that worsened as the day went on. Followed by a stiff sore neck that would not go away, advil and Tylenol did not seem to help. After the weekend I went back to the chiropractor for information and he assured me that this was normal for your first adjustment so I trusted him. A couple more days go by and my pain and headaches are not getting any better, back to the chiropractor I went where he once again assured me there was no way I could be at any risk of having a stroke or anything else.

I had started researching online at this point and saw all of the stories about people having strokes after seeing the chiropractor. I was getting a little worried but I also tend to worry a lot so I was trying to stay calm. He wanted to do another adjustment but I refused, thankfully. On February 6th, 2015 I went to Urgent care where they did a CT scan, finding my right side VAD. He said if I hadn't told him my pinky fingers were numb than he probably wouldn't have done the CT scan since this isn't a common thing. I was then rushed to University hospital and put on baby aspirin immediately. I stayed the night in the neurology unit and was given little information. Hearing you may have a stroke at 34 is a pretty terrifying event to go through.

I am thankful to this day that I have been lucky enough to not have had a stroke at this point but I'm still suffering with a lot of neck pain and headaches. A burning sensation that runs down my neck and sometimes into my jaw. It's been stressful and depressing trying to deal with all with so little information from the doctors. I can only hope that this gradually just keeps better and that one day I will be my old active self again. I think I try to push myself too hard the minute it feels better and than I'm back to square one all over again. Not being active has been very difficult. I am also in the process of trying to find a new job which makes this all a little more stressful. Your stories have made me feel a bit better. Wishing you all a speedy recovery and a life full of happiness and love.

VAD, Spontaneous, F54

I was participating in a bootcamp class in April and came out of a squat holding 2 heavy weights when I developed a sudden severe head and neck ache. It subsided fairly quickly and I just shook it off, but after 3 days of having a slight headache, I decided to get a neck and shoulder massage. This led to a worse headache, but I thought my family history of high blood pressure was responsible. I went to my doctor who thankfully did not think my BP was solely to blame and sent me to the ER for a cat scan where they detected my VAD. I was admitted to hospital, monitored for stroke, had MRI and put on heparin for 4 days and then discharged with BP meds and 81mg aspirin. I was also extremely lucky not to have a stroke, but like the January 2015 VAD patient, I still experience head and neck aches as well as the burning sensation. When or will this every go away? I have a follow up appointment with my neurologist in 2.5 weeks and have not had a cat scan or MRI subsequent to my hospital stay. Wishing good health to all.

VAD, Bi-Lateral, Spontaneous, F32

I was diagnosed with a left VAD on April 27, 2015. Ten days before, I woke up with a horrible headache, vomiting, and extremely dizzy. I was on a cruise with my husband, celebrating our ten year anniversary, and we had been up very late drinking with new friends the night before. The ship had also been rockier than normal the night before, so I naturally thought that I was just hung over and/or had sea sickness. I did feel much sicker than when I have been hung over in the past, and I have been on cruises before and never gotten very sea sick. However, even though it was different than normal, the symptoms did seem to have a logical cause. I took Excedrine Migraine and Dramamine and they both seemed to help a little, for short periods of time. This went on for the rest of the cruise. Luckily, we only had 2.5 more days when this began.

After we got home, the dizziness remained. I had never experienced anything like it. I also continued to have frequent headaches. This went on for a week, during which time I began to have severe pain in the left side of my neck which spread to my shoulder (wrapping from shoulder blade to collar bone), jaw, and some of my left arm. The night before the pain started, I noticed all day that I was having trouble coming up with words, and at dinner I said some really weird things that didn’t make sense. I just thought I was tired from the trip and going right back to work. That night I kind of lost consciousness on the couch and slept there all night. My husband was trying to get me to go to bed, but I couldn’t stay conscious long enough to do anything. I also started having weird symptoms in my right eye. It started with an episode of floaters and loss of peripheral vision which lasted for about a 1.5 days and then changed into a kind of difference in bright ness within my right eye - very hard to describe. This episode happened when I was in the ER with my baby, and the eye doctor thought it might had been either from a migraine or the stress of being in the ER.

On April 27, the pain was so bad that I did not want to go to work until I saw someone about the pain. Since I thought the pain was muscular (maybe from sleeping on the couch that night), I went to see my chiropractor. He heard all of my symptoms and said that he needed to examine me before he did any adjustments. He took my blood pressure, listened to my arteries, and had my lie down with my head slightly lower than my body and then gently turn my head to the right and then the left. When I did this, the eye symptoms came back full force. He advised that I go to the ER. In the ER, they thought it was probably some kind of migraine, but still did a CT with and without contrast. They gave me a cocktail for migraine while we waited on the results. After a while, the doctor came, gave me the diagnosis (left VAD), Plavix and aspirin, and told me to lie back, stay very still and wait for the ambulance that would take me to a different hospital with a neuro unit. I was in the hospital for 2.5 days. By the time I left, the dizziness had gone away, I was still in a lot of pain but had pain medication, and they had not seen signs of a stroke (all my neuro assessments were good). I was home for 2.5 days and then had to go back to the hospital because the tingling and heaviness feeling had now spread down my left leg to my toes, the dizziness and eye symptoms returned, and on the way to the hospital the right side of my neck began to hurt, just as it had on the left side. The hospital did a CT and CT angiogram, and a MRI. MRI showed that I had not had a stroke, but the CT scans showed that I still had significant narrowing of the left VA, and possibly a right VAD. The radiologist did not think it was another VAD, but the neurologist did. He called it a delayed secondary dissection, caused by the same trauma as the first, just happened later. I was on a Heparin drip in the hospital and changed to Lovenox shots and Coumadin at home. I was in the hospital another 2.5 days and haven’t had to go back since. We will don’t know what caused it, but they feel like it was some kind of trauma. They really wanted to blame the chiropractor, but I hadn’t actually been adjusted in more than two months, so they eventually didn’t think it was him. I have cracked my neck my whole life, and now they think that might have caused it.

