Vertebral Artery Dissection

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

Personal VAD & Stroke Stories - Page 2

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, 3 Strokes, Spontaneous, M32

I am a healthy male that excersises regularly and the only medication was Lipitor for a 220 Cholesterol reading 2 years ago, which is now 145.  I was unfortunately at work and seated when I had a severe case of vertigo (to the right side) with a pulsating noise in my right ear.  I was unable to maintain any kind of erect posture for at least 2 minutes.  It went away and then I had severe nystagmus and was very wobbly on my feet.  A coworker noticed it and immediately said I better get to our dispensary for evaluation.  They sent me off to a local hospital and they thought it might be an inner ear infection and sat me in chairs until I could be seen.  During my pre-admission paperwork I had another episode with the same symptoms, except to the left this time, and the nurse causally said I can wait.. ( HAHAHAHA!! gotta love it, neuro obs and a lack of response). Anyway, was taken back about 3 hours later and the Dr. ordered a CT.  About this time my wife and 2 children arrive and I am sitting there talking to her and reading the sign behind her about how long it takes to get results form each test and to have patience, when out of the corner of my eye I see my Dr. sprinting across the ER.. Great I thought-- Long story abbreviated-- I was sent to a Neuroscience Hospital and remained for 5- days in the Neuro ICU.. Right side VAD with a infarct in the R and L cerbellum and right thalamus.  Was ordered onto lovanox until my coumadin was titrated and remained on for 3 months.  I have no major effects, some bouts of lethargy, balance issues while spinning (you know helicopter spins with the kids) and accumulation of saliva on the left side of my mouth while speaking and randomly.. 

Other than that I thank god everyday that I am still here and lucky to have a "normal" daily life. 

Continue to get the knowledge out there and for the families of the ones affected-- unconditional support and love to help us with the disbelief and depression that ensues.. 

VAD, No Stroke, Chiro-Linked, F?

My husband actually found your website when I was in the hospital and thought it was very informative.  I suffered a vertebral artery dissection at the Chiropractors, on Oct. 16th. I actually left the office in an ambulance.  After looking at your website and some of the videos, I can see that I was a rare case. I very fortunately did not suffer a stroke.  I had an angiogram the following day and the neurosurgeons were not able to repair my artery by putting in either a balloon or a stent.  I spent 6 days in the hospital, and I am still suffering major pain in the back of my head on my left side, major headaches, I am nauseous all the time, extremely tired, and have completely lost my balance abilities.    I did go back to the hospital for a check up the other day, and I need to go back again in February.  They will do another CAT scan, and if the artery has opened up the slightest bit they are going to go in and do surgery and put in a stent.  I am also on Warifan, and will need to be on that for at least until February.

I too was never aware of this.  Everyone I have talked to say how rare these cases are.  Even though I sometimes have a difficult time reading your material on your website, only because of what more could have happened to me, I was very grateful to have it there.

THANK YOU CHRIS!  I hope you are doing well now.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M47

At the time of the accident i was a 47 year old white male with no prior health problems. no blood pressure problems, low cholestrol, non-smoker, occasional beer drinker, no heart problems, no perscription or other drugs of any kind save the occasional tylenol for headache. i worked as a plumber doing service work and was moderately active. 5 foot 8 inches, 210 lbs (a little overweight but stable for many years). i was working on a water heater, sitting on the ground indian style and bent my torso and head to the left to look at a component of the heater. After several minutes of working on the heater i experienced a severe pain at the back of my head and neck on the right side. i stood up and had to hold on to the heater for a while until the pain and dizziness subsided enough for me to stagger outside. nausea and vomiting ensued. i had no idea what had happened and mistakenly theorized carbon monoxide poisoning because of the old furnace that was in the room (don't ever tell the emt or emergency room doctor what you think the problem might be, let them diagnose for themselves).  I sat for a while until i felt better and my supervisor followed me home. i laid down on the living room sofa for a half hour or so until my girlfriend came home, she recommended that i go into the bedroom to lay down. a much more intense bout of pain, dizziness, nausea and vomiting happened and my eyes felt like they turned around in my head. it scared the **** out of my girlfriend and she called 911. i was eventually diagnosed dissection and stroke and have been rehabbing since 11/06.

