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I wasn't going to talk about this too much, because it really isn't as big of a deal as it sounds, but...I've had massive headaches for a few weeks now, and I went to the doctor who sent me for an MRI...it indicated a stroke that happened "sometime in the recent past". Not good, especially at age 33. My question is: what effect does this have on playing? I have no lingering effects, but I'm worried that if I play something with too much resistance that it might cause problems. The doctors have put me on a bunch of medications, but no one was able to give me a great answer on this question.
 

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I know that strokes can cause muscle control problems. Have you noticed any problems playing fast stuff?
 

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No advice re: playing from your doctor? That's odd. I know the passion for playing can be strong, but don't let it take priority over longevity, if that becomes your choice. I'd definitely get a read from my doctor on whether playing could cause a relapse, or exacerbate the symptoms.

It's not exactly the same, but I was playing in a jazz (big) band a few weeks ago next to an elderly 2nd tenor player - about 80 years old - and learned that just five weeks earlier he had undergone a quintuple bypass. I was dumbfounded that he was sitting next to me five weeks later playing tenor sax in a jazz band. I asked him whether he had a doctor's release to do it and he said, "I felt like dong it, so here I am."
 

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Dang J.Max, you're young. I hope it didn't have any enduring negative effect on you.
 

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goodsax said:
...It's not exactly the same, but I was playing in a jazz (big) band a few weeks ago next to an elderly 2nd tenor player - about 80 years old - and learned that just five weeks earlier he had undergone a quintuple bypass. I was dumbfounded that he was sitting next to me five weeks later playing tenor sax in a jazz band. I asked him whether he had a doctor's release to do it and he said, "I felt like dong it, so here I am."
Amazing the way they get these elderly people up and around after major surgery nowadays, isn't it?

J.Max, sorry to hear about your problem, I hope you have a quick and full recovery. If I were in your situation I'd want to have a thorough discussion with my doctor about any possible adverse affects of playing. I might also search websites such as the Mayo Clinic's or the National Stroke Association's to see what info they might have about the aftermath of a stroke.
 

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Max, sorry to hear about that; I hope you get well soon. Please talk to your doctor before playing again.
 

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Strokes

I've had one stroke, and 5 TIA's. After the first stroke, I was unable to play, work or much of anything else for several months. The TIA's would leave me worthless for anywhere from a couple of days to about a week (my wife says it's closer to 35 years!). Primary symptoms have been loss of memory, inability to continue coherent thoughts, numb lips and my wife says my left foot drags when I get tired.

I am playing in church only now, primarily because practice time and stage time are not very long. Last night I had trouble picking out a melody, today I can do it. I am still able to transpose on the fly. I had to change to rubber mouthpieces in order to feel the mouthpiece better than small profile metal pieces. I guess it's like any other body malfunction, you learn to adjust and make allowances.


I invite you to PM me with your phone number, and I will try to answer any questions I can.

Randy
 

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I can't add to the medical advice given above, but I sure wish you good health! Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
goodsax said:
No advice re: playing from your doctor? That's odd. I know the passion for playing can be strong, but don't let it take priority over longevity, if that becomes your choice. I'd definitely get a read from my doctor on whether playing could cause a relapse, or exacerbate the symptoms.

It's not exactly the same, but I was playing in a jazz (big) band a few weeks ago next to an elderly 2nd tenor player - about 80 years old - and learned that just five weeks earlier he had undergone a quintuple bypass. I was dumbfounded that he was sitting next to me five weeks later playing tenor sax in a jazz band. I asked him whether he had a doctor's release to do it and he said, "I felt like dong it, so here I am."
I'm going to see a different doctor in a few weeks...the neurologist I saw was absolutely terrible, and was actually extremely rude to my wife and myself, so I'm going to see someone else. I'll ask about playing then.

Really, this situation isn't as bad as it sounds. I got lucky in that my main effect is just headaches (no paralysis or anything like that.). I have some memory problems too, but I'm not sure if that's really an effect of the stroke or just me. It was really minor, but I'm just afraid of causing another one. I wouldn't have even brought it up on this forum except that I figured that someone might have had a similar experience.
 

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I have played in a sax section for many years with a local tenor player who had his first stroke over 25 years ago. That set him back for a while but he is approaching 80 years old now with numerous health problems and he still plays very well indeed. I truly believe his talent and interest in music has been part of what keeps him going despite having had a few strokes, prostate cancer and a heart attack.
 

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Since I'm also involved in a health issue right now, I will observe that it seems many of the SOTW regulars are having health issues these days. I appreciate you sharing this J. Max. Good luck and God Bless.!
 

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There's guy in my community band that has had a couple of minor strokes. He's in his mid 50's. His ability to play has been effected a little, short term memory is not as good, and he slurs his words when he gets overly tired. Ed is still one hell of a trumpet player. The only thing that gets him upset about all of this is that he can't drink with his meds.
I hope this new doc will give you some good news.
 

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J.Max you have my total simpathy and support, from all of us on SOTW I believe! It is a very rude wake up call to receive so early in life and be made aware of how frail is the human body, even when it is young and strong, and how much should one treasure everything that otherwise might be so easily taken for granted. You were lucky enough to escape without any serious damage and I wish you all the best of luck for the future.
By all means ask your doctor and there are several doctors among the members here to be offering some advise, maybe they will respond.
Best of luck and keep in touch! ;) :)
 

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Hi

Great to hear the effects were not too bad for you - but you have many questions to ask your new neurologist.

