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Arkansas Man
12/10/2018 09:05AM
Not trying to be too personal, but I'm looking for answers. Has anyone on the board ever suffered a stroke and returned to the BWCA?

On November 4, I suffered a Ischemic Lacunar Stroke. It affected the ocular nerve causing my eyes to not focus together and as a result of that extreme dizziness and loss of equilibrium. Fortunately, I was given the TPA shot within the needed time frame, and now five weeks out, I am back to driving, work, and even hunting.

However, because of the incident I am having to limit some of my normal activities at the request of my wife. No more climbing into tree stands or taking long wandering hikes into the mountains of Arkansas, hunting where there is no cell service.

Doctor put me on Plavix as a blood thinner and told me I had a 20% greater chance of having another stroke over the next five years. I have changed my diet and I am continuing to exercise to reduce the chance.

Right now, my eyes still do not focus together 100%, turning my head quickly causes some dizziness, and still a bit of balance issues.

Thanks for any input

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distinguished member(5568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
12/10/2018 10:34AM
Bruce, you're in our thoughts and prayers for continued healing! I think being honest and accurate about explaining your activities to your Neurologist and listening to their opinion is your best bet. But I understand the need to find out about our peers and how they've overcome similar medical issues. Jackfish helped answer a lot of questions for me after my pacemaker surgery. (THANKS AGAIN JACKFISH!)

Please, be very careful with protecting yourself from falls and trauma while on the Plavix, also. You can end up with some nasty bruises, hematomas, and bleeding. You just have to be more deliberate and give up on the riskier activities.

I know Kevin Callan has had some struggles with dizziness and ballance issues. While not a stroke he suffered he was having similar symptoms. I just bet if you reached out to him, he could answer a few questions for you?

Good luck and Godspeed, Bruce!
distinguished member(1473)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/10/2018 11:10AM
I would get in a boat (with someone else) and make sure the rocking motion doesn't aggravate your balance issue. If you feel comfortable, and are medically cleared, than that is a personal decision you and your family will need to decide. Everything we do in life has an inherent risk involved. You just need to decide what your top priorities are. As Curly said, "you just need to figure out the one thing and everything else don't mean s___!"
distinguished member(13146)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
12/10/2018 11:14AM
Could prisms in glasses help make your eyes focus again?
Arkansas Man
12/10/2018 11:51AM
I go back to the Vision Doctor on 12/20 and she has ordered a prism to put on one side of the glasses she ordered for me to have made, if the eyes are not focusing 100% yet. So I am waiting to see at this time...

distinguished member(1474)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/10/2018 02:45PM
Bruce, we took a buddy of mines Dad, he was 75 didn't have a stroke but had balance issues. he and his son took a tow across lac la Croix and took the short portage into tacumich he had a great time he could fish from shore or a canoe. we based camped. It was a good time for him.
12/10/2018 03:06PM

One of the things to discuss with your doctors is.... why do they think you had a stroke? Was it atrial fibrillation, carotid stenosis, a patent foramen ovale....etc. Unfortunately a lot of the time you may never find a cause..."idiopathic". But if you do find a cause (for example, atrial fibrillation) then treating that will decrease your risk for another stroke. Talk to them about your proclivity for adventure and ask their advice specifically about that.

Grandma L
distinguished member(5242)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
12/10/2018 05:19PM
My best advice is get an InReach so you can be tracked via satellite and text back and forth to home. Then, travel with strong, competent paddlers. I am 70 years old and the family will not let me out without a tracking device and good support. And of course - follow doctor's orders but I found having a doc who was a paddler made explaining and understanding better on both ends.
distinguished member(9288)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
12/10/2018 05:29PM
Good job with the dietary and exercise changes. And so sorry it happened.
distinguished member(5157)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
12/10/2018 05:58PM
I think something like an Inreach would allow you to do some of your remote activities while reassuring your wife that you will not keel over unnoticed.

I too had Plavix for a while but found out after two months I could go off it.. You could discuss alternatives with your doctor. It is true that you will bleed more easily if you have even a little trauma

All in all sounds like you are on the right track and I hope you will be able to pursue everything you love.
distinguished member (145)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/10/2018 11:19PM
The other side of the coin...

Is your paddle time something you truly love doing? Would you miss it if you stopped? Is it part of who you are?

Not that I want to be one of the folks who's friend say "At least he was doing something he loved..." Everyone's situation is different, but watching from the sidelines is only ok for a while.

distinguished member (251)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/11/2018 12:02AM
Arkansas Man, it sounds as if you escaped serious disability. Congrats on getting back to work and back to hunting. While dizziness itself can be disabling, it might be treatable. Ask your physician if anti-vertigo medications might be beneficial for your condition.

Once you get back to the BWCA, lay back, close one eye so you can focus then count your luck stars.

Good Luck! Hope you get back to the BWCA soon.
12/11/2018 08:58AM
Pinetree: "Could prisms in glasses help make your eyes focus again?"
I focused really well when I had a Prism looking at me through my glasses. :)

Sorry couldn’t resist... you're in prayers here, too, Bruce.
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