Kirstin V.

Photo of Kirstin V.

I am … a Survivor.

The scariest thing when having a stroke is not knowing what’s happening, but knowing that something is very wrong. As someone who is fairly healthy and never at the doctor, being taken to the ER was a very big deal, but I knew it had to be done.

My stroke happened November 4, 2015. I had been having awful neck pain for a few day on the right side, so I was icing it, and then I suddenly felt numb on my right side, it felt like my whole right side had fallen asleep. As I walked around trying to get feeling back into my limbs my head started spinning and I began falling to the right and having double vision. Soon after, the nausea and throwing up started, which lasted a whole day after the initial infarction. Seeing as how I was by myself at work, I knew I had to make it to my phone. After a phone call to my husband, a nurse in the ER. I was rushed to the emergency room where they performed many tests including CT scans and MRI’s. Unfortunately, when my scans came back the stroke hadn’t shown up yet so the doctors came to the conclusion that it was a bad migraine. They sent me home and I spent that night in horrible pain and continuing throwing up.

The following morning I was taken back to the ER and finally admitted to the hospital where later that night they found that I had suffered a stroke in my cerebellum, which was causing the falling over, dizziness and nausea. I spent the next five days in the hospital and was eventually transferred in an ambulance to a bigger hospital. At the hospital I was transferred to, an interventional neuroradiologist found that I had suffered a dissection in my vertebral artery on the right side of my neck (hence: extreme neck pain), which we’ve concluded came from a chiropractic adjustment done five days before the stroke. Due to the quick snap of the neck at the chiropractor it caused my artery to tear and bleed, after a period of time (five days) the blood clotted and made its way to my cerebellum.

After many weeks of physical therapy with a walker and then a cane, I was finally able to walk around on my own and then drive again. It was recommended to me by my doctors to cease physical activity where my heart rate would be elevated for a long period of time. So, I’ve had to remain somewhat out of shape during this process.

It’s almost been 6 months now, and it still feels like yesterday. Soon I’ll be able to exercise like I want and be off some medication. For now though I stay patient and thank God that his hand was watching over me during this whole experience. Life truly can change in an instant.