Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mind Your Meds

Note: the opinions expressed in this post are based on my experiences as a stroke survivor, I am NOT a medical professional, any and all decisions about medication should be made with you physician.

Due to the traumatic nature of stroke, it's survivors are often put on a battery of drugs after the event, in the last three years, since my stroke, I have been on powerful opiates, blood thinners, anti-seizure medication, blood pressure pills and threatened with anti-depressants, which I flat out refused to take.

Many of these medications cause drowsiness, exacerbating a post-stroke state of being I refer to The Fog; Now. imagine, you are in a large field, surrounded by a fog so thick you can't see two feet in front of you, you lose you bearings, can't focus on anything and fall over easily, this is what The Fog feels like, it is a state of being I lived with for a year after the stroke, I believe  contributing factor to that were some of the medications I was on at the time. As I recovered, my doctors and I began to slowly take me off of my medications, my blood pressure improved greatly, so the blood pressure meds were the first to go, then the DVT that had developed in my leg resolved itself, so we then threw the blood thinners in the trash,then my physiatrist put my on muscle relaxers, to try to inhibit the muscle spasicity that was affecting my ability to move easily.

Whoa. those muscle relaxers helped a bit, only thickened the fog; I was tired all of the time already, but that medication made it next to impossible for me to stay awake or attentive for any stretch of time. After two post-stroke seizures, which Matt and I believe wer caused by my muscle relaxers: Baclofen, Matt and started to talk about the possibility of my getting off of the dreadful Baclofen, not an easy task, as going off of a medication like baclofen cold turkey can cause seizures and other nasty side effects, but I talked to my physiatrist about it anyway and we ddevised a plan to slowly ween me off of the baclofen, as I gradually came off of it, I gradually began to wake up, The Fog began to clear, I could focus on people, things and lines of thought, I began to feel human again. Once I had been off of it for about a year, it's been close to twoyears now, I found I was able to retain more information that I had been able to since the stroke, nowadays, my mind is working quickly again, and I feel my cognitive abilities have improved a thousandfold, now I am down to only one medication, the anti-seizures, more for my peace of mind than anything. 

Being almost medication free is a good feeling, but, please do not start or stop a medication without first talking wand working with adictor you trust and do your best to understand what you are taking and why.