VAD, 2 Strokes, Spontaneous, F?

I experienced a spontaneous, extracranial vertebral artery dissection, originally thought to be migraine, the end of September.  I was kept overnight for observation, then released to return to my hometown and encouraged to follow up with my own doctor for an MRI asap.  Long story short, I had at least two strokes from one or possibly more blood clots to the brain from the dissection.  I ended up in the hospital again in my hometown, was finally diagnosed and treated appropriately.  I've been on Warfarin and have my INR checked weekly.

I had about one week, following the dissection where I was headache free and did not take any pain medication.  I was on the mend and felt markedly improved!  It's been all downhill from there.  I've been suffering terribly from headaches since early to mid October.  They've done another set of MRI/MRAs which show no change, but that I still have the tear and the blood clots (there ended up being a total of nine after the initial clots broke apart- lucky for me!) in my brain.  They've started me on Topamax (an anti-seizure medication, but leading migraine medicine as well).  After three weeks, I saw absolutely no improvement, so they've doubled the dosage.  It's been a week now, and still no difference.  I go in the 8th of December for a CTA to see if the dissection has healed.  In the meantime, I have to find something to take care of the headaches.  Even hydrocodone barely takes the edge off and not for very long.

I've spent hours trying to find articles related to what people experience AFTER their dissections, and specifically if anyone has had difficulties and successes with headaches in particular.  My neurologist is supposed to be top notch, but unless you are in the hospital... you don't see her.

VAD, No Strokes, Spontaneous during Exercise, F47

I am a nurse, and up until 6/2008--I ran 6-8 miles a day @ Memorial Park.  I live in Houston, Texas …” Medical Mecca”, or so they say!—
 
So one day, during the hot summer, instead of running in 110°, I decided to go to the gym, for a "light work out".  I saw the doors open for a spin class, and decided to go in.  I have done a few spin classes in the past, and love to bike.  So no big deal......... I was cranking out a big sweat, and about 45min. into class, my left side of neck, "spasm" started, and I thought, or I twisted it wrong ...and I work on a computer all day, so I just aggravated an already sore muscle.   Well ---I finished the class, got off the bike and it REALLY hurt, then I left, went to Starbucks, had a BAD headache coming on........then all of a sudden, as I was talking to a friend, my vision went out!......It was like looking at a Picasso.  Everything was distorted, and lights were refracted in my vision.  The headache got worse, and so did my vision.  I had a "gut" feeling, something REALLY bad was happening.   I went to the local urgent care, and by this time my headache, in the back of my neck, was soooooooo severe, I couldn't even cry.   The Dr. suspected, a VAD., and immediately called for an ambulance to transport me to the Medical Center downtown, to admit me, and he ordered a MRI brain, and a MRA carotids. --  (although, he didn't order it with contrast, which was a big mistake--).  I sat up in the room, after my scans, for 20 hours before a Neurologist came in to see me, who said, " I think your having a migraine, --I do see some narrowing in your left vertebral artery, although, I think that is incidental."  I want you to go home, get a massage, take some Aleve, and see me in 2 weeks."   ---Well knowing that the Morphine IV push they gave me earlier, didn't even touch my headache, and being that I am a nurse, I knew, he was wrong.    So I went home, and suffered for next couple of days, and saw my Cardiologist the next week, and he looked at the scans that were done without contrast, and said, he could see the narrowing, but “You are young, your healthy—let’s have another neurologist look at you”.  So I went to another neurologist, who, looked at the same scans, and said, he thought, given my “symptoms”—I will need an angiogram, but that I would have to wait 2 weeks for the best neuron-radiologist to do the procedure, and I was sent home with Prednisone and a narcotic pain med.  I took the medication, and over the next 2 days, was unable to think, speak, was slurring my words, and could not get off the couch to the kitchen, to get drink or food.  I was soooooooooo sick, my vision got worse, the headache, and neck pain were so bad, I was not functioning.   I called the neurologist back, who refused to recheck me, and told me to “stop the prednisone, and let’s see how you do. “
 
