Another Opinion

My PCP referred me to Dr. Waltke, a vascular surgeon, for his expert advice on whether there was any preventative care that could be taken to prevent another stroke. He disagreed that the anomaly in my right vertebral artery caused the stroke.

Original suspect area

Original suspect area

He told me about how the vertebral arteries join back together in the brain and that the area of my brain that was swollen is after that join. (Although, looking through the scans it seems to me that the join in much higher in the head. Maybe I heard him wrong.)

Joined arteries

Where vertebral arteries join back together


Bright Area is Swollen Cerebellum

Damaged area after the joining of vertebral arteries?

So, even if my left vertebral artery was twisted, pinched, abnormal the right vertebral artery would have supplied the blood needed to that part of the brain.In fact, the spot where it tapers and then bulges that everyone, including myself, suspected was the culprit wasn’t of concern to him.

He mentioned my Circle of Willis, like 40% of the population, wasn’t complete and the front and rear arteries didn’t join together. This wasn’t the cause, but if they were joined there’s a chance I wouldn’t have had the stroke.

Missing Posterior Communicating Artery? Or me talking out my a$$?

Missing Posterior Communicating Artery?

Dr. Waltke thought there was probably something that “broke off [from the side of an artery]” and clogged the artery to that part of the brain. At this point I’m hoping my brother can call him and get a better understanding. I’m not a doctor and I don’t remember all that he said.

Just a creepy image

Stenosis of my PICA

On my way to lunch at Saddlebrook, my brother called and spit out a lot of information at me. What I caught was this: there might be a stenosis of my PICA and I might have had a small dissection which caused the lack of blood flow to my cerebellum. I could have another scan (CT angiography?) of my neck which might or might not determine if I had a dissection. But even then, it might not change the treatment. I’ll bring this up with my PCP next time I see him.


I’ll try to catch you (really just myself) up with what has happened since my last blog post.

Monday was a holiday (New Year’s observed) so I did nothing.

Tuesday afternoon I went to see the PA (physicians assistant) at the ENT. The regular guy was too busy. Christi dropped me off and I waited for a couple of minutes. A little girl Alyssa went before me. I was led to the examination room by the PA (who didn’t introduce himself until we were in the room – weird). He asked some questions, but I think he was mostly going by what notes were sent to him. (From clinic doctor, ER, Christi? I don’t know.) When he left to get something to remove some excess ear wax I really didn’t feel like I had any answers. I had a hearing test done and then went to a different examination room to meet with the PA again. I was determined to get more answers. And I did. He answered all my questions and then gave me his 3 guesses: Ménière’s, labrynthitis or headache. Continue reading


Friday at 3:00 PM I walked from my cube on the 4th floor to my car parked ½ a block away to put in my last 2 dollar coins so the meter would be paid until 5:oo PM.  I ran down without a coat since I wouldn’t be that long.

I reached down into the car and grabbed the 2 dollars. When I stood up I felt “off”. I was slightly dizzy. I’m not sure if my neck “popped” as it usually does or if it just hurt. I noticed that the right side of the back of my throat felt icy cold and I was walking with a slight gait to the right and was bumping the right wall if I didn’t consciously pull myself to the left.

I noticed my right thumb and index finger “go numb” as if they had “fallen asleep”.

As I reached my desk I looked up the systems for a stroke which included dizziness and numbness along with a crooked smile and slurred speech. I checked my smile with a small mirror at my desk. Nothing different – I naturally have a slightly crooked smile. I mumbled to myself and thought I sounded ok, but to be sure I called my wife at home. She concurred that I sounded ok, but mentioned my company’s in-house doctor’s clinic and suggested I stop by. Continue reading