Personal VAD & Stroke Stories - Page 3

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.

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Please share your personal story on the site.

The personal stories are in no particular order and I have purposely removed names or personal information.

VAD, Strokes, Spontaneous During Tennis, M45

I hurt my neck serving a tennis ball.  A week later I had a Transient Ischemic Attack at work.  I was not feeling well early in the morning.

Severe headache, paralysed left side, fell to the floor – I thought it was a heart attack.  It took 45 minutes for an ambulance to get to me.

I was hospitalised (DO NOT MOVE) for 2 weeks.  MRI / CAT confirmed a 11 cm split to inside lining of left vertebral artery.  The clot over this split must have moved up into my brain.

I was very weak, and could not walk far.  It was an achievement to walk my daughter to the school bus stop – about 100 yards away.  There I could rest before the return journey.

I had 6 months off work, slowly improving.  I had difficulty dealing with more than one thing at a time and was very tired from the slightest activity.  One neurologist told me “to snap out of it”.   It took 18 months to get back to work full time, but have since been playing golf, and really imagining everything is OK. 

I am still very anxious about this event.  On Friday, in my first game of ten pin bowling since the event, the very first ball caused a sharp pain to my neck that has me very worried again.

While the medical people are all very supportive, it seems to me they know little about it.

My best wishes to all facing this

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, M55

I had a stroke two months ago, secondary to a vertebral artery dissection (VAD).
I would like to know if there is anyone who has a stroke under similar circumstances.
I was in the supermarket when I was overcome by extreme vertigo and had to lay on the floor to prevent myself from falling, I was sweating heavily and vomiting profusely.
I was taken to the emergency room at the nearest hospital, where I was given anti-nausea medication.
I had no other symptoms other than vertigo, nausea and vomiting. My mental and physical faculties were normal and I had no pain, just discomfort from the nausea and vomiting. It took them a while to discover that I had had a cerebellar stroke, caused by the VAD. Fortunately, my sister insisted that I be given numerous tests to discover what was wrong.
I was in hospital for 8 days, when I went for physical therapy I was told that I had no physical deficits and was told that there was no need for PT as, having no deficits, there was nothing they could do for me.
On discharge from the hospital the vertigo was still very pronounced and I used a walker for the first week I was at home, as a safety precaution.
At this stage, two months after the stroke, the vertigo is mild I have no physical or mental deficits and I will be returning to work in two weeks. I am currently on Warfarin.  I have searched many stroke forums on the internet but have not encountered any cases similar to mine.
I would appreciate hearing from anyone who is in a similar situation to me, I would like to know how long it will take for the vertigo to dissipate completely.

VAD, Stroke, Chiro-Linked, M33

I had a dissection of the vertebral artery in 1999! i don't know weather the dissection was caused by rough sex or the chiropractor!
i was 33 then!
i noticed my left neck area began hurting! i just kept taking OTC pain meds and anti inflamatories! the pain grew to be the worst pain i ever had then or have expierienced since!
the hospital/er sent me home a couple of times saying it was probably muscle strain!
i started running a 102 fever so they wanted to find out why! given the fact that i had 2 strokes already they decided to give me an MRI of the head/neck!
thats when they found it! the dissection!
they kept me, in hospital, on steroids and gave me heparin before discharging me on coumidan!
my sed rate(ESR) went from 110 back down to 12!
later! i would have a massive stroke that would put me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life! a stroke that left me unable to speak! it also paralized my whole left side! i lost trunk and all bowel control! i could not evan swallow my own secretions!
i don't know if chiropratic treatments had anything to do with the dissection but i was seeing a chiropractor at the time!...hmmmm!

VAD, No Stroke, Spontaneous, F27

I am a 27 year old female in Dallas, Tx. I started having neck pain one morning in November of 2008 when I woke felt like I had seriously slept on it wrong. I thought I would wait a few days because I have had this pain before. I waited 10 days and then thought maybe I should go in because I had developed strep, so maybe the main neck pain was a mass    ive infection in the deep tissues of the neck. I went to the ER and they sent me home with Antibiotics and muscle relaxers, only getting an X-ray to see if I had broken anything....such idiots because I had not been in an accident. I finally went to one of those doctors in a box...quick to see, and he sent me to a ENT. I was at my tolerant level and was like...whatever. This ENT was a God send, because he saved my life. He stated that he never runs CT scans but for some reason decided to run one on me. The ENT rushed me to one of the only Dr.'s in Dallas that had any idea what the hell he was doing. 

