Dear Philomena,

December 14th

Messages

Mugabi

Dear Philomena,

I just wanted to let you know that on Saturday night I had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) which is also known as a mini stroke. A TIA happens when the blood flow to a part of the brain is blocked for a short time but there should be no lasting brain damage. This is incredibly worrisome and concerning to me because of my earlier stroke and this may be a sign of further complications. I have been discharged from the hospital but the doctors advised me to relax and not get any work done and to keep an eye on my body to watch for any warning signs. A TIA is often a warning sign for an impending stroke and since the doctors cannot diagnose the true cause of my initial stroke and of the TIA no one really knows what’s going on I am can still consulting and in contact with the doctors and got an MRI done on Saturday night that shows the TIA was not another stroke which is a great sign! I just need to get some more tests done to try to get to the bottom of this. The doctors hope they can figure out what’s going on so we’ll just wait pray hope and see. I’m feeling pretty much recovered though so all is on the up and up!

Cheers,
Mugabi

Missed Call from Philomena

Missed Call from Philomena

Missed Call from Philomena

Philomena

Please pick up your phone!!

Mugabi

I’m sorry I’m not feeling well enough to come to the phone right now but I can text?

Philomena

Oh my god!!!

I don’t even know what to say!!

I’m so sorry!

I’m glad you’re okay, but now I’m worried

I’m glad you’re okay and if you ever need ANYTHING, please let me know!!

I know I’m far away, but know I love you so much! You’re like the brother I never had

You’re family to me. How have the doctors planned on monitoring this?

…….
I’m sorry if I bothered you, I’m literally shaking right now. So many questions. What? With who? Any triggers? What’s happening? How are you mentally/emotionally/spiritually/physically? Why so awkward in the initial text? Are you sure you’re fine talking about this over text? :((((((((((
I so want to give you a hug right now!

Mugabi

LOTS of questions ha

Philomena

Glad you haven’t lost your sense of humour and love of emphasis. Are you sure you’re fine with talking in detail over text? I’m incredibly worried about you Mugabi. Wow!! I still can’t believe it, this is so incredibly surreal. You know like when Cristiana passed and we had those weeks of disbelief where it always seemed like she was around the corner and it was one big joke?

Oh my goodness, I’m incredibly sorry! I don’t mean that you’re going to die. No. No. No. Definitely not. God forbid!

So I’m glad it didn’t turn out to be a stroke and that you’re feeling better!! What happened? Did you faint? I’m sad to hear that that’s going on! I will keep you in my prayers and definitely don’t stress yourself out too?! I hope they figure out what’s going on soon!

Mugabi

So I was working on a paper for my finals and I started feeling my stroke symptoms resurging. This is the FIRST TIME EVER in my life that I felt those exact same symptoms aside from my stroke at 9 years old. It was beyond terrifying. Terrifying doesn’t do it justice. I’ve told you time and time again what the only two things I’m genuinely sensitive about are. The two things nobody steps on or I snap. My two greatest fears in life. The things I fear even more than death. Having another stroke and any more of my immediate family/besties passing away. And it happened

Philomena

I love you.

Mugabi

Thank you

Philomena

Take all the time you need. I’m here for you and always will be.

Mugabi

Alright so what I was saying was I felt another stroke coming on. The same symptoms came back. The right side of my face was drooping, there was a heaviness in my right arm and leg, my feet were feeling hot, I felt tingling and numb sensation all over my body, I had a miserable miserable headache one of the worst I’ve ever had in my life- it felt like my head was about to split open- I had a high fever and I felt like I was about to pass out. I had no sense of balance everything was spinning and I felt super light headed. So I was down in the basement of my co-op working on a paper when this all happened right? So I was hella freaking out and decided to pack up my stuff, head up to my room to lay down and try and calm down.

On top of all of this, I hadn’t taken my medication in like 3 days because I was super busy and just hadn’t got around to picking up my medication refill. This had been at the back of my mind all weekend as an annoyance but when I got up to my room I realized that that was the longest I had ever gone without my medicine since my stroke at 9 years old!! Then I started seriously freaking out, hyperventilating and panicking. I had no idea what would happen to me if I went this long without my medication but I had a feeling it was another stroke so I took aspirin (which is sort of like a weaker version of the blood thinners I’m on) and lay down and tried to rest. While resting, I started flashing back to my stroke and remembering everything I felt then that I was feeling now:

-one of the worst headaches of my life: check
-heaviness of right limbs: check
-high fever: check
-tingling and numbness: check
-feeling weirdly hot in some places: check
-dizziness: check
-lack of balance: check
-right side of my face drooping: check
-light headedness: check
-loss of ability to speak: Hmmmm

