Good news after Mom's stroke; anyone have experience with surgery due to hardening of the arteries?

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Hi, If you're interested, the background info is in my discussion thread

" Oh No, I Really Messed Up"

Or something like that.
So Mom had a stroke and a seizure in my car, 5 minutes after leaving the ER. They said she was fine. Yeah OK! I brought her back and she was admitted. She had a CT scan, EEG, MRI and a sonogram of her neck. She also had x Ray's of her chest and back. I insisted they give her the MMA test. One in the morning, again at noonish then at night. Because I learned here that different times of the day matter....Thank You, I learned so much on this site.
She aced all three. I was told by neurologist, dementia can only be verified post mortem.

EEG showed she did have a seizure. MRI showed one full stroke and some mini strokes, all on the right side of brain. X ray's showed, pneumonia and arthritis in lower back.

The diagnosis that really thrilled me,
( well not thrilled, but gave me hope, if that makes sense)
was her carotid arteries are clogged. The right one has 30 percent narrowing and the left is narrowed by 70 percent! Which, of course, means one is functioning at 70 percent and the other at only 30 percent! WOW!

No wonder she is always dizzy and bounces off walls. And Is confused and forgetful. Poor girl, she's not getting enough blood to the brain!

The hospitalist and neurologist were hell bent on finding a cause for the stroke. And bless their cotton socks, they sure did.

Actually, they say they never say anything with a 100 percent accuracy, but they are satisfied it was the clogs in the neck arteries.

The surgeon said pieces of the gunk that's in the arteries, loosen and shoot up to the brain. Crazy right?! In Mom's case it wasn't the left artery, the one that's seventy percent clogged, that did it. It was the right one. Because the pieces don't shoot up and move across to the opposite side.

So now Mom is a high stroke risk. We're praying the loaded
(70 o/o) artery doesn't shoot a piece up just right, like the lesser of the two did. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed. Lol

She will have surgery in 6 to 8 weeks from now on the 70 percent clogged one. Then 6 to 8 weeks after that, the other one will also be cleaned out.

She will be awake for both surgeries as the surgeon needs to ask her questions and have her move certain parts of her body during the operation.

I told Mom, who was freaked out by being awake, that I had 3 C-sections and was awake for them all. So she can do it. 😉

Is anyone familiar with surgery due to hardening of the arteries?

Thanks for reading, this has been extremely rough.

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Hi Veronica, we met the surgeon at the hospital. He did say it is a procedure he's performed many times, on people much older then Mom. Mom is 72. But I damn sure will ask what his track record is. We've come too far to slack on her care now. Thank you!

Golden, we will see how she is after both surgeries and recovery. Hopefully we can work something out that makes everyone happy. But I agree, all options are open.

97yroldmom, a 98 yr old had this surgery?! God bless them, I don't know if I'd even care enough if I was 98 looking at any surgery. But it is great to hear it turned out so well for them!

Cwillie, we were advised to watch foods, her diabetes and she's been put on a statin plus baby aspirin. Her bp has never been a problem.

Hi Barb, hehe I could use a Xanax or 6... LOL! Me and Mom have the same Dr so she knows what's going on. And I go in the exam room with Mom, but she sure doesn't go in with me. ;)

Thank a million everyone!
Gotta run, Mom's at the back door talking to a possum....oy😞😩
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Pepsee
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Pepsi just make sure the surgeon you choose is experienced in this procedure. You don't want some greenhorn poking about in Mom's neck.
It can be a pretty simple proceedure in skilled hands and I can't stress enough the need for skilled hands. Ask the surgeon how many of these he has done and his death rate. Morbid questions I know but you have to nail their feet to the floor.
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Reply to Veronica91
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cwillie - great that lifestyle changes and meds made such a difference. I understand your anger about the drs not being more proactive.

Good luck, pepsee. It is great the diagnosis has been made and a treatment plan is in place. As to where your mum should live should depend on an assessment done on her abilities after this procedure has been done. I read that you are prepared to care for her in your home. Please don't underestimate the adjustments, work, and stress involved in this and do make a back up plan. Caring for her may become too much for your family eventually.
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Reply to golden23
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I had a customer one time who told me about the before and after experience of his 98 yr old father and this surgery. It was amazing the difference it made.

I’m so glad you are on the job with your mom.

I have an uncle in his 80s who has lost his vision from strokes and has been told that he has both sides clogged. I forget the percentage. He hasn’t decided to have the surgery yet. My cousin who is caring for him and her mom (Parkinson’s on hospice) is not pushing it. Says it is his decision. He is under care of the same cardiologist as his wife who just received a new pacemaker a few months ago. All so interesting as to the decisions we witness.

Thanks for sharing Pepsee. Your mom has been through so much. You are made of strong stuff.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Poor Pepsee and poor mom! She mist be terrified and so very sad.

Was there any Xanax for you, dear girl?

You might want to share what stress you're under with YOUR doc! ((((Hugs)))))))
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Hi Barb, she is on Xanax "as needed" now. And boy did she need them yesterday! My little nephew, the one who lost his Mom, graduated kindergarten yesterday. Mom cried all day because sil wasn't there to see it. She cries for my brother who is doing this w/o his wife and the kids not having their Mom either. Triple whammy.

So much involved here.

Shake, Mom really has no choice but to chance the surgery, as the gook is spitting up all the time. The series of sonograms verified this. It is nerve racking either way. But thanks so very much for sharing your experiences with this. Please watch your Mom and the positions she puts her head in. Docs advised absolutely no laying head back in the wash basin at beauty salon, no turning head to talk or watching TV. Nothing that might cut off blood flow or upset artery. Her stroke was the result of the 30 percent blockage....scary for sure.

Snoopy, Yes, I hate when there's no cause for a problem. And the only recourse is trying to treat the symptoms. Grrrrr.
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Reply to Pepsee
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I'm glad she is a candidate for surgery, but medication and lifestyle options shouldn't be discounted. When my mom was 90? she was referred to a neurologist who specialized in stroke prevention and he did an advanced ultrasound of her carotids. His approach was to aggressively treat mom's cholesterol levels with statins and lower her BP as well as recommending a mostly vegan diet. I was amazed to see the side by side comparison of her ultrasound scans when she went in for a followup appointment, the plaques in her arteries were dramatically reduced. It made me angry at the time that no one had bothered to try this approach before the damage from multiple TIAs had already been done.
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Reply to cwillie
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Pepsee, they should be giving your mom anti anxiety meds now, did anyone ask about that? You don't want her freaked out! And she will be given meds like valium before the procedure. She'll be awake, but not anxious.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Pepsee, this is good news! I am so glad for you and your mom. It must be a relief to have an action plan, which when implemented will hopefully start improving things for your mom. Yay!
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