Now, 7 weeks since the original diagnosis, I continue to have tingling on the left side from my face all the way down to my toes. I started PT 2 weeks ago, and I do feel like it’s helping. I also feel much stronger than I did in the beginning. I have some weakness in my left hand that is frustrating, but I feel confident that it will get better. I guess I’m mostly just frustrated now because I honestly thought that since I didn’t have a stroke that I would get better almost immediately. What I’m going through physically is not so bad, especially considering what could have been, but it’s been challenging mentally. Balancing moving enough that I’m progressing and not getting stiff, and not moving too much so that I’m overdoing it is hard. Not being able to do some of the things I used to do right now is tough. I have a 7 year old and an 18 month old. The baby doesn’t understand why I can’t pick her up. Reading a l ot of the stories on here and elsewhere have helped me to feel more normal though, knowing that others have had lingering symptoms even though they didn’t have a stroke.

VAD, Stroke, Sponatneous, F44

I'm a 44yo RN. In August 2013 I had 2 weeks of bilateral neck pain. At the time I was 42yo. Felt like I slept wrong and had a kink in my neck. No relief with ibuprofen and excedrin. I was at a work dinner with a room full of MD's and RN's and left to go to the restroom where I was vomiting for 1 hr and felt like I was going to pass out. Had my coworkers drive me home. Felt better. Woke up at 0300 and couldn't walk straight. Had numbness in right portion of my face. Went to ER where it was determined I had bilateral vertebral dissections and a stroke. History of HTN but well controlled and BCP. Admitted for 20 days. Placed on ASA 325mg only initially. After a week in hospital, I had another feeling like I was going to pass out. Repeat MRI and MRA showed I also dissected my right carotid artery and had another stroke. I believe these were in the cerebellum & medulla. Then placed on Plavix. Rest of stay u nremarkable. Unable to determine cause. Thinking was I had some type of virus previously that affected the arteries. I was on Plavix until April 2014 and then continued my ASA 325mg Since then I have had intermittent feelings where I would describe as vertigo or an aura. Subsequent MRI/MRA's have showed almost total healing of all vessels. Only residual was a small defect in Right vertebral but normal blood flow. All in all recovered well and felt I was on road to recovery, until recently.

In May 2015 I had another stroke. I'm lucky that the symptoms which were numbness to right 4th and 5th fingers and clumsiness of that hand and right leg only lasted about 1 1/2 hrs. Definite stroke on MRI though. The problem is that this recent stroke is not related to those vessels at all. And it's left all my doctors at a loss to why this has happened. Currently on Asa 162mg and Plavix now. I live in San Diego and have been very happy with my care with my doc tors. They have even had me get other consults and was presented for a whole neuro group at one local facility. Just wondering if I need to venture out of San Diego and see the best there is for stroke care and who people would recommend. Thank you!

VAD, Spontaneous, F30

I am a healthy 30 y/o female with no significant medical history other than a provoked DVT in 2011 due to being on an airplane for an extended amount of time while taking oral birth control. On a Saturday night I developed a sudden, unusual pain in the left side of my neck. I have had issues with muscle spasms in the left side of my neck previously but due to the sudden onset, the "different" type of pain I was experiencing and my DVT history I contacted my "ask a nurse" feature provided by my health insurance. The nurse I spoke with consulted an on-call ER doctor who relayed that due to my age it probably wasn't anything serious, but if I was concerned I could go to the ER to have it checked out. I was encouraged to try warm compresses and ibuprofen to see if that made a difference regarding the neck pain. I took 400mg of ibuprofen and about 45mins later the pain started to subside, making me feel more comfortable tha t this was a musculoskeletal issue and nothing more.

The following Monday evening I was at our neighbors when I suddenly developed an aura in my right eye. I couldn't see peripherally out of my right eye and I would describe the aura as being a white, crystalline static that I couldn't see through. This persisted for approximately 45mins-1 hour and I didn't have an associated headache. I rarely get headaches or migraines and I've had this happen before, so again I wasn't too concerned. Suddenly after the aura disappeared I was talking with friends when I noticed that when I was speaking the wrong words were coming out and I started stuttering and slurring. I turned to my husband and tried to explain what was going on but it was hard to get the right words out. He confirmed that I was hard to understand and having problems talking; we immediately headed to the nearest ER.

Upon arrival in the ER I wasn't having too many active symptoms other than some discomfort in the left side of my neck. The aura had disappeared and my vision returned, and I wasn't having any issues talking. It didn't seem like the staff was too worried about my chief complaints, and after about 15 mins waiting in the room the doctor and a nurse finally came in. I described what had been happening that night, as well as the onset of the pain in my neck from a few nights ago. The doctor said that he wouldn't describe me as having speech issues at the time; he even said I was articulate. The doctor stated that he believed I was describing some sort of text-book migraine symptoms, and if I were to WebMD it or go to the Mayo Clinic's website that's what it would say as well, but he was a little thrown off by the neck pain & recommended a CT as long as I was there to check the vasculature in my neck & make sure there wasn't anything more serious going on. I would estimate that in the next 30-45 mins I had the CT scan completed and the doctor returned to the room in a hurry to report that an artery in my neck had dissected, and that I needed to be started on heparin immediately and admitted to the hospital. A flurry of activity ensued in my room with 3 additional nurses trying to start more IV's and hooking me up to cardiac monitors and a heparin drip.

I was transported to a different hospital about an hour and a half after the initial diagnosis via ambulance for insurance purposes. I had received more information that specifically it was my left vertebral artery that had dissected, but I was in the dark about what that meant: was I going to die? Need surgery? What did this mean? I was admitted to the hospital at about midnight Tuesday initially to the Med/Tele floor-apparently there was a handful of admits at the same time and they were trying to find rooms for us all. It was frustrating because it took hours for me to be cleared to eat or drink anything, have pain and anxiety medications and get more information about what was happening. I was placed in a room with another person, so my husband was unable to stay with me for the night. I had an MRI at about 3am and I barely got any sleep.

