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Hoofbeat

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About Hoofbeat

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  • Location
    Oxfordshire, UK
  • SAH/Stroke Date
    14/11/13

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  1. Hi Ally, If you read back over old posts, you should see details of how I got my driving licence back. For me, my consultants referred me to see the Neuro psychology (NP) team and they did some psychology testing which showed I had strong observational skills, no issues with my memory etc and that NP team wrote an extensive report which I submitted to the DVLA (it also mentioned that my job involved a lot of observational skills and that given I'd returned to work successfully, that suggested I'd compensated for my vision). Based on all of that, my Neurology and Ophthalmologist wrote statements confirming that they supported my application to regain my driving licence which I submitted to the DVLA. They then sent me a temporary driving licence only valid for one day so that I could undertake a driving assessment (I haven't personally known anyone that was given a 'provisional' licence). I had the assesment, and the examiners were happy and recommended to the DVLA that I be reinstated, and thankfully they agreed! Good luck with it all. I'm afraid I don't come on here much any more as I have a toddler to chase after! However, if you look back at all my posts on here it should give you some ideas of the hoops I jumped through to get it back.
  2. Hi Johnnie Yes, I think you could reapply in August this year. I think it's still an 8 week rule that applies: https://www.gov.uk/reapply-driving-licence-medical-condition When contacting the DVLA I refenced the 'Exceptional Circumstances' given on the following page: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visual-disorders-assessing-fitness-to-drive I'd recommend getting your neurologist to confirm that whatever caused your visual field loss was an isolated event (I'm afraid I haven't read any of your previous posts so am not sure what the cause was of your stroke). My understanding is the DVLA need confirmation that the event is not going to happen again. For me all my brain MRIs were clear so they could see that I had no other malformations and as no clot was ever found they knew it wasn't an ischemic stroke so there were no concerns about me having an increased risk of having a stroke in future. I suspect my age (in my late 20s at the time also helped). Unless you can provide evidence to the DVLA that you are not at an increased risk of it happening again I think they will be reluctant to consider you for a licence. I did my test through: http://www.rdac.co.uk/ But it was all organised by the DVLA. Feel free to contact them about information about the assessment - I can't remember many details other than what I already said in my pp. I just had to drive a dual carriageway, around various A & B roads, through a small town and then do the exercises they gave above. I was not allowed to practice in any vehicle before hand (I was sent a driving licence valid for one day only for the test and I had to hand it in at the end of my assessment).
  3. Hi Johnnie, sorry to hear you're a fellow sufferer of peripheral vision loss and apologies for not replying sooner! As one of the previous posters said, I haven't actually been back on this site for a long time and didn't see this until I got a nudge from one of the admins The good news is that after a very long battle I did manage to get my driving licence back and for me life has returned to pretty much normal, so Johnnie don't lose hope just yet. I still have a blind spot on my RHS in my peripheral vision (no improvement since about 6months post the bleed) and officially I do not meet the minimum visual field standards for driving. As a result, the DVLA officially revoked my driving licence in April 2014 (after the bleed in Nov 2013). My neurologist was supportive of me trying to get my licence back - he believed that as it was a haemorrhagic stroke likely to have been caused by a blood vessel malformation (though this has can never be proved) that it was a one-off occurrence and he felt I was at no risk of having a bleed again and he was happy to confirm this to the DVLA. My ophthalmologist was also supportive as she felt that my visual field was 'stable' and would not deteriorate further and in fact was likely to improve; she therefore wrote a letter of support for me driving again. I also under went neuro-psychology testing which confirmed that everything was working from a functional point of view and that my observational skills and general mental capacity were fine. In Sept 2014 (about 8 weeks before my one year anniversary as they will not consider giving you the licence back until after at least 12 months but there website says you can reapply a few weeks before the 1 year) I wrote to the DVLA explaining that I felt that despite my vision loss I would like to apply for re-evaluation based on the fact that I had adapted to my vision loss (I forget the exact reference now in the legal wording, but there is some EU legislation mentioned in all the DVLA medical documents which says you can do this) and sent off letters of support from all of my consultants. The DVLA wrote back saying that they would consider my case, but I could not drive during that time still. In March/April 2015 the DVLA invited me to sit a practical driving test via a disabled driving centre. This was not the same as a learner's test and involved me driving a car around with two examiners in the vehicle and being assessed for how 'safe' I was and how observant. I had to do things like tell them how many roadsigns I saw along a stretch of road and was asked to keep driving down a road until I saw a specific