You are here

Diana H.

November 6, 2014

I am ... A Survivor

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



This could have been my story. On March 30th, 2015 I had a stroke. I am an RN, training for a 1/2 marathon and am a vegetarian- and I had a stroke at 31. I only presented with the apashia and apraxia so they misdiagnosed my stroke and I did not receive TPA. I was getting progessivly worse and was transferred later on in the day to a larger centre where they diagnosed me with a severe ischemic stroke that left me with Broca's aphasia. I also had a TEE and I also have a PFO. I have huge strides and am improving,  I expect a full recovery. Strokes do not discriminate on age and gender.  Thank you for sharing your story as I don't feel so alone. 


Diana and Kristen (commentator), thank you for sharing your stories. I just had a hemorrhagic stroke last month (June, 2015) while playing basketball. Like you Diana, I am a healthier than most CA girl. There were no answers for me with regard to cause. I think the word, "fluke" was used. Fortunately, my recovery should be close to full. But, it doesn't take away how the incredibly frightening experience, especially because there are no answers.

I just had a hemmorrhagic stroke in May, And like you both, was a healthy athlete although not as young.The cause is undetermined and my recovery is considered really good, although I was a high level tennis player and have not gotten back to it yet, lots of work to do, if it is even possible. The part tha tis so difficult is my emotions and anxiety that it could happen again. How are you guys coping with it?

A similar thing happened to me in May. How are you guys coping with the anxiety of not knowing why it happened and the fear of it happening again. I feel like I hve PTSD and can't ge through a day without a meltdown. Any help?

I had a stroke in July, perfectly healthy, no explanation.  For two months I had a meltdown every day.  My neurologist has me on a low dose anti-anxiety med.  It seems to help.  I feel like no one really understands what I am going through.  After PT, OT and Speech Therapy I look fine.   I'm back to work, etc.  I just know I'm not fine inside and keep hoping someday I will wake up and my mind will be whole again.  I also have that feeling of PTSD.   In the beginning, many nights I would go to bed and dream everything was ok and I never had a stroke, then I would wake up and reality hit.   I'm just really trying hard to appreciate life and be happy again. 

I have had two strokes with no cause found and also feel as though I have PTSD. I haven't found much that helps have you?  Thank you for sharing.


Thanks for sharing your story! I am post stroke 2 years and still struggle with the fear that another one is around the corner. I would love to hear how you and others are coping with these feelings. 

I had a stroke at 36. I was laying down and when I stood up my left side just left me. I am an RN and did not react right away. I was in denial. I'm not a health nut but not obese and I had relatively healthy habits. I was told I would make a full recovery and did in about 4 months. I was also told the Dr. Was 90% certain I would never have another stroke. Then in July I had another stoke in my brainstem with my symptoms being extreme vertigo and double vision. I still suffer from central vertigo. I also have anxiety as there was no cause found. I went to Mayo and I've had all of the tests with no cause found. I also feel as though I have PTSD and can't handle big rooms because they make me very dizzy  or flourescent lights because if they flicker it's like the double vision I experienced and it causes panic. I also would love to hear of coping mechanisms anyone has tried that work! It's so nice to hear others struggle with the same emotions and I'm not alone in this! Thank you all for sharing!

I had a thalamic stroke at 31 years old, 9 1/2 years ago.  I feel I could share so much.  My stroke was caused by birth control, a PFO and Factor V Lyden.  It was my perfect storm.  Other than my birth control, I was unaware of the other two issues.   I'm now only numb on the left side, no feeling in my left hand and no fine motor skills in my left hand either.  I learned to walk again and I'm ok.  A month after my stroke I developed thalamic pain which is chronic, debilitating pain from head to toe on the left side where my stroke affected me.  Almost 6 years ago I started a stroke support group for young stroke survivors in the Atlanta, GA area.  I wanted to be with others like me and these people are awesome!   I know several have asked about coping skills and if you're able to join a support group with young survivors, please do!  Also, take time to meditate, see a psychologist.  There are sites all over and Facebook to connect with other young stroke survivors and even those with aphasia.  When it comes to stroke, I'm very involved in the community, so if you want to connect with me, I'd love to talk to you.  My best to you, lori j murphy




I also had a stroke in Dec and was told having a TEE that I have a small hole in the heart but nothing to worry about. Those of you who have a PFO what treatment did you receive.


Find a Support Group


Get Involved


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.