Later in the morning doctors and nurses from the Neuro floor were coming down to see me and evaluate me. As soon as the Neuro doctor spoke to me about what happened he put the order in for me to be transferred to the Neuro floor. The only symptom that was persisting was the pain in the left side of my neck. A physical therapist stopped by, but when she saw me standing and walking around she determined that I didn't need PT and never came back. An occupational therapist stopped by and briefly put me through some exercises but she also determined that I didn't need her interventions either. Exhausted from the lack of sleep, lacking pain & anxiety medication that I had asked for repeatedly and the onslaught of what seemed like the same question a million times I was transferred to the Neuro unit.

Upon arrival in the Neuro unit (which I walked up to) I was greeted by the nursing staff who immediately addressed my pain and anxiety issues, for which I was grateful. I was evaluated every so often for my neurological status, which included holding my arms out in front of me with my eyes closed, following moving fingers with my eyes, counting the numbers of fingers held up in my peripheral vision and holding my legs up one at a time for about 5 seconds each. Doctors, NP's, and nurses were in and out throughout the day. I was updated that the MRI ruled out me having an actual stroke, but there was a delay in getting more info about the CT because they were still trying to upload the images for the CT since it came from an outside hospital. Speech therapy cleared me as well and I had an ultrasound to check out my heart and the surrounding vasculature to make sure a clot didn't originate from that area. My pain and anxiety was under control and I was able to get some good sleep that night.

Wednesday morning came with good news: MRI showed no stroke, cardiac ultrasound looked perfect, blood work was on-point and per the CT they were confident that the dissection would heal on its own and no anticoagulation therapy would be needed in the long-term. My final diagnosis: mini stroke/ TIA due to left VAD. The only instruction was that I would need to take a 325mg aspirin everyday while the VAD healed and I would have a follow-up CT in 3 months to check on the progress. I was immediately cleared for work with the only stipulation being that I couldn't lift more than 10lbs. I was discharged in the early afternoon and I went home, which was a full day earlier than my anticipated release date. Total time in medical care was from about 730pm Monday night to about noon on Wednesday.

As I write this it has been almost 4 days since I was discharged and the pain in my neck is improving everyday. I no longer require percocet or flexeril to control the pain; I actually haven't taken these meds since I was discharged. The only medication that I am taking is the 325mg aspirin.

One of my biggest take-aways from this experience is to trust your gut. You know your body better than anyone else, and when something doesn't feel right that makes you concerned, you should be your biggest advocate and get things checked out. I am hoping that my experience will bring comfort to others who share a similar story and awareness to VAD in young individuals.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M27

My stroke, albeit minor, occurred just over 2 weeks ago. I woke up one day with what felt like typical muscle soreness on the left, rear side of my neck. I didn't think much of it, and I didn't take anything for it. A few days later, it felt worse, and I had trouble turning or cracking my neck to that side. This went on for about a month with the pain improving, then getting worse. I tried pillows, different sleeping positions, so on. At one point I thought about seeing a chiropractor I had previously seen for a quick hip adjustment that worked wonders. Anyways, I pressed on.

One day I woke up with the same neck pain and a pounding headache. For the headache, I took Excedrin, which is a small miracle that I did. I pressed on with my usual routine, and I did about 45 minutes of cardio without issue (HIIT, Insanity based cardio). Afterwards, while I was stretching, I thought I'd crack my neck and stretch it out a bit. That's where my memory of the incident gets hazy. According to my roommates, I ran to the sink and vomited, then went to the back yard and laid down. I vaguely remember lying down, but I recalled it only being for a few minutes. Apparently, this lasted about half an hour or so. Then, I hobbled into the living room and laid down, trying to sleep. I remember having difficulty walking and complained of numbness down my left side, particularly in my arm/hand and my leg. My friends later told me that my speech wasn't slurred, but my cadence was noticeably slower. After an hour or so of lying around, they got me up and forced me into the car. I vomited once more while in the car, but by the time we reached the ER, I had mostly recovered. I still had difficulty moving my leg normally, and required help getting around.

Amazingly, the ER didn't seem too worried about my symptoms, but I was given a bed and an IV of saline. Well, a few hours go by and I was wheeled away for an MRI. Initially, the MRI didn't appear to show anything, so I was diagnosed with a so-called pinched nerve and sent home. Once home, I received a call from the ER to come back, and was told a neurologist had seen the MRI and said I had signs of a potential stroke. At that point, I had largely recovered, minus some leg stiffness and odd tingling/weakness in my left arm. Back at the hospital, I was given a CT scan, which showed my left vertebral artery was slightly smaller than the right, and was told this is common. I was kept overnight for observation and given aspirin as well. In the morning I met multiple doctors and was told I suffered a minor stroke caused by a minor vertebral dissection. They claimed the blood flow had returned to normal and the dissection appeared to have healed quickly. They ran some protocols on me to check for brain damage, and the tingling had begun to dissipate. My accuracy in using my left hand appeared off by ever so much, but they weren't concerned for being less than 24 hours post-stroke. I was discharged and told to follow up with my PCP and given an aspirin regimen of one tablet per day.

Having done my own research now, I feel so blessed to have recovered so quickly. I returned to work after 2 days, and quickly resumed my normal routines. I've become more mindful about my neck, and have taken it easy. I truly feel for others that have had similar occurrences with far greater damage. It's certainly been a wake-up call for myself and others to be more mindful of such things, and to avoid so much strain on the neck. My leg has fully recovered, but I can still sense some weakness in my left hand.

Overall though, so grateful to be able to do everything as before without issue. I just want people to be aware that this can happen at any age, to even the healthiest of individuals. I'm a fitness nut, I eat clean, and I stay active. If anything, I may have just been overzealous in my neck stretches and trying to "crack" my neck at times. My PCP believes that my neck pain was indicative of damage I had somehow caused to my artery, and my continued tampering likely led to the dissection.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous (chiropractic manipulation), F47

I am not ready to write about it ...

