I am … a Survivor.
The morning of the 3rd of March 2016. I was driving to work and was within a mile of work at a stop light when it all started. I was getting a pain in my neck I closed my eyes and when I opened them everything was floating around. I was still able to see but it was the moment vertigo was kicking in. I didn’t think anything of it at the time and figured I would get better by the time I was at work. I drove to work, in an industrial area, very slowly. Once I arrived at work I stepped out of my vehicle, and boom felt like I got hit with a sledge hammer. I couldn’t walk a straight line, more like the drunkest guy you have ever seen. I stumbled my way into the break room where I set down my phone and keys. I bounced off walls to where we clock in, still thinking I’ll shake it off. I sat down for a moment to get my bearings, when I was hit again. This time my entire left side went paralysis, I violently vomited fell to the floor, my throat swelled up and I could barely speak. I was “yelling” for help but it was more like a normal voice but scratchy. My boss was luckily at work an hour early that morning, and he came around the corner wondering what was wrong. That’s when I said call 911, I do not know what is wrong.
A little back ground, I’m 39-year-old male, do not drink, do not smoke and eat healthy. I was in training to run a marathon in New Mexico, called the Bataan Memorial Death March (www.bataanmarch.com). I just did a nice 5 mile run the night before and was feeling great. I did not know #FAST or anything about stroke. My co-workers knew me as the crazy fit guy, always talking about races and eating healthy.
My boss called 911 and tried to keep me calm, I couldn’t even swallow my own saliva. It felt like eternity but the paramedics and fire fighters showed up. I was able to tell them what time 6:55 am that the first signs began. I was asked several times what kind of drugs are you on. It had not occurred to them that I was having a stroke. After I was loaded in the bus (ambulance), I remember hearing one of the fire fighters say “Looks like he’s having a stroke.” This is when I swear I saw light bulbs above the medic’s heads, like crap why didn’t we think of that. Now I’m starting to have face droop and my speech was nearly gone. I was rushed to University of Colorado Hospital, the best ER for stroke in Colorado. If I remember correctly, even if not it makes a good story, I was the only critical ER patient in the ER that morning. I also had every Nero doctor available working on me including residents and med students. I look back and feel like I was a president or something. After an MRI and a couple CAT scans they suggested that I am administered the tPA drug (Clot Buster). They said it will save me or kill me, those are my words on how I intermitted what they were saying. So the last conscious thing that day is I was lying in a bed and I took a selfie and posted to facebook; “This just happened, had a stroke.”. This is how most of my friends and family found out. My boss tried calling my girlfriend but she was in a meeting in Washington D.C. Funny thing is she wouldn’t answer but she saw the notification of my stroke. So that is the beginning of my new life. I now can walk, talk and try to enjoy life again. Not able to run, cannot yell, ataxia in my left arm, balance is horrible and I have a hard time thinking. I am grateful for everything and everyone that helped save my life. I could go on and on that’s why I have a blog, visit it at www.strokewhatstroke.com.