Stephanie, D

Photo of Stephanie, D

I am … a Survivor.

It was a quiet Valentine’s Day, 3 years ago, when my world went topsy turvey. After a day of hurried shopping I popped into my chiropractor’s office for a quick adjustment before driving to my college pottery class.

Immediately following my neck adjustment I felt a great burning pain at the base of my skull. I brushed it off as muscular and drive 20 minutes to class.

As I sat down at the potter’s wheel I knew something more serious was wrong. Nauseas and numbness in my hand; just not feeling “quite right”. I went to the restroom and assessed my appearance. No facial drooping, I recited the date, and raised both arms. Still, I knew. I drove myself to the first ER to be diagnosed with a pinch nerve.

I walked into that ER and 9 hours later was released not walking and unable to swallow with the advice, “come back in a week and we will give you an MRI.” I was 38 years old and otherwise healthy.

A trip the next morning to a second ER confirmed a torn vertebral artery and medullary stroke.

I was walking with a walker for nearly a month, driving within two months. I still have nerve pain and Horner’s syndrome of my left eye. I was about one week pregnant at time of stroke.

My recovery then entailed a pregnancy and today I’m a wife and mother to a 2 year old, and working part-time in the financial services industry. My recovery is part of my life going forward, but it is not my entire identity. I intend to come back stronger than ever.