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous (fell on ice), M43

Four weeks ago, Nov 12/2015 I suffered a stroke as a result of a VAD. I went into a local business and sat down. I had forgotten some personal info in my truck, so I ran out and back to grab it. When I re-sat I began to see stars. I told the lady I would need some time, but the spinning and black out continued to proceed. After I woke back up, my left arm was immobil and my lower right side of my head hurt so bad, I could barely move or speak. I immediately began to pour sweat and was soaked. She asked me three times if she could call my wife!! I asked her to call 911 and the medics arrived. I knew something wasn't right. After a short ride, a spinal tap and a CT, the three doctors where uncertain and sent me home 4 hours later on Morphine. All tests where normal and with a resting HR at 40bpm, I'm pretty fit.

I stayed in bed for 18 hours which felt like three to me. The Dr. called the following day and ask how I was doing. Up on finding out, he called Neuro and consulteted them. I was immediately asked to return for a contrast CT which then showed the VAD. I was sent two hours to the city stroke unit. I had to do a bunch more testing, at which point they finally told me I had a major stroke. It had now been 30hrs since the stroke.

After the next couple days in hospital awaiting swelling to peak, I was shown a MRI which showed the affect and damage to 80% of my Cerrebellum. I was super fortunate to only have a bad headache and blurred vision. I now wear glasses and have a headache still. All of this, they think is a result of falling on my behind, two nights earlier at hockey. I'm not sure I believe this, but it is never gonna be known now. At 43 I feel very fortunate.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous (throwing football), M42

Hi, I am a 42 year old male. I recently had a VAD Stroke. On 11/08/2015, I had played flag football. I was QB'ing and having a great day...on a pass I was stuck on the arm. Besides normal pain I felt ok. Game over and I went to cash check from side job. My wife and kids ran to taco bell. As I was on way to car, I felt sharp pain in back of neck. It was similar to what I felt before. No biggie...at least I thought. Monday and Tuesday I felt normal. Halfway through Weds "bam" I feel sound in ear kinda go off, but it was like water was in my ear. I drove to Emergency Room and waited for nurse. I soon started feeling nausea, called out and vomited into trash can. I then began sweating like a pig and got pale. I was taken for CT Scan, after dry heaving, the nurse looked in my ear...saw a large block of wax. She pullled it out and told me to rest while she was doing my paperwork(inner ear infection is what she thought). While waiting my eyes lost all focus of vision and I saw double of everything. My CT was good, but she was worried about vision. I was admitted to hospital.

Neurologist came in and belived I had a mini stroke. He wanted a ton of test which I passed. He seemed confused and called another doc, who checked my arteries through my groin(side). He saw rip on right side. I was monitered for two more days and given MRI to make sure Im ok. The clot was getting smaller with thinner and baby aspirin. I was released and it seems Im gettting better. Currently my right ear is weird and my balance is slightly off, but not as bad as it was. I hope I continue to heal and hope to return to work soon. I will try my best to update and apologize for story being all over. I am using my phone and wanted it out there. Until next update I thank you. Your stories are helping me.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F50

I was 29y 8m old, possible 2 weeks of stress + travel+ 2 week heavy menstrual cycle, followed by a fall backwards related to a push down landing on elbows with shoulders up around my ears. 2 weeks later while at work doing chest percussion on a patient, numb tingling descending into (L) fingers and ascending in same order, went to urgent care due to weakness, numbness tingling they diagnosed me with the same. 8 months later numbness tingling entire (L) side aphasia, dysphagia unable to use (L) aspiration unable to dress self. Sent to Neurologist for open MRI I had suddenly developed Claustrophobia also, in tolerance to light, depression, SO after 4 negative EEG's 2 MRI W/contrast Showing me the MRI with large white area 5% (R) anterior occipital/Parietal lobe said "You are much too young to have had a stroke it looks like old injury, I think you have just been having Seizures r/t the old injury, take this Dilantin", Okay that caused witnessed black outs I stopped taking it, I told him that I have been at work or hanging out with my kids fully alert when this happens".

Was recently being given Keppra given after my left hand curled up and would not relax, Neuro told me I needed to manage my stress and get a divorce, my insurance denied his requested preapproval for 72 hour EEG (he did it any way) did approve 24 hour Dr said nothing could be done about that it was up to me, to make sure it was approved prior to allowing the test to be done.

Now I have no photographic memory, nor able to draw in 3 dimension, (L) sided deficit, frequent aspiration pneumonia I'm 50 now have gone from being a RRT to being an RN at 42, with severe PVD, at 32, AIF grafts age 37, (L) carotid Subclavian graft at 45 (since strokes BP (L) arm significantly low than ( R) arm +50 difference Doppler's confirmed in 2009 the occlusion. 2010 (L) pinky turned purple new vascular. creapy like a crawling up back of my head around to my eyes before hysterical crying while singing and dancing at work while doing office tasks. and an issue with that vertebral artery mentioned I will look at that report.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M35

Hello, I had a left side VAD Dec 11 2015, I am healthy 35yr old male, i dont smoke and never had, i very rarely drink. I have a very physical job and i am always moving and doing something around the house. I never really sit down so a very active life style. 2 weeks prior to my VAD I was out of town working and had slept on the hotel pillow funny kinking my neck. It felt like a pinched nerve. Thinking it was a pinched nerve I was just taken some Advil for the pain. With that i thought my problem would work its way out. So fast forward to Dec 11. that night i was working a late shift and just before we started the job i was moving some 2x4`s over my left shoulder. 10 mins later i was on the ground with my whole left side of my body going numb, tingly and loosing circlation. i also lost all feel and in the left side of my face. The guys at work watched my as i stumbled backawds to sit down, they sat beside me and held me up from falling over. A s i am also a first aid attendent i knew the signs of a stroke and when the guys at work ask me if i needed an ambluance i said yes im having a stroke, Or as they put it i mumbled and slured it out.

With in 2 min the ambluance was there and at the hospital within 5 min. They took me to the local heart and stroke hospital (Vancouver General Hospital) and called it in as a Hot Stroke(stroke in progress) I roled into the front doors and straight into a CT Scan where a stroke doc was waiting for me. About 2 hrs after the VAD happened, most of the feeling in my face and arm and leg came back. I sat in the ICU unit of the hospital for 4 days recovering. With 2 more ct scans and a MRI they found out it was a VAD on the left side. I am now at home and off work for the next 2 weeks recovering from symptoms, I`ve lost about 20% of my stegnth in my left side which will come back, also suffer from dizzyness and light headed as I have to get use to things again,also left side slower motor skills, which should go away within the next few weeks. The couple of symptoms that might stay are a numb patch on my face and back of my hand and a sore left side throat.

