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Diana D.

August 14, 2015

I am ... A Survivor

August 15th 2014,

I had a Cerebellar Stroke with a Vertebral artery dissection while taking a class in Aerial Silks. I was 22 years old when it happened. Before my stroke I was feeling ridiculous amounts of anxiety and was not doing ok but on the morning of I woke up feeling ok and headed to my Aerial silks class in downtown San Francisco. Everyone was taking turns on executing an acrobat move on the silks and I was doing great halfway through class when I came down to watch a classmate on the side I felt a huge wave of incontrollable vertigo. I was knocked to the floor and couldnt get back up and started shaking. I thought I was hungry so a classmate grabbed my bag with snacks then my teacher came over and she got a bucket for me because I felt like I was going to vomit. I was then accompanied to the bathroom convulsively vommiting non stop and I couldnt stop. I knew something was wrong and I started loosing movement on my right side then my left and had to be taken down the stairs by two people and then to the ER. My ER physcicians could not diagnose me until a day later. Why? nothing showed up in my MRI but I want to strongly point out as so many have before who have experienced this and know exactly what I am talking about....Stroke HAS NO AGE IT DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE. I was a compeletely active young woman at 22 years of age studying aerial arts and going to dance classes regularly on a consistent basis every week and had a good diet as well and did not even in the slightest know what stroke symtoms consisted off nor had any clue I would be a victim. I was apparently unconscious the next morning when they performed another MRI and saw  my blood clot. I needed emergency operation at another hospital. I was then transferred and had the surgery that saved my life. Two days later I woke up in the ICU and was told what happened. Its been a HUGE emotional hell getting back to my old self. The PTSD the Anxiety, the fear of learning how to do everything from scratch once more. The strong learning lessons I have acquired again though the raw emotion of being human, those small things that we take for granted EVERY day or simply not think twice about. In a snap of a finger everything can be taken away. I cannot stress enough stroke has NO discrimination when I was a rehabilitation inpatient I was known as the young enthusiastic rocker chic with red hair who liked watching anime and doing thick eyeliner so theres some humor for ya. Fast forward to now I am not going to lie here: every day presents a new challenge I have only a limited number of things I can spend my energy on that ranging from cooking my meals, taking a showwer, going out, crossing the street, etc. Learning once more how to get around without the help of a walking device as well ALOT. Having to stop and give myself a break every so on, not standing on the bus for that very real fact of the conditions that I have from my accident a year ago messing up my balance and coordination having to justify myself to people why I cannot do certain things wether that is in a class or on public transit. I cannot stress enough or EMPHASIZE that recovery is a whole other battle just in itself....but ITS POSSIBLE to get your life back :) to smile like its your last day in this world and to just go and LIVE out YOUR life as its truly meant to be lived out appiness, joy, harmony, and those sucky awful days that make you want to pull out your hair. A year later though and although I am limitted in some things I am attending dance class again and even though I have that raw ugly fear of something terrible happening I get through it and will continue to do so because I KNOW I am ok I know I AM a stroke Survivor. For anyone who reads this let it be known If I can do it, if the numerous other survivors can do it so can YOU and for families and friends you are a gift a godsend truly. If in doubt IT IS NEVER impossible to get some of your old life back, your WHOLE old life back. Everything changes afterwards but coming back strong is where its at. 

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I am currently attending begginner ballet classes in downtown San Francisco and will be starting College once again at City College of San Francisco in January 2015.

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