street sign and then turn down that street etc. I didn't have to show that I could park/emergency stop etc, but it was a general driving assessment. I could choose whether to drive a manual or automatic and was warned that based on what I drove, the DVLA might only grant me a specific licence. I originally learnt in a manual but had only driven an automatic for a number of years so I chose to do the assessment in an automatic as I didn't want to not get my licence back because I'd stalled or something (and I'd have rather been given an automatic only driving licence than none at all!). The assessment went fine and the two examiners told me that they felt that I was safe to drive and their recommendation to the DVLA would be that I should be given my licence back. They did however warn me that even though that was their findings this did NOT guarantee I would get my licence back (they said they had still had people denied by the DVLA). After what felt like an eternity, sometime in May after speaking to the DVLA on the phone while at work (they are so slow to post stuff out, so do hassle them on the phone) they told me that I had been given my full manual driving licence back with no special conditions attached, i.e., my licence was fully valid until I was 70 (standard practice in the UK) and I would not need reassessing at any point. They confirmed my licence was immediately valid and I could drive straight away, even before the licence arrived in the post. I didn't quite believe them, but the DVLA website had an online facility and using that I could see that I was legally allowed to drive! Rang my insurers straight away and they were happy to reinsure me (no questions asked and no increase in the premium) and that very evening I went out for a drive with my husband! The very next morning I drove myself to work as if it had never happened and a few days later my licence arrived in the post. I've been happily driving ever since May 2015 (which is great as I now have a baby too and it would have been so difficult not being able to drive). To anyone reading this with peripheral vision loss, my advice is not to give up hope. It may be a very long battle to get it back (it took me 18 months) and there is a chance the DVLA may still decide you can't have your licence, but do your very best to keep fighting. While you can't drive, keep your eye in by always thinking like a driver when you're a passenger in the car - I used to think 'did I see that car?', 'Would I have seen that cyclist when I pulled out?' and get used to your vision loss as much as you can and try to adapt. Get good at scanning your eyes around constantly so you never miss something which was in your blind spot when you just looked ahead. Even now I'm cautious when I'm driving and I'm always scanning the road to see if I missed a vehicle, cyclist etc and I'm sure that skill is what helped me get my licence back. Good luck and keep fighting. ETS: While you can't drive, you can apply for a free local bus pass through your council using the DVLA letter that says you've had your licence revoked due to medical conditions. This allows for free bus travel after 9/9:30am and I found this invaluable. I used to take really slow local buses everywhere and would plan my entire day around one of only a couple of local buses that ran each day! I also used to cycle/walk everywhere and beg friends/family for free lifts!
  4. Good luck Win - keeping my fingers crossed for you
  5. Teecher, thanks for your response - it's given me lots to think about! I've now been on the atenolol for almost a month and I have to admit the difference has been amazing! Whether that's purely a coincidence, I don't know but (touch wood) I haven't had a single migraine or a bad headache at all. Furthermore even my mild headaches have been virtually non-existent - I feel so much better despite being so much busier. However, like you I enjoy exercise (though the distances I run are significantly shorter!!!). I've found even running to the gym (1k) to leave me feeling very worn out, whereas I could quite happily run 6k before. I haven't even tried going for a longer run as when I slow to a walk I do feel slightly light headed (I also have to be careful as being asthmatic the atenolol negates the work my inhaler does!). I have been managing to work out at the gym doing plenty of weights without feeling any different and I can still ride my horse fine, so if it turns out that I have to choose between headaches and running, then I'll definitely choose to end the headaches and forego the running! I'm seeing my GP next week anyways so will chat to them about how I'm feeling on the atenolol (I was originally on one a day, but increased to two a day as recommended by my GP, but maybe I'll see if we could try one a day instead). If I do start getting these 3day blinding headaches again, then I'll certainly see if I can get referred to a specialist headache clinic. However, at the moment I do really believe they are migraines - the blinding pain is always the exact same side of the head, the pain is always predictable (as soon as the pain starts at the base of my skull I know it's a migraine and soon the pain has spread to my left temple), it is persistent, I feel sick with them, bright lights make my head worse and cold/ice seem to make it better. I did have a few similar bad headaches in the months leading up to my bleed but at the time always put them down to something else (e.g., I'd not been drinking enough water, or I had done >6hours of driving and was just tired), but now that I look back they seem to be the same. Also, my understanding is that migraines do often develop in women in their 20s, so I do believe there is quite possibly a chance that they are completely unrelated to the bleed (I understand my cousin used to suffer a lot with them when she was younger too).
