I don't have a many more answers. I have had two more (much smaller) TIAs (Tuesday, 4/27 and Sunday, 5/2) since I've been home from my Chico adventure. And I have had one Misdiagnosis: An ER doc, during a visit after my 2nd episode, told me I was having migraine variants (w/o pain), definitely not TIA, and I should see a neurologist for confirmation.
I met said neurologist, who I liked very much, this past Tuesday. He reviewed all my prior tests and interviewed me extensively. He performed a few neurological tests, and concluded the ER doc was wrong. Definitely TIA. He added a shiny new med to my life: Plavix. A blood thinner. They tell me I'll bleed a lot more if I get cut and I'll bruise really easily. Side effects include nausea and dizziness, so I'm taking it at bedtime so I can sleep through the worst of it. My neurologist also ordered several more blood tests, a chest x-ray, and a trans-esophagial echocardiogram (TEE) by a cardiologist to rule out heart issues as the cause of my TIAs. I have lots of acronyms, now.
I had the TEE yesterday morning. I had to be at the hospital at 5:30am after fasting since midnight. Basically they put me under completely so they could put an ultrasound camera down my throat to check out my heart from behind, making sure there isn't a hole, arrythmia, problem with the valves, etc. All totally normal and properly functioning. I spent the rest of the day fairly sleepy because of the anesthesia and with a very sore throat. But, this is one big thing crossed off the list of what could be causing my problem. I will see the neurologist again in less than 2 weeks, but until then, we wait, we trust, and we pray.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said "Faith is taking the first step when you don't see the whole staircase." We choose to walk by faith through all of this, knowing that God's timing and purpose is more important that knowing a definitive answer right now. I haven't had any recurrence since I started the Plavix, which is good news. I have been back to work for a few days, with intermittent time off for the many doctor appointments, and am gradually feeling more like myself. It is great to be back with my goofy 6th graders, who actually missed me when I was gone. We have 3 1/2 weeks left in the school year and I really desire to finish well. Limited energy is one of the issues with which I still contend, and I'm trying to listen to my body and rest when I need to.
I struggle mentally with the idea that I can't do everything for everyone all the time right now, but God continues to show me that He is in control and to reveal the great value in stillness and quiet. I really don't know what the next step is going to be, whether or not I will really ever get a definitive answer for the cause of the problem.
I was reminded yesterday of this scripture:
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion says my soul, therefor I will hope in Him."
Throughout these past two weeks, I have definitely seen His mercies new every day. James and the kids have really stepped up these past two weeks, taking on extra chores, helping around the house, ironing their own clothes, and taking great care of me. I am deeply grateful for all the prayers and support form those around us, our amazing family and friends, near and far. God's strength has sustained us because of these prayers and all the practical help.