I am … a Survivor.
Two weeks after my 30th birthday I experienced an unusual headache, which I initially believed to be a symptom of my cold and passed it off as another migraine. However, unlike past migraines, new and puzzling symptoms arose: while attending a Saturday Octoberfest with a friend, I felt a pop in my neck that was accompanied by some dizziness. It didn’t occur to me that this neck-pain was related my headache until hours later when my friend had me brought to the hospital because of my vomiting. There and to my surprise, the CT and MRI scans revealed a stroke. Shortly after being released (about a week later), I returned home at the council of my mother in order to find a stroke specialist, but before we could schedule an appointment my symptoms returned. Upon waking that morning, the entire right side of my body felt numb to the extent that I was unable to walk. She immediately brought me to our local hospital, from which I was transferred an ICU in NYC. The doctors informed my parents of how dire my condition had become, and that I would be fortunate to just survive, as I had suffered a vertebral artery dissection. My determination to resume my normal life gave me the strength to overcome the lacerated arteries of my neck and stabilize my condition enough to be released from the ICU after only three weeks. I knew that however arduous the journey was to rebuilding my life, whether struggling from within or rehabbing my ability to move, the most important things in life were left unchanged. Though the recovery is ongoing and I am still struggling with depression over lost pastimes, I cherish the time I spend with my family and resumed my PhD work in biochemistry.