Was it a bleed or a blockage? - If a bleed, then was it from a weak vessel (such as having an weakening bulge in the wall or aneurysm) might it happen again, are there others, can they be sealed if so?

If a blockage - where did the clot come from that blocked it. Is your pulse regular? Is there thickening of your main neck arteries? Might you have a small hole from one chamber of the heart to the other (PFO)? Might you have an echocardiogram, and / or trans oesophageal cardiogram to look for it?

Is this a sign of other pathology - other vessel disease that if you knew you had you could minimise the risk of by intervention. Or any reason your blood clots more readily.

Just some quick questions that come to mind - there will be others
 

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Hi-

Best wishes in your recovery and management. My daughter goes to school with a 17 year old girl (healthy, pretty basketball player) who recently suffered a stroke and has suffered some paralysis; it isn't alway old Aunt Hazel who has these things!

Sounds like you are doing the right thing in finding a physician who you will be able to work with. Being an educated patient, learning about your condition and working with your treatment providers will be the ticket to managing this issue. This is not one of those things that Dr. House will conjur up some cure once he figures out the precise diagnosis. It will be ongoing, and you will soon discover that you are as smart or smarter than many of your docs. Be skeptical but not cynical.

Take good care. As a completely unqualified opinion: I doubt that that the resistance from playing will put you at increased risk of another stroke. Check it out with others that know more, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Chris J said:
Hi

Great to hear the effects were not too bad for you - but you have many questions to ask your new neurologist.

Was it a bleed or a blockage? - If a bleed, then was it from a weak vessel (such as having an weakening bulge in the wall or aneurysm) might it happen again, are there others, can they be sealed if so?

If a blockage - where did the clot come from that blocked it. Is your pulse regular? Is there thickening of your main neck arteries? Might you have a small hole from one chamber of the heart to the other (PFO)? Might you have an echocardiogram, and / or trans oesophageal cardiogram to look for it?

Is this a sign of other pathology - other vessel disease that if you knew you had you could minimise the risk of by intervention. Or any reason your blood clots more readily.

Just some quick questions that come to mind - there will be others
I had an echocardiogram, and they said it was normal, as was a corroded doppler test. They said that the actual "event" was a lacunar infarct, whatever that means.
And thanks for the questions to ask...I really don't even know where to begin on this.
 

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J.Max said:
I had an echocardiogram, and they said it was normal, as was a corroded doppler test. They said that the actual "event" was a lacunar infarct, whatever that means.
And thanks for the questions to ask...I really don't even know where to begin on this.
Hi
I had heart failure and blockage of the carotid artery two years ago necesitating unblocking of the artery, a new valve and a quadruple bypass. I was a heavy smoker, but luckily my lungs were not damaged but had very little air capacity and I felt like I had been hit by a freight train for almost six months after I was released from the hospital. I was encouraged by my cardiologist to get active, excercise and was encouraged to play as soon as I was released although I could only play very short phrases. I used an unresistant setup for a while but now I'm in better shape than before the incident. I work out at the gym 4 or 5 days a week play my horns every day and show no symptoms any more. There are too many things that can kill us and all I can do is live life to the fullest and not fear what I have no control over.
 

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A lacunar infarct is the blockage type, rather than bleed. The person to advise you is your neurologist, with all reports and results etc to hand - but the worry with a stroke and playing a wind instrument would be more with a bleed than a blockage.

Blowing an instrument means sometimes straining, which can increase blood pressure which could burst a weakness in a blood vessel. That does not seem to be the case for you.

A lacunar infarct means that an artery quite deep in your brain has had a blockage. That blockage would normally have lodged there because it has drifted there having come from a wider part of the artery system further away.

The common place for them to drift away from are the carotid arteries. They have been scanned by doppler ultra sound and you say they are ok. The other place for them to come from is the heart. If you had heart valve disease, or an irregular heart beat, that sometimes allows a clot to form, and a bit to break off and lodge in the brain.

The way blood circulates is that having gone around the body, it returns to the right side of the heart and is circulated around the lungs to get oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. From the lungs it goes to the left side of the heart which shoots it round the body. The point of explaining that is that there is little opportunity for a clot to join the blood stream from the lungs, back to the heart and back into the body. So a big suspect should be a hole between the chambers of the heart (something that is there in all of us when developing in the womb, but usually closes when born) where a clot can pass from the right side (having directly returning from the body by large veins) into the left side to be shot back into the body, missing out the fine vessels of the lungs (which it would not get through)

Echocardiograms can see most holes, but there are more sensative investigations than that (trans-oesophageal ultrasound scan) that can usually see the ones that a normal echocardiogram might miss. If a hole is found, it is relatively easy to mend it.

In the mean time, you need to also find out if you should be anticoagulated, so that your blood does not clot so readily. You might be advised to take aspirin daily until further decisions are made.

But you should only act on the advice of the clinician in charge of your care
 

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Just out of curiosity J.Max did or do you have any of the risk factors:

Overweight/obese.

Total Cholesterol (LDL too high) and HDL low.

Hypertension.

Also do you:

Smoke

What's your diet like. Heart healthy or unhealthy.
 

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J.Max, like so many others, I wish you best of luck. Hopefully, now that you know what you are up against, you will be able to turn this thing around.
 
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