It was 2 months shy of my 41st birthday the night I had the "headache". I can tell you that during the "headache" I was fairly miserable, but at 40 I felt like I was finally tough and "soldier" through it.
That was a mistake. One I hope no one else ever makes.
The next morning my hand which I had felt numbness in during the "headache" felt funny. I wasn't sure if I was going crazy or if I was slurring my words. I hung up the phone with my mom and agreed to head to the ER just "to be safe.”
Even after getting checked in and initially examined I was still more concerned about how I was organizing things for everyone in the next 24 hours than I was for my own health. I was lucky to know most of the staff and was relatively calm....
Then the news came. It had not been a headache after all. I had experienced a right cerebellum ischemic episode. A stroke.
Immediately the mood changed and I was hustled from one test to another and listened to them trying to make decisions on how to treat me, where (transfer, ICU, etc) and more.
Confusion set in fast. Not only could I not truly comprehend that I had a stroke, the effects of what had happened were building so I was losing my functioning at the same time I was trying to process what 30 people were saying to me (often all talking at once).
I'm not sure how I got through those first days in the hospital but confusion is the word that best describes the overall experience. A Stroke out of nowhere would confuse anyone especially someone considered too young to have one.
Having a stroke at such a young age impacted every single aspect of my life. In an instant everything changed. I was very lucky. The deficits I am struggling to rebuild are minor compared to what most stroke victims experience.
To anyone reading this, my hope is that you take 10 minutes to understand what stroke signs are and why it is SO important to get help FAST. Everyone should know how to spot a stroke and and get help FAST.
Learn more here:
If you have already conquered a stroke I hope we can support each other in the amazing rebuilding opportunity. I am very lucky in so many ways and surviving a stroke is at the top.
Rebuilding is tough. It makes me want to falter from my own personal message that we can all choose happiness, but I know I can and will conquer this awful thing and rebuild stronger.
Here's to everyone conquering strokes!
My favorite part of blogging is getting to show you not just the HAPPINESS we find but the tough crap we deal with and push aside.
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