Charlotte Almost Died In January, And Then She Shot A Wedding
Those of you who have known about Trystan Photography for a while know that I am a pretty dedicated blogger about our weddings and sessions, and about being active on Facebook.
You might have noticed some cobwebs growing around here this year.
That’s because my wife, business partner, creative genius, and general spirit behind Trystan Photography almost died in January, and life has been pretty interesting since!
Charlotte, my lovely wife of 6 years, had a stroke.
Yup, a stroke. While she was driving. With my 4 year-old son, Trystan, in the back seat.
Luckily, she did not crash the car and managed to get it (kind of) out of traffic by stopping across the entrance of our local Barnes & Noble. At least Trystan was safe.
By the time I got the phone call, the EMT were already on scene. They were pretty sure whe had suffered some kind of stroke and advised me to take her to the ER. That’s right, I drove her to the ER. No big deal, right? Can’t be too serious if I can drive her myself, right?
Wrong. Within an hour of arriving at the ER she was on a Flight for Life helicopter on its way to Swedish Memorial in Denver. I guess it was serious after all.
Turns out, my extremely active wife, had suffered a vertebral artery dissection (VAD) while doing yoga the weekend before.
She’d known she was hurt. We didn’t know it was a torn artery, but we definitely knew she had hurt her neck. It was excruciating. She described it as “someone stabbing” her neck. We immediately went to the Urgent Care, but it was misdiagnosed as a neck strain or torn muscle. The only way to detect a VAD is by CT-scan. The only reason they would order a CT is if she had stroke symptoms.
Consequently, Char lived for about 5 days with this ripped artery clotting inside one of four main arteries feeding her brain, and then finally the clot got so big and unstable she threw a clot and stroked. Then the ER docs knew to order a CT.
So basically having a stroke saved her life. Huh, ironic, isn’t it?
I was shocked. As I watched them load my wife, doped out of her mind because of the pain and fear, into the helicopter, I couldn’t process that I had just kissed her goodbye as she ran to the store 3 hours earlier. How could she possibly be dying? How could she possibly be paralyzed? How could she possibly have trouble communicating? She was just fine a few hours ago…
From that moment on, life has been… interesting.
We spent 4 days in the Neurological Unit of Swedish as they treated the clot and she stabilized. It was really scary. At any moment she could have thrown more clots and caused even more damage to her brain. We didn’t know how much damage had been done, if she would have any lasting effects…
Finally, the test and scan results started to come back and we learned that it appeared she had no signs of lasting damage from her stroke. So, technically, Char didn’t have a stroke, she had a transient ischemic attack, which is when your throw a clot (embolism), lose blood flow to an area of the brain, but then blood flow is restored soon enough to prevent permanent damage. Strokes are when the symptoms do not abate and the damage is more permanent.
While we were out of the woods in terms of dramatic, life-changing injury, Char did have to make some pretty major lifestyle changes.
We both quit smoking, and she had to go on an extremely regimented diet because her therapeutic clotting medicine, Coumadin, is very sensitive to dietary changes and green vegetables. Coumadin prevented her from forming more clots, so her body could naturally start to dissolve her VAD clot and the dissection could eventually heal.
Char was finally discharged from Swedish, and within a week she was…
… shooting a wedding.
Yup, that’s Charlotte for you. Tough as nails, and maybe even a bit foolish, but if she can stand, she will shoot a wedding.
This pretty much par for the course for her really: she shot a wedding 1 week before Ella was born, and 1 week after Trystan was born and now she shot a wedding 1 week after God-knows what could have happened…
A big reason Char was so gung-ho about this wedding, is that Kris and Jay are awesome people. They found us through some amazing past clients of ours, and they turned to be the perfect bride and groom. They are beautiful, loving and laid-back. That’s all we ever need in a couple.
But on top of all that, Kris never sweated about Charlotte. Kris is a physical therapist who is very familiar with Char’s injury (VAD), and she always seemed to know things were going to be fine.
And they were. It was a perfect winter wedding at the perfect little Holy Rosary Chapel in Cascade, CO with a reception at Flying Horse. Unfortunately, it was dumping snow by the time we got to Flying Horse, so we weren’t able to get Kris and Jay outside that picturesque venue for some snow shots, but we were still able to play around it’s stunning interior.
Another factor in the success of this wedding was our former associate photographer and friend, Kim Harms. She came with to lend her amazing eye, which helped Char not get too overtaxed, because her head still hurt and she got vertigo and fatigue constantly.
But Char toughed it out, because she’s crazy.
And we’re happy to announce Charlotte (as of a month ago) has a completely clean bill-of-health! Her VAD is totally healed, no more clots, clean brain scans, and off the dreaded Coumadin (she couldn’t drink on it, and for those of you who know Char… she needs her glass of wine at the end of the day, or else…).
So, in closing, we are very sorry we seem to have dropped off the map in terms of blogging and updating Facebook (not to mention all the delayed portrait sessions and delivering orders), but we’ve been dealing with a lot over the last 5 months. Thank you to all of our beloved clients who have shown such patience and support.
Life is finally back to normal, and the blog will be, too.