I knew then, that I was in big trouble, as he wasn’t taking me for real either.  So one night almost 3 weeks later,@ 3am .. I woke up vomiting, vision so blurry I was trying to call 911, but couldn’t see the numbers on the phone.  I called them and the EMT’s told me I was having a panic attack.  I knew better and yet……….. still was getting “blown off”--  I did get to the ER, and was seen by the ER Dr. –who told me I was having a migraine/anxiety.  I struggled to breath/talk, and begged him to get me out of that hospital and to get me to the hospital that I was scheduled to have the Angiogram.  I showed him the MRA/MRI- that had not been done with contrast, and he called my Neurologist, who told him,  “I don’t think she has a VAD, but discharge her and she can call my office when it opens and make an appt to see me. “ 
 
Well………..I getting ready to be discharged, laying there limp, and in pain, and was so hot, that I asked the nurse to take my temperature, and she took a rectal temp, as I just had some water, and found out that my temperature was 102°.   So I was then admitted for a “Sepsis” work up.   I didn’t find out until later, that the clot in my Vertebral artery was causing my “thermostat” to go haywire.   
 
After admission, I was blessed to have an angel for an admitting physician, who found me a great neurologist, who scanned me from head to toe, and drew all the blood out of me!   I spent 1½ hrs. in the MRI/MRA machine, this time, it was done with contrast.   Later that night my neurologist told me that I did have a VAD, and that I was going to be started on Heparin, and Coumadin right away.  He also stated that it was a good thing, I was there, and  that I had not followed the advice of getting a Angiogram, as once ordered, as that “would of dislodged the clot, and went to my brainstem, causing either death, or a big-brainstem stroke.”  !!!!   I stayed in the hospital for 7 days, and received the best care. 
 
I am due for my 6 month MRA carotids/ with contrast in 2 weeks, and have been on Coumadin for the last 6 months.  My 3month follow-up scan showed that the clot that was once 2.5cm in length, with a 60-70% occlusion, was resolved! 
 
I am due to get the 6 month scan follow up, and if all looks good, will be taken off the Coumadin! 
 
Moral of this story:  You have to be your one advocate when it comes to Medical Care, and it helps to have some medical knowledge, and to always pursue, your gut feelings.  I also have a deep faith in God, which, as my mother always says, “It will work out the way it is supposed to.”

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous during exercise, M38

My story goes as follows...I'm a 38 year old 5'10 185lb fitness/health freak..On November 22,2008 while in the gym (not lifting weights) I experienced the worst headache I have ever had (Mind you I have no history of migraines in my life)..It felt like something broke,snapped etc in my head..The pain was on my left side of my head from my forehead to the back of my neck..I immediately got off the Pre-core machine I was on,went to get some water and quickly realized something was very wrong..Luckily my wife was with me..As I walked out to her car my walking all of a sudden became wobbly and I was sweating an insane amount..Without thinking about it my wife brought me to North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital in Great Neck NY (Emergency room)..It was about 20 minutes since the onset of the headache in the gym at this point..While in Emergency Room I was vomitting like crazy,I had tingling on the left side my face and couldn't swallow even a sip of water without choking for air because I had lost control of my swallowing mechanisms..The Doctors continued to do tests on me,spinal tap,blood work etc..They initially thought I had a bells palsy and ruled out a stroke even after I asked numerous times if I had one..My initial drugs being taken were first Acyclovar (sp?) and some kind of steroid. 

After 24 hours in the Hospital they sent me for an MRA which did show the dissected artery in my neck..At that point I was transferred to the stroke unit within the same Hospital and was started on Heparin in a IV drip..Here is where it all began and ended somewhat..During the next few days I became quite the science project with many Nuerosurgeons and interns looking me over and asking many many questions..Did I hurt my neck prior,do I do yoga,did something happen in the last 2 weeks injury wise to make this happen etc..In the weeks before my stroke I was experiencing dizziness and nausea which * I DID * consult with my internist and was sent for an MRI..The MRI was the wrong test to be sent for my symptoms had I been sent for  the MRA it would shown the leaking and possibly the stroke couldve been averted by administering Coumadine right away..Anyway back to the Hospital..During my stay they tested my motor skills and strength..Amazingly I faired extremely well..I had significant strength in all of my limbs,I could speak but while in the hospital I didn't eat for 4 straight days..At that point I was given a feeding tube up my nose and drank that cappucino colored bottle for the day. 

