How it all began

47 miles door to door this morning, with the good cyclists of VC Revolution, and not a seizure in sight.

It’s good to be back, and VCR have had their fair share of my ‘condition’, so I’m pleased to have got through a decent paced club run without one (or a crash).

(Cue wavy picture transition, bad movie indication of a memory being recalled. I look up whimsically, slightly to the left….)

Last November I was returning from a solitary, but high paced cycle ride and about a mile from home squirted some water into my mouth for a drink.

The stream of water hit a broken tooth I had and all of a sudden I got this almost electric shock type feeling down my right hand side. My head went totally fuzzy, my balance went and I had to get off the bike and stand at the side of the road.

It passed after a few minutes, and made me think – well that was strange, I must have hit an exposed nerve in that broken tooth. Better get it fixed.

Fast forward a month or so and I’m out with VC Revolution on our regular Saturday morning club run. At about 30 miles, there’s a sprint for two 30 mph signs and I joined in.

As soon as I went through the finish line (at about 10th since you ask…), I again had one of these strange episodes. My head went totally fuzzy, my right hand side completely numb, and I had to get off the bike.

Two lads stopped with me and asked if I was OK (probably thinking the poor dear has pushed too hard for the 30 sign). And I found I couldn’t speak, my words came out totally garbled. All I could do was indicate I was OK with a thumbs up.

After three minutes or so and with my speech restored I felt fine. I got back on the bike and chastised myself for not yet having gone to the dentist.

Fast forward another month to Majorca and I’m in a sauna (not THAT type of sauna), with some other cyclists having just finished a long hard ride (like I say, not THAT type of sauna, OK?) It’s blummin hot and after 15 mins we get out, and again another episode strikes.

Again, I can’t speak clearly to the other two who are asking me if I’m having a stroke, and should they call an ambulance?

When I’ve recovered, I tell them about my broken tooth which has somehow become the story I’ve convinced myself of.

Another couple of weeks go by and I’m out with VC Revolution again.

Same drill. I’m working hard on the bike, and suddenly my head goes fuzzy, my right hand side goes numb, I have to get off the bike sharpish (not easy, when you’re cycling at the front of a pack of 20 guys), and cyclists are surrounding me taking random shots in the dark (asthma? overcooked it? ambulance?) while I’m failing to tell them what’s wrong, and someone somewhere is mumbling something about toothache.

An hour later, on the same ride, I have another one.

So, I finally book my appointment at the dentist, and for the grand sum of £49 have the tooth that is giving me trouble removed. That should have been the end of it.

A month (and a bike crash) later, I’m back on the turbo trainer (a static bike) tying to get up to fitness after being off the bike because of the stitches in my arm and the torn shoulder. I’m just getting into the swing of things when – you’ve guessed it…

But this time, it feels really serious. Full on numbness, the right hand side of my face turned down, involuntary movement of my right arm and tics in my neck.

It might, just possibly, not be the tooth then? I booked to see my doctor the next day, who’s response was – “I’m not going to lie to you, I’m really unhappy about this”, and has a heart test and blood test done there and then, and packs me off to the stroke specialist at the hospital. There begins a series of tests.

One of which, on a Friday, is an MRI scan on my head.

A word of advice from the wise.

If you have an MRI scan on a Friday and your doctor just happens to pop round in person to your house on the following Monday morning, he’s not just being a jolly nice chap and calling in to say hello.

He doesn’t want a cup of tea. And he doesn’t’ want your kids running in and out of the house, bringing him various leaves from the garden.

He wants to tell you you have brain tumour, he wants to put you on steroids – like now! – and he wants to take away your driving licence.

And so it all began…

(I may have got the order of some of the above confused, but the gist is about right)

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