Hi Friends and Family, I am partnering with Stroke Awareness Foundation and raising money for 'Fight Stroke 2018'. On May 2018 I will be participating in a three mile walk sponsored by the Stroke Awareness foundation in Santa Clara County. I've created a team for this event in honor of being a survivor and wanting to help others become knowledgable on the warning signs of an oncoming stroke.
Bringing awareness to fight strokes is very important and close to my heart, as I'm very lucky to be alive today after suffering four strokes of my own in January of 2017.
One afternoon I was walking into work when I suddenly couldn't put one foot in front of the other to walk, the world seemed to be spinning rapidly around me, my eyes couldn't focus, I lost my ability to speak and began uncontrollably vomiting. I was fortunate enough that an off duty EMT was nearby and saw I was in desperate need of medical attention. Helpless and alone in the middle of the street, the man dialed 911 and ran over to help get me off the street and to a bench. I was immediately rushed to the hospital by ambulance; I was terrified with no idea of what suddenly just happened to me. At the hospital I was brushed off by the attending ER doctor, who quickly assumed I was just nauseous and dizzy due to my young age even though all of my symptoms were clearly signs of a stroke. Little did I know that this day marked the first stroke Id have of four.
I was sent home the same day, feeling horrible and helpless. I was home for five straight days all of which were spent feeling beyond nauseous, dizzy, lethargic and confused. The medications the previous emergency room doctor prescribed to help me through what he deemed 'dizziness' didn't help me one bit. I knew something wasn't right, that something was clearly very, very wrong with me and I wasn't being treated properly medically. The following morning I tried to get up and when I did I completely collapsed on the floor, slurring my words, holding onto the floor for dear life as everything around me continued to spin at what felt like 100 MPH. Uncontrollably throwing up and dizzy I was at a loss of what my body was doing to me, it felt like torture. I was so sensitive to movement, light and noise, nothing and no one could help me. The slightest movement of my body triggered the most horrific pain, dizziness and nauseous sensation. When someone finally got home and was able to help me off the floor I threw up for twenty-four hours straight; my surroundings wouldn't slow down and stop spinning even for two seconds.
I was raced into the emergency room slumped over in a wheel chair, throwing up with a blanket completely covering my entire body. The blanket was being used to block any bit of sunlight, thats how sensitive my eyes were. I suffered for four hours in the middle of the emergency room while patients with the common cold were being called in before me.
When the severity of my condition was finally acknowledged I was taken back and given a bed in the ER. I spent the night in the emergency room with fluids hooked up to me, they were trying to re-hydrate me after the unfathomable amount of liquids I had lost from violently throwing up for 48 hours. To this day I don't recall a single moment while I was in the ER, the entire evening is at a loss from me as I was in and out of being alert. My doctor was still assuming I was a vertigo patient as he read in my file from the first ER visit of the doctor who didn't bother to do any tests on me. Being only twenty-two at the time, every doctor who I came across was so quick to assume I was just dizzy and they ignored every single red flag I had screaming stroke; I was age discriminated medically. Finally when another doctor in the ER over heard what was happening to me he took it upon himself to insert himself and demand that I be given an MRI and CT scan, stat.
Within two minutes of being wheeled back to my ER room from the MRI and CT scans, a team of doctors immediately walked in, stood over my bed and told me I had suffered from multiple strokes. It was hard for me to comprehend what I was being told, all I could understand was that I was in grave danger and had been suffering from something very serious. Within seconds my life drastically changed, my world turned upside down. Not a minute was wasted and I was quickly raced to the hospitals stroke ward.
Once I was in the stroke ward I was hooked up machines, IV's inserted to my arms and the amount of tests I endured were unimaginable. Here I went one day from being an average twenty-two year old, working full time, always very active and very healthy my entire life to being a patient in the stroke ward. Never in a million years did I think this was something I would endure in my lifetime, never. Nurses told me I was the youngest patient on the stroke ward floor, that they were shocked I was so young and had just suffered four.
After tons of testing and imagining scans the doctors told me that my left carotid artery in my neck had torn and collapsed. The tearing and collapse of the artery caused blood clots to form and then strive the cerebellum portion of my brain. I was also told that a fifth blood clot was formed in my artery and I was in danger of it striking my brain as well, causing a fifth stroke. Immediately I was placed on blood thinners in hopes of my body naturally breaking the blot clot down itself before it had a chance to harm my brain even more. Because of the location of the fifth blood clot, surgeons deemed it more dangerous for them to go in and perform surgery on my neck, as the outcome could be fatal. With this terrifying news I prayed every moment that I would get a second chance at life and that my fifth blood clot wouldn't strike and cause yet another stroke.
I spent many days in the hospital completely lethargic, unable to speak, feed myself, hold any type of food down, walk, be in light or hear noises. On one very scary day my neck began swelling up out of the blue, blocking off my airway, stuck in a twisted position and I couldn't get any air to my lungs. This was one of the most terrifying things I have ever experienced, I felt so helpless and afraid. Code blue was called through the stroke wards intercom and a team of doctors raced in trying to help me. In those moments I looked into my mom and boyfriends eyes unable to speak and in fear I'd never see them again. I was very fortunate to make it through those terrifying moments and feared it happening again every day after that.
Around day sixteen or so in the stroke ward I was transferred via ambulance to another hospital where I would begin rehab to try and gain my movement back. I was completely unable to walk, I relied on nurses, my family or a wheelchair to be mobile at first. With a ton of persistence and hard work I re learned how to walk again. To be twenty-two and have to re learn life skills such as walking, how to dress myself, eat and bathe was humiliating, scary and frustrating. I refused to give up and pushed myself each and every day. With amazing nurses and rehab instructors I finally took my first steps outside in over three weeks! I'll never, ever forget how accomplished and thankful I felt when I smelt that fresh air outside and stood on my own two feet again for the first time. About another week went by until I was finally allowed to go home to continue my recovery. I left the hospital still with a fifth blood clot in my neck and a torn carotid artery.
I'm still recovering from my strokes, every day is work in progress. Theres things I was once able to do that Im no longer able to since my strokes. I have ongoing neurological pain, many limitations, a lot of medications I have to stay on top of and constant sensitivity to crowds, noises and bright lights. The things I suffer from due to being a stroke survivor are frustrating and tough to cope with on some days.
Every day is a neurological, emotional and physical reminder of what I've been through, the brain is a special thing. I really try to stay as positive as I can with my situation and remind myself how truly lucky I am to be alive today. Being a stroke survivor has turned my world around in more ways than I can possibly explain in this story, but I hope I've been able to shine some light on a bit of what my journey has looked like. There's people who have walked the same path I was recently given, who haven't been able to share their stories with others, walk, talk smile, or see their loved ones again because they didn't survive it.
Please take a moment to get educated on the symptoms of strokes and be prepared so you can help get a loved one medical attention immediately. I'm very fortunate my outcome has been what it is and not worse, due to being mis-diagnosed medically and brushed off from being young. Remember, strokes can happen to people of any age, their life altering.
I'm so very thankful to my family, friends and community for the ongoing support during this difficult journey of mine. It means the world to me, I'm forever grateful to each and every one of you.
I appreciate your support for this fundraiser from the bottom of my heart. If you'd like you can donate to help reach my goal by hitting “Give Now” on the upper right. Anything donated on here 100% goes directly to the stroke awareness foundation. It will help fund research and go towards educating others on stroke warning signs to try and prevent strokes early on and prevent stories much like my own from happening. Please, even if you're unable to donate to the foundation help me spread the word by forwarding this page.
Thank you for joining me, your support and taking the time to read a little portion of my stroke story.