If hearing about other people's medical stuff isn't your thing, you won't offend me by skipping this. I find writing and sharing my thoughts here mentally helpful. However, I realize this won't be everyone's cup of tea.
I've seen two neurologists in Jakarta and had MRI, EEG, and TCCD tests. Both neurologists agree that I've had a mini stroke. The M1 segment of the middle cerebral artery on the left side of my brain has blood flow that is too rapid. This is likely because of blood clotting from the mini stroke that is partially obstructing the artery. The cause of the mini stroke remains unknown. I continue to not have any identified major risk factors for strokes.
The blood clotting and rapid blood flow have led to brain tissue swelling in my left hippocampus and my inferior temporal lobe. This swollen lesion is causing periodic brain seizures that both neurologists qualify as partial epilepsy.
The seizures make me feel extremely lightheaded, make me smell intense rancid odors that aren't real, and sometimes lead me to hyperventilate. (Perhaps the hyperventilation is more of a reaction on my part. I'm working to see if I can control it.)
I'm now on two anti-seizure medicines and a brain health supplement. (The supplement is from China, is popular in Asia, and is unapproved by the FDA for sale in the US. Such fun.) These meds have gotten me down to roughly one seizure every two days. This is much better than the 1-2 seizures per day I was having before the meds. My hope is that they will continue to reduce seizures as they build up in my system.
I was also on a vasodilator medication for three days to try and help clear the artery. The vasodilator led to crushing pain in my head, neck, and shoulders. I often couldn't sleep and at times vomited. It would appear my blood vessels do not enjoy being dilated. I will shortly be trying Aspirin 81 instead and seeing how that goes.
I will likely need to be on medications for years or perhaps for the rest of my life in an attempt to clear the artery and suppress the seizures. No operation is likely possible given that the artery is very small and located deep in my brain.
On Saturday, I will be seeing a third neurologist in Singapore. He is insanely credentialed all over the world and even has connections to Duke University. I don't know if he can help me any further. But, I'll be glad to get a third opinion before the holidays hit.
Mentally and emotionally, I'm actually in a better place than I would've expected. I've been very impressed with my doctors. We are making progress with meds to reduce my seizures. I'm looking forward to the Singapore consultation. And, I'm excited to get to the US soon to see some family and friends over the holidays.
I again want to thank my amazing wife, my incredible family, and my awesome friends for being so supportive of me during this period. Your check-ins and kind words have continued to mean the world to me. I remain lucky to have you all. I will continue to share more updates here as I have them.