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Monika, P

October 23, 2017

I am ... A Survivor

I was just 39 when I suffered an ischemic stroke 7/27/14. I am proud to say I am a stroke survivor. It struck out of nowhere, no warning and I spent months trying to think if I missed some small clue what lay ahead.  I became instantly 1/2 paralyzed. What saved my life was that I was with someone who detected my immediate facial droop & slurring & called 911. He was an engineer that knew FAST. Boy is that public message a life saver. I argued with him I was fine.  As he told me to lift both arms, in my brain I was. Finally after he repeated look at your left arm I glanced over & saw it on the ground. I picked it up with my right, and it fell quickly.  He won.  Something was wrong.  I was 39 and an athlete.  I swam 2.4 miles in a Lake that morning.  I was 3 weeks away from a 1/2 Ironman triathlon that was going to be my best yet. I was healthy. I ate right and I exercised. I was taken to the hospital and I was lucky to be given a second chance at life. I got TPA.  I am a pharmacist and as I was getting the bolus I was praying it’s effect would be immediate and I would get up and walk off gurney. It took more than a day to start moving.  Some tense hours monitoring swelling in my brain with daily CTs. But being a stubborn endurance athlete, I asked every MD that walked in if I could still do the 70.3 triathlon  (1.2swim, 56bike, 13.run) I had coming up.  I was going to figure out the mechanics later. I was asking before I knew  if I could walk.   Honestly I can look back and laugh at that.  They all thought I was crazy. I am lucky that I only have a small physical handicap.  I have run half marathons and a full marathon since.  I am a survivor.  I had a lot of spirit to overcome then & I will continue to be strong through the hurdles this stroke recovery brings. I will continue to heal. Great things are ahead. My paralyzed cheek now smiles and I can’t be happier.  It honestly is the little things in life that are over looked. Love life & all its blessings!

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