This was very scary for not only me as i am so healthy, but my family. Something like this really makes you think just how quickly life can change.I now enjoy life with my kids and wife more knowing just how quickly and simple it can be changed.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F44

I had my VAD 5 weeks ago & am scheduled 4 my follow up scan on Jan 11. Although, I am immensely thankful 4 the Drs who diagnosed & treated me, we'd like to get a follow up/2nd opinion from someone who has more experience w/VAD. In your years of research & time, what physician should we see? We are in the U.S. & prepared to go wherever needed 4 more information. Any opinions/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous (chiropractic manipulation), F42

Six years ago, I was treated by a chiropractor for frequent tension headaches caused by neck and shoulder tension. I had been treated many times by a different chiropractor who used an activator, rather than manual manipulation of the neck. This chiropractor convinced me that manual adjustments were more effective so I allowed him to adjust my neck without awareness of the full risks. A few days later, I began to experience severe head pain, lost the ability to recall my husband's and other family member names, and had 3 episodes of visual disturbances. I learned that I had experienced at least 3 TIAs. I was misdiagnosed several times because of my age and migraine history. Luckily, I had one of the episodes during a visit with my OBGYN who recognized the symptoms and ordered the correct tests. Within a few hours, I was on the operating table and receiving stents. Unfortunately, the second dissection was not visible and after being sent h ome, I had more visual disturbances and needed another stent placed on the right side.

I have struggled with POst Traumatic Stress since the surgeries, have ocular migraines, experienced a shift in my vision, had to have c-sections for both my pregnancies, and had to give myself over 500 shots of blood thinners into my belly during my pregnancies to keep my blood thin. I also have restricted activity which has been especially irritating since I had been very athletic and cannot participate in many activities I loved (snowboarding, golf, advanced yoga, tennis, volleyball, racquetball).

I share your mission to speak the word about the link between dissections and manual adjustments. This risk is already know in the medical and chiropractic field but there is low consumer awareness.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous (self manipulation), F40

I cant share all my story right now. It is a lot. I self manipulated my neck on a Thursday felt very horrible feeling everything started spinning. I threw up . I felt like I was walking to left side for 3 days could not walk work eat. Went to Dr they said I had vertigo and headache. Went to er 3 days later they gave me cat scan blood work everything came back normal 7 days later I had a stroke l side prone. Just got out of hospital 3/11 was in there for 5 days. R side is still effected along with some other muscle coordination problems.

I go see neurologistinteerventionist this wed. Scared that this could happen agoin. I am on aspirin 1 81 mg day . No one knew it was vertebral arterial dissection until I had stroke and they gave me mri and mra. Can not work do not want to be outside. I was healthy no signs neve took medicine blood pressure always perfect a licensed massage therapist always active. I am not going to get depressed but my life has changed. I am upset no one diagnosed me correctly at first.

VAD, Stroke, Sponatneous, M39

I was diagnosed with right side VAD on January 10th 2016. I'm from Wales and up until the day of my stroke I was extremely fit having completed multiple marathons, running between 40 to 50 miles per week and regularly cycling to and from work. I have never smoked, drank little and have no ill health in my family history.

On the day of the stroke I had run a hard 6 mile cross country race and felt absolutely fantastic having at the end. It was a very cold day and waited around for about 20 mins to watch friends finish and eat some post race cake. I remember biting into a cake and then having an intense sugar rush sensation followed a twinge in my neck and a slight throb on the right side of my head. Still feeling okay I walked back to my car and the neck pain became so tight I thought I'd trapped a nerve but it was very painful, at the same time my head exploded in pain as though someone had hit me - it was the most intense headache pain I have ever experienced. A few moments later those subsided and I felt very nauseous and on getting back to my car the ground starting spinning. But having done so many endurance events I thought it was post race tiredness.

I was 15 miles from home and had to drive home and that is when things got a bit scary. The headache returned followed by tightening in my neck and pain around the right eye socket. I also felt the right side of my body loose strength, and the right side of head and face went totally numb. Luckily I managed to get home safely but I had a feeling the symptoms were a stroke or TIA once my face went numb. As I got out of my car the world started to spin and became totally paralysed on the right side and collapsed in my driveway. By the time I got into my house my daughter had called my wife who recognised I was having a stroke as my speech had become slurred and I had the dreaded facial droop. Am ambulance arrived 20 mins later and the paramedic thought I was having a migrane but my wife insisted it was more serious and I be taken to hospital.

In hospital I received an initial MRI which showed nothing then I had to be sent for an angiogram and at 4:30pm the doctors told me they had found a blood clot in my V3, a tear in my vetebral artery at the V2 and that I had had a major stroke. I was put on aspirin and transferred to an acute stroke ward and spent 4 days under observation before being allowed home under the care of a local stroke team. I am now 10 weeks post stroke and will probably be remain off work for another few months. Physically I am 90% recovered (still weak on the right side) but the main problems for me have been cognitively. I have short term memory problems, headaches, neck pain and fatigue. I am told these will all pass.

The cause remains a mystery and my Dr labels it as SVAD but it may be through a bad cycling accident I had 3 years ago plus chiropractic work I had late 2015. But it may also be a moved my neck sharply after the race. I'm not spending any time thinking about it as I cant change it. I'm no waiting for an appointment for results of follow-up scans and hopefully the all clear to resume a healthy and active lifestyle again as 10 weeks of rest is no fun.

This is just my story and every person who has a VAD will have differing symptoms and outcomes, all I can say to anyone who experiences this is to remain positive. My recovery has gone from only being able to walk from the chair to the kitchen to walking for an hour. Each day and week will bring something new and slowly the old you starts to come back. There are setbacks but keep at it.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F43

I had a TIA 2 months ago. I had been lifting weights really hard and the next day had a horrible headache with neck pain. A few days later I had blurred vision with numbness on my left side. I went to the ER and they performed a MRI of the brain with and without contrast to include axial T1, T2 and flair sequences and a sagittal 1 with axial diffusion weighted sequence. I feel like they just put my problem on my PFO ( a very small hole in my heart) and was never concerned about a VAD. I still had some numbness off and on and neck pain. I am wondering if that MRI would show a VAD. CAn anyone give me any answers or advise?

