Colleen G.

Photo of Colleen G.

I am … a Survivor.

The night before Labor Day 2013,I had the worst headache of my life but being someone with migraines I ignored it looking back I should have paid more attention to what was happening because I just didn’t feel good in general as well as the headache as I said I blew it off even though my daughter asked me to go to the clinic, I had to be up early for my job as a cash office clerk for a grocery store.the next morning I was at work at 5 am still with a lingering headache . I was soon stumbling around and joked that my co workers should just ignore me being like a drunk . Then I couldn’t work the adding machine and I thought it was the headache so I still ignored my symptoms . I had just started a new medication so I assumed I was having a relation to it and was still just trying to do my job but when I couldn’t hold the money or focus and then could not stand without help I knew something was wrong , again thinking it was a reaction to new medication. Thank goodness my boyfriend insisted on taking me to the clinic . I got there and was able to tell them what was going on and at first they also thought it was a reaction to the new medication but wanted to be sure so they did an MRI and the next thing I knew I was in an ambulance on my way to the hospital where I spent the next 5 days. I was lucky they said I had a good stroke . I was able to talk and lost little movement in my arm but my leg was affected more and I required a leg brace and therapy .i had my stroke on my brain stem and it affected my emotions so much I cried a lot and had trouble remembering simple everyday things .

today I don’t cry as much unless I’m overtired or anxious or overwhelmed . I am brace free but walk with a cane because I still lose my balance and perception is off on uneven or unfamiliar sufaces . People see me and say how good I look and on the outside I do look better but they don’t realize how stoke isn’t all about the physical damage but what it does to your brain like how hard it can be to remember how to do simple things or the lingering nerve damage or the unexpected crying . im getting better every day but it’s still a long road and I’m taking it step by step some days forward some days it’s  baby steps but never backwards!  I try to tell everyone about the symptoms of stroke because your life can change in a minute !