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Faces of Stroke - Logo 100px  transparent

Jodi C.
Jodi C.
Survivor

Tracey E.
Tracey E.
Survivor

Reciprocal Empowerment
Reciprocal Empowerment
Healthcare Professional

Sheila H.
Sheila H.
Survivor

Toni H.
Toni H.
Survivor

Jason C.


Survivor

Stroke? Me?

At the age of 26 I underwent open heart surgery to repair a leaky aortic valve. As a result, I was placed on blood thinners and being closely monitored for clotting. Approximately a year later, I was cooking dinner when my right hand started to tingle like it was falling asleep. I ignored it and kept cooking. Then my right leg started to tingle along with the right side of my face. I assumed I was allergic to something I was cooking with. I then decided maybe I was a little hungry so grabbed something to eat and then laid down. I closed my eyes and after about 10 minutes opened them and saw nothing. I found my phone and managed to dial a friend of mine who was a nurse and asked her what I should do (as if I didn't know but I wanted to hear it from a medical professional). She said, "Go to the emergency room, you are having a stroke." My thoughts were 1) I am too young to have a stroke and 2) doesn't a stroke normally affect the left side of the body. Conclusion: I was not having a stroke but went to the ER anyway. A friend drove me to the ER (about 2 minutes away). I managed to walk in by myself, sat down and told them my symptoms. I was immediately taken back to a room and within a matter of 2-3 minutes, I was unable to stand or walk without assistance. After a few tests, the diagnosis was that there was no diagnosis.

I called my family and told them not to worry that I had what might have been a stroke but was fine. After a couple of days worth of test, finally one test revealed what had happened. A bubble study on my heart revealed that I had a small hole in my heart through which a blood clot escaped and I had had a stroke. My biggest fear was that I would not be able to see clearly again or that I would have to wear special glasses. I could not see except for very close up, could not write, and could not walk without the assistance of a cane. My sight finally returned, my writing improved and I walked with a cane for a couple of months.

Almost 8 years later, I have no residual effects from the stroke except that my right hand will shake sometimes and get weak if I am really tired. In 2011, I ran my first half marathon—something I had wanted to do but didn't think was possible after my heart surgery and stroke. To commerate this, I got a tattoo of a human heart with "13.1" on it.

« Learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke.

 

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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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Faces of Stroke

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