My life had hit a very low point..Even though I was told I faired well and should make a full recovery the hose in the nose was a downer,so was the stroke unit..No rest and the foul odor I had accumulated didnt help either..The next day I went for the swallow test with the xray machine etc...The nicest women in the world helped me swallow some nasty tasting glow in the dark mash.. Amazingly enough I did well and they allowed me to eat mashed and diced foods,hence taking that horrible feeding tube out of my nose after only 1 day..Yes I was praying each and every day I was in that bed (and still do to this day).The day before I was to be released I had to have a battery of heart tests,the worst one was when they put a garden hose with a camera down my throat while I laid on my side..I swore I wouldnt do it but the Nuero intern I became friendly with assured me I wouldnt be released until I passed these tests...So I did it..and I passed..That same day I had to give 11 vials of blood for even more tests..No big deal at this point...Here is where my next journey begins..I get released on Thanksgiving Day and make it home by 4pm..The quietness of my home was priceless, no more beeping, no more elderly stroke patients screaming in their sleep, no more nasty nurses working the night shift,no hammering of pills at 2am,no more leads to my heart monitor falling off and best of all no more smell..\

After a (seated) 30 minute shower phase 2 began of my journey..The headaches seemed like a jack hammer but nothing that 6 -500mg (per day) Tylenol wouldnt lessen..Today is December 10th..I'm home 2 full weeks...It's my second day of not taking any Tylenol..Yesterday I went to a ear,nose and throat Dr,highly regarded on LI..He put a scope through my nose and down my throat to view it..He now gave me the green light to eat basically whatever I want..He also told me that I didnt need speech therapy and that the hoarseness in my voice would fix itself in a matter of days or short amount of weeks..He even said I didn't need a follow up visit..He poked my vocal chords with a stick and I jumped which he assured me was the best result he couldve asked for..They are ALIVE  !!!!...To say I felt like crying tears of joy after leaving his office would be an understatementM.  y physical therapy is going similarily well..Yes I do have balance issues (left side) but I can walk without any walkers,canes or other assisted devices,shower myself,dress myself and basically do what I need..I'm luckily able to take the next 3 months off from work and work solely on my recovery which I will work at endlessly..I'm going to a physical therapy facility that specializes in stroke recovery and I have been training at home ..I go 3-5 days a week ,1 hour per day. 

After reviewing many cases I've come to conclusion that I got off easy and find myself extremely thankful..I'm not ready to run a marathon,nor can I go surfing just yet but I will soon enough..Sorry for being longwinded..If I didn't have my wife with me when this happened and been brought to the Hospital as fast as I was who knows how badly the stroke could have ravaged my mind,body and soul..Hope this helps someone else recover somehow..Its always darkest before dawn and I'm starting to see the sun coming up and I'm only home 2 weeks...

VAD, 3 Strokes, Spontaneous, M32

I am a healthy male that excersises regularly and the only medication was Lipitor for a 220 Cholesterol reading 2 years ago, which is now 145.  I was unfortunately at work and seated when I had a severe case of vertigo (to the right side) with a pulsating noise in my right ear.  I was unable to maintain any kind of erect posture for at least 2 minutes.  It went away and then I had severe nystagmus and was very wobbly on my feet.  A coworker noticed it and immediately said I better get to our dispensary for evaluation.  They sent me off to a local hospital and they thought it might be an inner ear infection and sat me in chairs until I could be seen.  During my pre-admission paperwork I had another episode with the same symptoms, except to the left this time, and the nurse causally said I can wait.. ( HAHAHAHA!! gotta love it, neuro obs and a lack of response). Anyway, was taken back about 3 hours later and the Dr. ordered a CT.  About this time my wife and 2 children arrive and I am sitting there talking to her and reading the sign behind her about how long it takes to get results form each test and to have patience, when out of the corner of my eye I see my Dr. sprinting across the ER.. Great I thought-- Long story abbreviated-- I was sent to a Neuroscience Hospital and remained for 5- days in the Neuro ICU.. Right side VAD with a infarct in the R and L cerbellum and right thalamus.  Was ordered onto lovanox until my coumadin was titrated and remain

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.