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F35

In August of 2012 I was working in Denali National Park. For many years I had spent summer seasons taking guests on rafting trips. At the time I was an incredibly healthy 31 year-old, extremely strong and weighed 145 lbs at 5'9". For my entire life I had recreated outdoors and loved spending time in nature and outdoor exercise.

One afternoon I was leading a trip on the whitewater section, instructing guests on how to get that crazy dry suit on their body when I began to feel dizzy, nauseous and needing to close my eyes. I apologized to the forty assembled guests, telling them that I suddenly felt dizzy and would need to sit down.

I took a seat next to a guest who helpfully suggested that I put my head between my knees. I tried this and it did not help at all. I remember being confused, wondering if what I was experiencing was low blood sugar. I had eaten that morning so the symptoms were entirely a mystery. I quickly realized that I was not going to recover and that "the show must go on." I asked my husband (also a guide) to help me inside the building to a changing room.

There I laid down on a bench as I felt my face begin to flush. My right arm slowly tightened and I asked my husband to check my pulse. He yelled for the bus driver to pull the van around to the door and hauled me out to it. They drove me to a small, non-emergent clinic where the employees called a life flight immediately.

Within three hours I was in the hospital in Anchorage, Alaska where I would spend seven weeks dealing with complications and recovery. The physicians in the hospital found the right vertebral artery dissection after much examination. I also, it seems suffered a cardio myopathy at the same time based on hormones present in my blood. The called the entire incident a cerebral vascular accident and stroke. Since then I have visited many different physicians, including a vascular surgeon, neurologist, ear, nose and throat doctor and internist who have been unable to explain what happened.

The cause is completely unknown, I do not know if I am at risk for another artery dissection or what affected me is hereditary. I did not experience any known trauma prior to the incident.

I have recovered well, although I still struggle with excessive weight gain. I am now 200 lbs and must follow a strict lean protein, veggie and small amounts of fruit diet in order to maintain weight. I now have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

"Optimism is true moral courage." -Ernest Shackleton

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M48

New Year's Eve 2013 I woke up with a rubber feet and could barely get up the steps my wife called nine-one-one I went to the hospital and was released with a chronic headache the next day I ended up back in the hospital and did not wake up for a few months it's over two years now my eyes do not go up and down and I am fatigued all the time I spin 90% of the time laying in bed my left eye is dilated double vision and sensitive to light in my right eye is the opposite it's shrunken and fixed and she's dark I can't get a pair of glasses to even help me out I have tried many many medicines the problem is I get headaches with the medicines that work I'm just trying to find some kind of solution if my head didn't hurt all the time in my fatigue was not as bad I could get by I no longer work and was in shape and did not have any problems.

VAD, Spontaneous, F52

My story is quite complicated although it needs to be told. I have lost my mother my sister and brother to aortic aneurysm dissections I also have an aortic root dilatation of 4cm and growing and have also endured a ruptured aneurysm in the brain in 2006 and have had endovascular coiling to stop the bleed in the brain. We have been told that we have a Marfans like displaysia gene in the family...it is not typical Marfans because we do not present with all the typical symptoms.

On the 23rd of March 2016 I had a stressful situation develop and a severe pain in the right side of my head and neck. I was admitted to ER and they could not find any evidence of anything sinister and sent me home. 2 days later I experienced the same pain in my head and neck and had to go back to hospital, although this time the pain was more neck related.

They did a dye contrasted ct after the normal ct showed no signs of anything....an MRI was conducted of the b rain and neck vessels where they eventually found a right vertebral artery dissection (VAD).

Our family suffer from weak vessel walls due to a lack of a protein called Fibrin in the connective tissues which make up most of the constituents found in the vessel walls. I am very grateful to be alive as I am now having aortic root issues and am on beta blockers ...unfortunately with a VAD you need to go on blood thinners which is a catch 22 when you have aneurysms in the brain and a dilatation in the aortic root. Having thin blood during a dissection is a very risky path to take given our family history.

If you are wondering about your condition and why you have had a VAD please contact me , I can talk to you about this protein that is lacking in the vessel walls especially if you have Marfan like features!! Take care everybody and hope this helps for those who ask why?

VAD, Head Injury, F21

I was diagnosed at 21 with VAD. Unfortunately the process was not easy. I suffered a head injury whilst at the gym, two days later I had the worst neck pain ever and was told iy was just a muscle spasm.

Three days after this I was taken to hospital with loss of sensation in my right side, vertigo, sickness and jerking in my left side. Here I was told I just had concussion and there was nothing to worry about.

After this my symptoms worsened and I had to go back to hospital, the doctor may as well of laughed me out of the hospital for wasting time and again said I just needed to get on with it. After a visit to my GP a week after symptoms started he sent me back up to the hospital after recongising the signs.

This meant a third trip to hospital and for a third time doctors made me feel like I was making my symptoms up. I was told I was young and healthy and just needed to be patient, even though my GP has sent me with a letter explaining his co ncerns. Luckily my father was with me and argued with them to get them to do further scans.

I was then admitted to hospital with a suspected broken neck even though I was more concerned about my other symptoms. It took two weeks, three trips to hospital, two CT scans, two MRI scans and one MRA for doctors to finally believe that I wasn't making my symptoms up.

I was then diagnosed with VD and prescribed aspirin as well as various other tablets to help with the jerking and spasms I was getting. It's been 6 weeks since my diagnosis and I am not any better however the hospital never arranged any follow up appointments and I feel like I would be wasting time to go back again.

Reading everyone's stories has got me through a tricky time and it is nice to hear of people who are experiencing the same thing and understand. My recovering is still ongoing but at least I have a diagnosis.