That hadn’t happened yet so I started speaking to myself and what happened next was hella weird. My voice wasn’t gone but it felt like I was a ventriloquist because I was talking and my voice to sound like it wasn’t coming from me. It felt like it was coming from the wall on the opposite end of the room which terrified me into action. So I grabbed my medicine and grabbed my roommate who gave me a ride to the emergency room. While I was having a stroke and stumbling into the emergency room supported by my roommate we were stopped TWICE before entering to ask if I had traveled to West Africa and was an ebola threat SMH. So I got admitted into the hospital and was jabbed with a million and one needles, had doctor after doctor come in and talk to the ‘fascinating case’ and had a CAT scan done. Bambi my roommate was such a sweetheart and stayed there for the first couple of hours with me. After 6 hours of laying in the hospital most of the symptoms I was feeling had significantly reduced and I was feeling back to normalish albeit sleep deprived.

So the doctors came in with a final diagnosis, they said I had a TIA which was definitely not caused by me not taking my medication for a while (phew!). The worrying/terrifying/crappy thing is a TIA is often a warning sign for a future stroke and they have absolutely no idea what caused this TIA. So the doctors are going to run a bunch of tests to try to get to the bottom of this and I’m back to feeling like a lab rat again for the first time since I was 9 years old. I hate uncertainty.

Philomena

Hella long text! I’m reading and will reply ASAP! Hugs!

Mugabi

Lol you always said I had a way with words

…….

Philomena

Ok so I just want to say that you are seriously legit one of the strongest people that I know. You dealing with a hell of a lot right now Mugabi, how many people can say that their worst fears ever in life were realized more than once and that they handled it with such grace. You are incredibly terrified right now, I get that but never mistake fear for weakness because you are alone without family or close friends in a place you have barely been in for a few months and encountering a terrifying medical emergency. You are an incredibly stressful situation having to deal with this on finals week of all times but are handling this with an incredible amount of fortitude. Heck there is no way in hell that I would be able to handle what you are dealing with right now and being as vulnerable and courageous as you are. You are in my prayers my friend!!
You are in an incredibly terrifying situation right now. Ugh. I wish I could be more reassuring right now, but I have like zero medical knowledge. Will your family come to visit you? I don’t like the idea of you bring in Michigan alone. Let me know if you need anything else at all, if there is anything else that I can do for you or if you want to talk.

Mugabi   

Thank you so very much for your kind words and support my friend 🙂 My sister Tina wanted to come down but I want to get out of Michigan for a bit cause it reminds me too much of what happened, so I’m still planning on heading back home for Christmas.

Philomena

I’ll keep you in my thoughts every day and pray that this is just a passing thing. Are they going to alter your blood thinners? Like give you a higher dose?

Mugabi

They said they aren’t going to alter the dose because a higher dose would have severe side effects. Like I would bleed out to death if I get cut  on stronger blood thinners

Philomena

$#@!

Mugabi

Lol

Philomena

I’m not sure how I feel about you heading home and being inside a pressurized cabin sitting down for such a long time.

Mugabi

That’s exactly what my Mom said. I’m still mentally debating and I’m going to run more tests and run the flight by the doctors.

Philomena

Alrighty, just remember you have options and make a decision when you’re fully informed. How are your family dealing with all of this?

Mugabi

Terrified, but trying to be strong.

Philomena

Makes sense. Alrighty well I’m off to bed but wake me up and let me know if you need ANYTHING at all of if you just want to talk. I’ll check on you tomorrow. Have a goodnight 🙂

Mugabi

Sleep tight my friend 🙂 Thanks for being there

Philomena

Always know you can tell me anything. I’m so incredibly sorry that you’re dealing with this, but if there’s anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m your sister from another African mister. You’re my brother from another African mother

Mugabi

Philomena

And I’ll send you ridiculous snapchats throughout the day to distract you. Now go get some rest

Mugabi

Hahaha, much appreciated! Will do, sweet dreams!

Philomena

You too Mugsy! Love you!

 

In December 2014 I suffered from 2 back to back stroke-like events which led to me suffering from:
 – severe chronic widespread pain in every single part of my body for every single second of the day
severe chronic fatigue and weakness to the extent that I could not get out of bed some days because I did not have the energy to
– heavy footed sensations
– chronic dizziness and lightheaded feelings
-sensations of intense heat and motion throughout my body
-non-epileptic seizures in the form of violent, painful and exhausting spasms and convulsions that lasted anywhere from 2 minutes to 2 hours
– shortness of breath
– hot flashes and feverish feelings
– insomnia
– migraines
– a deep depression
Dear Philomena, my upcoming debut novel, is the story of 1/3 worst years of my life
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