I’m a 30-year-old woman - taller than your average girl, probably thinner than your average girl, and more active than your average girl. Yeah I run an ice cream business for a living, but I like to think I’m healthier than your average girl, too. No prior medical history. Nothing. Until I had a stroke.
The day was like any other. Well, it was better than most, actually. It was my Christmas vacation, I was visiting my family, and had spent a beautiful blue morning surfing at our local beach. It was later that morning, as I was in my bathroom getting ready to finish Christmas shopping, that I recognized something was very wrong.
My right arm suddenly seemed no longer a part of my body. I couldn’t control it; it was limp at my side, like the worst dead arm you can imagine, completely out of nowhere. I exited the bathroom, slumped on the ground, and told my boyfriend what was going on. Except I didn’t. I couldn’t. What I was saying in my head came out as gibberish. I sat quietly. I cried. I felt the numbness start to seep down from my right arm, the right side of my body, so I finally mustered the ability to whisper to my boyfriend, “call my dad.” He did. My father, a physician, ran up the stairs to find us. When he saw me stuttering and holding my dead arm, he called for an ambulance.
The paramedics quickly arrived and as they pulled me on to the stretcher, it sank in that this was happening. Man, was I bummed. This wasn’t part of the plan!
Once at the ER, the doctor surmised I’d had a stroke based on my symptoms and administered tPA intravenously, a blood-clot busting drug. I was transferred to the ICU where I would remain for three days, spending Christmas Eve eating InNOut for dinner while getting FaceTimed in for the annual family White Elephant exchange.
My story is a shocking one, but thankfully nothing more than that. After my weekender in the ICU, I had regained my speech, most functionality in my arm, and days later returned to my home in New York City in almost as good of health as when I had left. I immediately returned to work, and within a couple of months returned to my active habits - running a half marathon later that Spring, hiking to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite that summer, and later that fall, crossing the finish line of the New York City Marathon. I’ve written a longer account of the incident, and my recovery on my blog whatilearnd.com.
For over 30 years we have been the trusted source for free resources and education to the stroke community. Together, we empower survivors and their circle of care to thrive after stroke. Make your tax-deductible donation today to support the growing needs of the stroke community.