VAD, Possible Smaller Left Vertebral Artery, F42

I'm so happy to have found this site, while I lie in bed. About 1.5 weeks ago, while in spin class I felt a shooting pain sear through my neck and I got an immediate headache on my left side. I thought I had pinched a nerve or had a muscle spasm.

Days followed and I went to the chiropractor, took muscle relaxers, got a pain shot and my head continued to throb. I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. Four days later I went to see my doctor who scheduled me for an MRI. The MRI concluded that I had a dissection of my left vertebral artery, as the artery enters the brain.

Thankfully I did not suffer a stroke. About 2 days after that, I felt another terrible headache and went into the ER. I had a CTA where they found a tiny aneurysm and thought that maybe the dissection had progressed. I spent 11 hours in the ER and now I'm home.

It's been about 9 days and I'm off the Vicodin and anti nausea meds but feel light headed, fuzzy, have some left side facial numbness and dull headaches. I'm taking 325mg of aspirin and a statin. I'm starting to feel better with some left numbness in my face is dissipating. I'm pretty tired but I'm thinking positively.

I'm hoping that I can go back to work soon and resume normal life. It's scary but I'm one of the lucky who did not stroke. I'm wondering when others felt normal, meaning no headache or dizziness.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous (Maybe Pregnancy), F33

My left vad with a mini stroke was 9 months ago. I would say I am 90% healed but still suffer many ongoing headaches and anxiety!!

It all started for me with a really bad neck crick that just got more and more uncomfortable no matter what I did. This went on for about 3 days with a bad headache. On the 4th day I was in the car with my 14 month old when I got what I can only describe as this shock wave of immense pain the worst I've ever felt down the left side of my head and neck, I could barely move, and this unmerciful wave of heat and nuausea hit me like a tonne of bricks. I couldn't walk in a straight line or use my left arm properly.

We went straight to a&e and while there my symptoms started to really improve and by the time I was seen the sent me home with a migraine!! I went back the following day and was thankfully sent for a ct scan where they picked up on everything. I was on Coumadin for about 4 months and now just aspirin.

For those of you who have not joined the private Facebook page for vertebral artery dissection, go join its been a lifesaver for me.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F30

As a healthy, 30 year-old mother of two, I started getting headaches that wouldn't let up. The pain was on the right side in the rear, base of my skull. It pulsated and throbbed and medicine (Advil or Aleve) did not help. This continued for 8 days before I sought the advise of a doctor. I was diagnosed as having an inflamed nerve in my neck and prescribed prednisone and antibiotics. The headaches --- as I would describe as "headache of my life" - continued, persisted and didn't let up until the 10th day. Once that faded away, I had a terribly stiff neck. I went back to the doctor and had a CT scan, which had a normal report. After about a week, the stiff neck disappeared and I felt good. The first day of "normal" - with no headache or stiff neck, I took our two young children to the grocery store to pick up a few items. While going down an aisle, I noticed my vision getting spotty---like seeing snowflakes. I ch alked it up to just a moment, but soon realized now I couldn't focus my vision - it was going in and out (tunnel vision). Within seconds, my right side of my lips were tingling, then my fingers and on down. Soon they were numb. I quickly lifted our youngest (1-1/2 years old at the time) down from the grocery cart so she wouldn't fall and placed her on the floor with my left side. As soon as she was on the floor, my right side went completely limp. I had sat myself on the floor to prevent from falling. I was able to call my husband to alert him something was terribly wrong with me...and to come get me immediately (which would take 20 minutes). Right after that call, I called my mother (out-of-state) to alert her and keep someone on the phone...at which time she let me know she couldn't understand me (slurred speech). I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT BEING A STROKE...I was 30 years old and healthy!

I was admitted to the hospital by way of ER....at which time they did a MRI. Tests were normal. During shift change, the two doctors that were overseeing me argued over whether or not I had a stroke. It was decided I had complicated migraines and I was released. I was started on a baby aspirin daily and stop oral contraceptives/birth control immediately.

I was referred to a local neurologist---who said I had complicated migraines also and should take verapamil (spelling?) for the rest of my life.

That wasn't good enough for us...we wanted answers. We sought a 2nd opinion from another neurologist. He suggested doing a few invasive tests to get real answers....yet they would cost us. These tests included full-panel blood work, TEE (check heart), and CTA (brain/neck). Insurance company denied the CTA, yet finally agreed once my doctor fought for me. TEE was perfect, blood work normal, and CTA showed right vertebral artery dissection....which resulted in the stroke. What caused it? We had no clue. My neurologist wanted to make sure it was not vasculitis, so a spinal tap was ordered (I feel for anyone having this test done!). Test results were normal. I was referred to a vascular neurologist in Augusta, GA.

I was instructed to not lift more than 40 lbs., keep my head moving to a minimum, use caution exercising, refrain from any neck manipulation (bumper cars or roller coasters).

Six months later, I had a follow-up CTA which showed no improvement of my VAD. I was told that chances of it ever opening up were slim to none, go about normal living (with caution). I could hardly sleep on my right side as the pressure was too great.

After about 2 years, I noticed laying on my right side no longer ached.

Three years after the stroke, I started getting different headaches in a different area and visual disturbance which warranted an MRA of my head. Results were normal! NORMAL....meaning it appeared as though my VAD was gone. Just to be sure, I was ordered a CTA of my neck (as that part of the test had not been done) and results were NORMAL!!!! My artery had completely opened up.

For any reading this, if you have VAD or suspect it, I wish you the very best.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M35

I suffered from severe ear pain, cervical pain, vertigo and headache on 30th Dec 2014 and had lots of vomiting on 30th and 31st Dec 2014. On 1st Jan 2015, morning I woke up but suddenly start getting vertigo and sweating, hence immediately rushed to the hospital where I was admitted and got the treatment for the same. For next 3 days I was in hospital and getting the treatment including the physiotherapy on neck and shoulders.