  6. Hi Jan Welcome - I hope you find the site useful. I'm another person who just "happened to have a bleed" one day! I don't know whether it was from a vein/artery, but no explicit cause has ever been found for my bleed and no treatment was required - just rest. In my case the bleed was intracerebral rather than subarachnoid (which I think means mine was more serious as it was actually inside the brain rather than in the space around the brain), but there was no aneurysm found and the doctors have told me that we will never know for sure what caused it. They think it was likely I was just born with a deformed blood vessel (known as a cavernous angioma), but we can't prove that as all my scans are now clear. Like you I've just been told rest is all that I need - I'm at no greater risk of having one again and it will just take time for my brain to recover. Unfortunately my bleed was in the visual processing part of my brain so I have been left with a small loss in visual field, but other than that they are hopeful I will make a full recovery. I've just reached the 6month mark and am still suffering with tiredness and headaches, but I definitely feel like I'm now really starting to improve every day. What I've learnt most from this site, is that even if all the doctors tell you that you will be fine, recovery is slow. I kept thinking, I'm going to fight this and in 1/2 months I'll be back to my usual self and ignored the stories from others on here about how long it takes to feel more normal. Now I look back and realise I should have listened more - the recovery is slow, but we'll all get there eventually
  7. Hi all Just wanted to post an update. So I've had a few migraines the last couple of weeks and I still can't find a common cause (other than maybe doing too much!) so I spoke to the GP on Wednesday (a different one as my usual GP wasn't available). He suggested I be put on a preventative migraine medication to see if that makes any difference. He then checked the letter they'd received from my neurologist and this was also what the neurologist recommended if I didn't have much success with Paramax. Both the GP and neurologist thought that we should try me on Atenolol, which is a beta blocker (like what you suggested Karen). He's hoping that it will reduce the chance of the migraines occurring in the first place, but we have to be a bit careful as I'm also slightly asthmatic and beta blockers can set asthma off. However, we're hoping on a low dose we'll be safe and I'm to continue taking Paramax if I do still get any migraines. So I've just picked up my Atenolol prescription and taken my first tablet. The pharmacist assumed I was taken them for panic attacks, but when I told her my history she was rather shocked - not sure she's seen a 27yr old female who's had a brain haemorrhage before! Anyways, she's warned me that the medication will slow my heart and I might end up feeling very tired, so she's going to ring me in 1-2weeks to find out how I'm getting on with the medication. Fingers crossed! Win - I'm sorry I never replied to your post, I mustn't have seen it. I think Migraleve is basically the equivalent of Paramax + Codeine which I've tried but sadly it doesn't always work for me. I'm so pleased they help your daughter though as migraines are so horrible! I never really suffered with headaches until my brain bleed and I don't think I ever fully appreciated how ill my friend's must have felt when they said they had a migraine! I try really hard to stay relaxed and not panic (I'm not too worried about the bleed happening again as all my scans have come back clear now ) but it's definitely easier said than done!
  8. Karen, I'll speak to the GP about propranolol. Iw as just worried as it lowers the BP it might have a blood thinning property, which is something my neurologist is keen to avoid. Jess, I've already been on 10mg of amitriptyline since December to help with my sleep (initially 20mg), but I've been weaning myself off it as I don't like how tired it leaves me in the morning if I try and wake up early (but after 8 hours sleep). I'm starting a phased return to work and am trying to increase my hours slowly so have been trying to come off the amitriptyline (was down to taking it every other day). I did however start taking amitriptyline again on Sat and Sunday night to help with sleep and the pain.
  9. Thanks everyone, I already keep a diary of my life (I'm the sort of person that maps out their every move in a day in advance, so I can always look back at my calendar and see what I was doing before the migraine started) and other than the fact they seem to occur when I'm trying to do more, I can't see a specific cause. None of the usual food/drinks are the cause; I also don't think it's related to hot/cold (e.g., I never get them after going in the sauna at the gym!). I will definitely speak to my GP about migraleve as that doesn't appear to be an NSAID, but over the weekend when I took Paramax with codeine, which I presume is a similar effect to migraleve, it didn't make any difference. I'll ask my GP about propranolol but I wonder if that is a drug they will want to avoid (I have never had high blood pressure, in fact even during my haemorrhage it remained normal).
  10. Does anyone else out there suffer with migraines? Since my bleed 5months ago today, I've occasionally had horrendous headaches that last 3 days and do not respond to the usual paracetamol/codeine (both of which I very rarely take at all now). My GP and neurologist both think these are migraines as they always occur in the same location and only ever on one side of my head (the left). I also generally feel a bit "yuck" with them (sort of nauseous but it doesn't stop me eating and I'm never actually sick) and prefer to lie down somewhere in the dark. My neurologist isn't sure if they're directly related to my bleed or not - apparantly they're common anyway in females of my age but equally he has had patients who seem to develop them after a bleed (mine always start at the back of my head where my haemorrhage was). I was recently started in Paramax and for 6weeks or so this was great. I would start to get that migraine feeling, quickly take 2 of the tablets and thankfully the headache would ease before it developed into a full blown 3 day headache. However, Saturday am I woke up with the symptoms, took the Paramax and it didn't work. All weekend I had a horrendous headache and felt unwell and I still had the headache this morning, although it is finally now starting to ease. As we were away over the weekend (visiting our wedding location and doing the food tasting), I wasn't able to rest either which didn't help. I was just wondering if anyone else out there now suffers migraine and what you have found works for you? I'm booked in to see my GP at the end of this month, but I know she (and my neurologist) are reluctant to put me on triptans as I believe (like NSAIDs which I am also not allowed) they thin the blood. Given we don't have a 100% cause of my haemorrhage (it was thought to be a cavernous angioma), they don't want to give me any drugs that will make my blood any thinner. I've done some Googling, but I'm fairly sure that my migraines aren't related to food (I can't ever find a common factor) and the only thing I can think of is that they do seem to come after I've had a busy few days. I'd appreciate hearing from any other migraine suffers - have you found a cause for yours and have you found something that works to take the pain away?
