Second Marriage, Second Chance
This is us on our wedding day. I'm the bride. Little did I know when this picture was taken that exactly 6 days later I'd have a stroke. I've never been able to run fast or far and I have had migraines since I was six, but they were always on the back of my head. As I got older I began to tell physicians about my headaches and they downplayed them as tension headaches & told me to relax. I began waking up in the middle of the night with my heart racing around age 37. I finally went to a cardiologist when I was 39. She ran a lot of tests & even did an ECHO (but didn't ask me to cough). A few weeks later her nurse called to tell me that nothing was wrong with my heart and I probably had fibromyalgia. I say this with a little frustration, but more from hope for an awareness of the symptoms to watch for.
Fast forward one year after the cardiologist visit and I wake up in the middle of the night of September 9th in Seattle on the last night of our honeymoon thinking I was having the bad hotel dream where you don't know who or where you are. I wasn't even going to wake my husband up. Luckily he woke up on his own hot and got up to turn down the air. When he did I opened my mouth to tell him about my dream and realized my speech was slurred. He called an ambulance and we arrived at Harborview Medical Center within minutes. An MRI confirmed I had a stroke on the right side of my cerebellum. The incredible team there found that I had a large hole in my heart that had been there since I was born (PFO). I am very thankful for the wonderful medical care I received at Harborview Medical Center, and my second chance.
I am one of the lucky ones—the only residual effects I have are sloppy handwriting and clumsiness when I wear flip flops. Hopefully all I need is an aspirin a day to prevent another stroke. I tell everyone I know to be their own health advocate & to trust yourself. I truly believe everything happens for a reason—just like going to Seattle for a honeymoon. Namaste!
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