The CT scan revealed that I had a VAD on the right side from my shoulder to the base of my skull. I was in the hospital for a week on the normal treatment..heprin and coumadin. I can not descibe the pain I felt in my neck. In the ER for the first time the Dr.'s gave me Diladid and Morphine. They both ran up the back of my neck and fully pressured my brain....I screamed in pain. So, the nurses and Dr.'s for 10 min looked at me in amazment or amusment...which ever one. So when I returned home with my pain killers and blood thinners....I was in shock. At least the Vascular Surgeon said he had no idea and didnt know what in the hell to we would become best friends. One week after being home my pain shot up again, so I went to the ER....and guess what? The left side spontaniously dissected and it was joined by a puesdoanuyerism....WTF is all that I thought and the only thing my family could think of was anuyerism and clot. We all freaked out because if I had not been on blood thinners I would be dead and my four children would be motherless, but why did the other side dissect after the heprin treatment. I have repeatedly been in the hospital with pain and I want to know if anyone has the consistent neck pain and what makes it worse for you.....because I need answers to manage this pain. So it is January 1, 2009 and after spending hours in the ER with worrible pain and no pain meds that will work, all they could tell me was that the CT scans look the same as it has looked and my blood was not at its theraputic level because I ate lettuce and cilantro....WHAT!  and ....WTF again. What is going on and why am I not showing any improvement after this long. I cant take it easy the rest of my life...not that my staff at home isnt great but still this is the most painful frustrating thing I have ever could have imaged going through. My family and I are at our end with frustration.....I just want some answers!!! You would think that that would not be so hard.

VAD, No Stroke, Spontaneous, M36

I'm a 36 year-old married male and father of 3 kids. In late October, I woke up one morning with a severe headache and neck-pain. I never get headaches so I thought this was unusual. I'm not sure what caused it - I am a restless sleeper (could have done it in my sleep) and I had hurt my neck surfing a few weeks earlier. A few days later I left for business in Chicago and the pain got incredibly worse so much so that I admitted myself to hospital in Chicago. There, they kep me overnight and did various MRI and Cat-scan tests and a lumbar puncture. They couldn't find anything and they released me and I flew back to Florida. The next night the pain returned and I was admitted to hospital. They did various tests again but it was not until 3 days later that they suspected a dissection. The did an angiogram and the suspicions of my Neuro-surgeon were confirmed with the diagnosis of a moderate VAD. They immediately started me on a heparin drip. The next day they admitted me to ICU as I had started bleeding at the site of the previous lumbar puncture - this was incredibly painful and I had temporary paralysis in my lower body. Eventually the spinal hematoma resolved completely but I had to stay off any kind of blood-thinner for the first week which obviously compromised the healing of the VAD. After a week I was put on aspirin and blood pressure meds - the aspirin I continue to take today and my Neuro decided against any further blood thinner meds.
I still have headaches and neck-pain now and experience much discomfort and numbness in the LHS of my body, especially in my left arm, shoulder and hand. Sometimes at night I wake up and both my hands and arms have fallen asleep and are completely numb. I wonder if this is normal for VAD sufferers? I have also had elevated blood pressure. It has been great to find your site - I have felt most alone and concerned that this can happen to someone who has been in prime health and fitness.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F37

Hi Chris, great website!

I am a 37 year old mother of 3  that lives in the UK and I had a VAD
(spontaneous) 3 months ago. I had a severe headache with neck
stiffness, vomiting, photophobia etc.. seen by 4 doctors at local
practice over 1 week (they thought it was a migraine and that I was
over reacting!) before I was sent to a local hospital and had all the
tests...CT head scan and lumbar puncture. It confirmed a bleed in thebrain and then I was transferred to a neurology unit/hospital  (in the middle of the night) all very frighteningl! I am also nurse and I found that having medical knowledge more stressful. After a femeral artery angiogram it was confirmed as VAD.. the consultant said it was very rare and very little known about it. I have been making a good, slow recovery, I was told that I did not have a stroke, but my mother moved in with me to help with the children. I am hoping to return to work next week (Jan 09). I still take the occasional painkiller and I am on Aspirin, I have regular CT angiograms to monitor the dissection.
Overall it was a traumatic experience, especially when the
neurosurgeons and their team do not have all the answers. My own Doctor had never heard of it and that he was so shocked!.... doesn't that speak volumes?!!