On 4th Jan 15 I was discharged but continued with Physiotherapy, however on 7th Jan 2015, after having lunch in the afternoon, I felt lots of uneasiness and a sharp pain in my left eye ( i was wearing the collar for getting relief from the neck pain) when I laid down on the bed keeping right side of the body upside down. I couldn't swallow anything and start vomiting if trying to swallow even a drop of water.Dysphagia, Body Dis balancing , Sensation loss and Blur in vision occurred by that time. Immediately my father took me to the Hospital where the doctors did CT Brain but couldn't found any substantial image which could diagnose stroke/VAD. Next Day morning I got MRI in which Infarct was revealed. For full 3 Weeks I was admitted there and they kept me on RT Feed, then on 28 Jan 15, I was admitted to another hospital where they started the treatment with CT-Angio and Peg (on PEG Feeding)rather than nasal pipe for RT feeding.

In couple of weeks I started to swallow a very little quanity of liquid , however body dis balancing and vision problem was persisting. Then slowly and slowly I started walking of my own and also got better vision and by Jule 2015, I was in the position to do every activity of my own , even the Car Driving (after six months i.eJan 15).

Now the health is improved a lot except , temperature loss on right side of the bosy and a heaviness on left side of the body and this causes irritation. Please guide how to sole this Issue. Iam taking Ecospirin 150 Mg daily in the night and metformin for Sugar Control.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous (heavy lifting), M58

I was hitting the gym 3-4 times a week. Weight machines, bench press pec flies in the 300-400 pound range, leg lifts/curls/press in the 650-750 pound range, 6 feet tall, 235 pounds, non-smoker, light drinker ( 2 beers over the weekends watching soccer/football games.

On June 22, 2016 I was at work, about 40 miles from home. I experienced an annoying headache in the right rear lower section of my head. I had a history of migraine headaches, but they had always initiated in the forehead area just above the left or right eyebrow. At about noon on June 22nd it was as if a 'hand' reached into the right rear lower section of my head and re-positioned the headache to the left lower rear part of my head. I immediately had nausea, extreme vertigo ( everything moving rapidly in a counter-clockwise circular direction.) I also had the sound of the ocean at high-tide with a high-pitched modem-like sound and pressure/pain, like someone pushing their knuckle into my left ear, and double/triple vision. My spatial and balance cues were massively distorted. I had to brace myself against the wall to get to the bathroom to vomit.

I realized it would be difficult/unsafe to attempt to drive so I decided to stay at work and sleep under my desk. Co-workers were very cordial and concerned offering to drive me home but the symptoms, other than the vertigo, just reminded me of a couple of really bad bouts of migraine years ago (which could last 3-5 days at times) or a really bad ear infection (vestibular upset maybe ?) which I had 'handled' before. As I tried to get comfortable under my desk alternating right-side left-side head/ear flat against the floor, the vomiting, every 30-40 minutes, and the vertigo were progressively getting worse. The vomiting was exhausting so I fell back to sleep rather quickly.

I noticed when the vomiting would wake me out of a dead-sleep, when sleeping on the left side, I would have vomit coming from my left nasal cavity/nostril, but never from the right. This lead me to believe the extreme vomit cycles/pressure had breached the eustacian tube worsening an ear infection. This cycle continued for 16 hours. I signed up for Uber to get home, but the thought of being in any moving vehicle intensified the nausea factor. I called my primary-care-provider and insurance companies nurse support service both recommended (due to my age - 58) that I get to an ER to rule out a stroke.

My boss arrived at 10:00 AM - he had me in an ER by 10:20 AM. The ER team MRI confirmed an ischemic stroke in the left pons area. Unfortunately, I had another ischemic stroke in the left cerebellum within 24 hours of being admitted. I was in that facility for 5 days, then transferred to a hospital closer to home/family to an in-patient integrated therapy program. I kept noting the continued pressure and ocean sounds in the left ear but no one seemed to want to follow up. While left side arm/leg strength were diminished I had also had numbness/tingleness on the left side of my tongue/mouth/gums/upper palate.

I could feel food in the left side of my mouth but it had/has no texture/taste/temperature. The Doctors were surprised I had no swallowing issues (9th cranial nerve.) Less than 1% of ischemic stroke victims have any hearing loss/deficit as there are multiple blood sources for the auditory nerve and cochlea. The probability of having all get occluded is supposed to be very low.

Upon discharge (July 10) my primary physician provided a referral to a neurologist but not an ENT. I sought out my own Neuro-ENT specialist and a Neuro-Optometrist. The Neuro-Opto used prism lens' to help the double/triple vision subside (took about 8 weeks.) The Neuro-ENT worked with their audiologist specialist to determine I had moderate-severe hearing loss due to an infarction of the eighth/auditory cranial nerve and blood-flow and oxygen loss to the left cochlea. They indicated I could possibly be a candidate for a hearing aid in 3 - 6 months. They said in 'western medicine' (their words) brain neurons are somewhat forgiving and can regrow and/or re-path their way to support some restored faculties, however nerves are not so forgiving.

While I had no formal history of prior issues and they could NOT find a source of the clots that caused the stroke, I am therfore being treated as a high blood-pressure, high cholesterol diabetic. I am continuing with outpatient occupational and physical therapy. I am sill 6 feet tall, but weigh 196 pounds (39 pound loss in 13 weeks.) Hoping to be back at work within 2 - 3 months.

Learned a lot about ischemic strokes from the Neuro-Hospitalist who noted my follow-up MRI after the second stroke, looked like a paint splatter painting with many small specks leading her to believe a VAD was a probable cause of the ischemic stroke.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M34

My husband had stroke two weeks ago , he is in rehab now recovering. Doctors say that he had left vertebral artery dissection and he is on Aspirin, plavix, BP and cholesterol medicine. His left side of the face is little numb, he is able to walk but not as fast as before (normal). He is having headache every morning when he wakes up. His memory is ok. There is no trauma, seems like it is spontaneous VAD.

Go to Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Read other Personal Stories of VAD's and share your personal story on the site.



Share your personal story of VAD and/or stroke caused by a VAD.

Chiropractic Adjustments Causing Vertebral Artery Dissections?

Sandy Nette's Story

Sandy's goal is for chiropractors to stop neck manipulations.

Britt Harwe's Story

One of Britt's goals is that chiropractors be required to offer an informed consent form.