  11. Hi Joanna I was taken ill abroad with my intracerebral haemorrhage, although the doctors did speak English and I didn't actually require any procedures being carried out, so my situation is quite different from yours. I was in St Lucia in the Caribbean when I suffered my bleed, but whilst the doctors did speak reasonable English, there wasn't a single neurologist on the island! As a result, I ended up being flown to Miami, US on a medical flight, where they had a lot more experience dealing with this kind of thing! I'm now at the 4.5month stage and still suffering with occasional headaches/migraines and fatigue, although I'm definitely improving. I've just started doing a bit of work from home a couple of days a week (my longer term outlook is a bit uncertain as the bleed was in the visual processing part of my brain so I have lost some of my vision leaving me currently unable to drive!). Have you managed to get yourself referred to an English speaking neurologist in Japan? That might be a good idea so you can at least speak to someone who can help with any queries you may have? Good luck with your recovery.
  12. Thanks both Daffs I've just read the thread you linked to. Was reassuring to see lots of you have had NPT, even if in some cases the results were not always what you had expected. It sounds like most of you have found it very useful, with it giving you all some tips on how to improve yourself etc Iola, I hope that I pass the testing as well as you did! I don't really feel like my bleed has changed my ability to think or process. It's more the headaches which lead to tiredness which in turn makes it harder for me to concentrate when my head is pounding! My neurologist has faxed all the information to BUPA, so fingers crossed they will authorise my NPT appointment soon!
  13. Hi When I saw my neurologist a few weeks ago, he gave me the all clear and confirmed that my bleed was resolving itself and there was nothing sinister responsible for it (he thinks it was most likely caused by a cavernoma). However, we discussed my headaches and tiredness, along with my return to work plans and he suggested I get referred to a neuropsychologist for testing. He said he felt I would ace the tests, but the results might give me some reassurance. Since then, I've also started taking migraine medication for the headaches (on his advice) and my head has felt better. As a result I've also started to have more energy, and I have started doing very small amounts of work from home ! I've just had the appointment come through for the neuropsychologist but have been told it's 3 hours long and its going to be a bit of a trek for me to get there. Also, I've just been speaking to BUPA and have discovered there are a few hoops to jump through to get this appointment covered on my policy (I can't afford to pay for it myself and I've heard the wait on the NHS is a while). I'm now in two minds whether to have the appointment or not - I know that my memory is fine and I'm pretty sure my only issues with concentration are a result of my tiredness (it's only when I'm tired that I struggle to concentrate). The fact my neurologist seemed to think I'd find the tests easy also makes me question how useful this appointment will be, especially as I have now started back at work and am increasing my hours slowly. Has anyone every had neuropsychology testing done, and did you find it useful?
  14. Have you tried American Express? I don't have a shunt but they were happy to give me a quote. Otherwise if you contact The Stroke Association they have a list of recommended insurers
  15. Hi Paul I've just gone past the 4 month stage after having an intracerebral bleed. I found the first 3 months hard with regular headaches. I kept being told to take codeine and paracetamol (I was already on Amitriptiline for sleep). However a couple of weeks ago I was chatting to my GP about my worse headaches when she realised I was now suffering from migraines rather than normal headaches! A chat with my neurologist the next day confirmed he thought they were migraines too. I've now got migraine specific medication and wow it makes a difference. Apparently a number of people do develop migraines after a brain injury (although they're also common in women of my age anyways so it might be a coincidence). Obviously we don't know whether you have migraines, but what I'm saying is don't be afraid of hassling your doctors about your headaches. Try and be really descriptive in explaining your pain to doctors - is the pain in one location? does it move? is it only one-side of your head? how long does it last? do you feel sick when your head hurts? Another useful piece of advice I got from Headway was to take regular 10 mins of lying down in the dark to let my brain have some quiet time throughout the day. Try and have a rest before you do anything too intense. Also, as hard as it seems some very gentle exercise is good for you - try going for a gentle short walk when your head hurts. And like others have said, drink lots of water, avoid caffeine and try to eat a, varied diet (but make sure you are also eating enough). Hope you feel better soon - everyone recovers at a different rate, but we all know that at some point we will feel better!
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