Bi-Lat VAD, No Stroke, Spontaneous, F42

Like other people whose stories I have read on this website, my VAD went undiagnosed for days despite several trips to the emergency department of my local hospital. It started when I began having pain over my left eye, which I initially attributed to a sinus infection.  After two-three days in which the pain got progressively worse and I began to experience nausea and vomiting, I went to my PCP who thought it was a sinus infection and gave me antibiotics plus a shot of Toradol for the pain and sent me home.  The pain did not resolve and later that same day when I could no longer tolerate the pain, which now was also in the back of my head and neck, I went to the local emergency department.  They did a CT scan but saw nothing unusual on it.  A migraine was suggested, although I have never had migraines before, and as someone else on this site said, the pain was now at least 4 days old.   I was discharged with some Vicodan for the pain and the nausea was attributed to a stomach virus that my whole family had had the week earlier.  That was a Saturday.  After spending the entire weekend in bed popping Vicodan for the pain and vomiting intermittently, I returned to the emergency department on Monday morning and this time saw a Neurologist who diagnosed a occipital neuritis and prescribed a nerve block for the pain.  I should point out that during both these emergency visits my neuro exam was negative: I never had any of the usual warning signs of an impending stroke, just the unbearable head and neck pain.  After having the nerve block I went home and went back to bed.   About 3:00 in the morning on December 24, I could no longer take the pain and I was shaking and vomiting, so I called an ambulance to take me back to the emergency department for the 3rd time.   This time I was finally admitted although they still didn't know why I had this pain.  Finally I saw the neurologist again and after going over my symptoms yet again, it was like in a cartoon where you see the light bulb go on in someone's head, he!  turned around walking really quickly to the door of my room saying "You need an MRI now".   As soon as they finished the MRI a CT scan with contrast was ordered and just as they were wheeling me back into my room from the CT scan the neurologist and nurse were there saying they were taking me to ICU right away. I spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the next day in ICU on a heparin drip with a neuro check being done on me every hour.   I was discharged on the 4th day on Lovenox injections and Coumadin daily.  We live in a suburb of Boston about an hour south of the city, all along my sisters had wanted me to be transferred into a Boston teaching hospital but I stayed in the local hospital as it was close to home. However, two days after discharge from the local hospital, my headaches returned again and this time, knowing what was wrong and getting very frightened, I went to Mass. General Hospital in Boston.  They had extensive experience with dissections of all sorts and they admitted me to the neuro unit for 2 nights.   They did 2 more CT scans and discovered than I had another dissection on my right side (the first hospital had only identified the one on the left).  The doctors at MGH compared their film with the one from the first hospital and the right sided dissection, which was actually larger than the one on my left, was not visible a few days earlier.  The treatment was the same as the first hospital, Coumadin and no stressing of the arteries.

We never discovered what caused the dissections, although it is acknowledged that strenuous vomiting from the stomach virus I suffered the week before the dissection may have contributed.

It wasn't until I was home from the hospital and feeling better than I started to research VAD in depth and realize just how lucky I was to not have had a stroke during the time I went undiagnosed, I know now that many are not as lucky. It was frightening to discover that up to 10% of people don't survive the initial dissection due to brain hemmorrage.

I am concerned that the doctors at my local hospital did not identify the condition earlier, although as I said I did not present with any typical neurologic symptoms other than the severe head pain. The doctors and nurses there were rather excited about my condition when it was finally diagnosed as apparently they had never had a case of it there before. If I had gone to the teaching hospital to begin with, maybe this would have been diagnosed sooner as they were very familiar with the condition.

From now on, if anyone I know has a really unusually severe headache I am going to insist they get checked out because you just don't know.

VAD, Stroke, Chiro-Linked, M42

I would love to share my story but, honestly, I don't know if I have enough definite evidence to be helpful. I suffered a stroke on November 28, 2007 at the age of 42. I had been undergoing chiropractic treatment for upper back and neck pain in the weeks an months leading up to that time. Although I didn't put two and two together until almost six-months later, I absolutely believe that the neck manipulation caused my stroke.
Although there were many tough months of therapy, I am almost fully recovered, am back to work and most of my regular activities. I am having a problem, however, convincing anyone that the chiropractic treatment contributed to the stroke for several reasons: because I didn't link the two until later, I didn't start to gather information for a long time; the doctors never found what, exactly, caused the stroke (it could have been VAD but they didn't say for sure); and I don't remember, exactly, when I last visited the chiropractor.
My main concern now is letting the public know that there are risks involved when visiting the chiropractor office. I am doing research, gathering information and getting the word out in any way that I can. I hope that I can help your cause and would be happy to collaborate in any way that you see fit and I would be pleased if you could contribute to the Internet informational Sites that I have developed:

VAD, Stroke, Neck "Cracking", M36

I'm 36 years old and I had a stroke in
January 2008. I was popping my neck regularly when one night when i did it I saw stars and said I wasn't going to do it again. two weeks later after suffering from headaches ever since that night
I had a stroke. they told me it was caused from popping my neck.
I dissected the vertebral artery and that was where the headaches
came from. it took two weeks for the clot to form. I was in the
hospital and then rehab until march 5 2008. I am suffering from
a lot of numbness on my left side and I lost my top peripheral vision from the brain damage. the brain damage affected the processing part of my brain. any time I over stimulate my brain the left side goes numb and it is very difficult to walk or do anything at all. my doctors have tried several medicines to try and help with the
numbness but none do the job. they have told me to exercise, as soon as i start my left side goes numb. when I'm in the car the same thing. numbness from head to toe. My doctors said the exercises would help but it is too hard for me to do when i know i will be numb as soon as i start.

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Please share your personal story on the site.

Chiropractic Adjustments Causing Vertebral Artery Dissections?

Sandy Nette's Story

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


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