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Laura L.

Laura & Ben
Laura & Ben


Perfect Timing?

I was 31 years old and was planning my wedding when I was diagnosed with a stroke. I had been engaged for 2 months and was visiting my soon-to-be in-laws when it happened.

My name is Laura and I am a stroke survivor. I was 31-years-old at the time of my stroke. In May of 2009 I became engaged to my best friend, Ben. In August, we decided to travel to Iowa and share the wonderful news with my now husband's extended family. Our third morning there, I woke up and knew something was not right. I was having difficulty walking and manipulating my right hand. I sat down and fell off the chair. At that point, I screamed for Ben, who immediately rushed me to the local hospital. A CT scan was performed, but the PA didn't see any problems and told me to go home—I was just having some sort of "allergic reaction."

We went back to my father-in-law's house where the family gathered and tried to figure out what was going on. Things seemed to be getting worse—I was becoming more confused and a facial droop started. They put me back into the car and rushed me to St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA. I was immediately seen by a neurologist and had an extensive MRI of my head, neck and spine.

A little while later, after being admitted to the hospital, the doctor came in and very directly told me, "Laura, you had a stroke." My mind was racing a million miles a minute and I didn't know what to say or do. I was supposed to be planning my wedding, not laying in a hospital bed, unable to feel my right side. I wondered: "When would my symptoms would improve? Would I be able to walk down the aisle? Would Ben still want to marry me? Why is this happening when I'm so far away from my family?"

The next morning a TEE was ordered and the doctors found a Fibroelastoma in my aortic valve, which they believed was the cause of the stroke. They felt a piece of the tumor may have broken off and caused the clot in my brain. I was told to fly home and look for a CT surgeon. Within 72 hours, my symptoms did improve and I am happy to say that I lead a very normal life now. In September of 2009 I had the fibroelastoma removed and in June 2010, Ben and I were married. I walked down the aisle and danced the night away. Although at the time I thought these events had the worst timing possible, I now realize how perfect the timing was. I was so incredibly lucky to have Ben at my side through it all, and I know that it has brought us closer than we have ever been. We appreciate each and every moment together and are so thankful to have each other, in sickness and in health...


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