Text Size




Faces of Stroke - Logo 100px  transparent

Nicole A.



"You don't look sick.", "You're so young.", "You are lucky to have recovered so well."  I've heard these phrases far too often within the past year.  On the outside, I look like a healthy 26 year old woman, but on the inside is where the pain begins.  

I was diagnosed with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome following the loss of my first baby. I was 16 weeks pregnant at the time of miscarriage and up until then, everything was right on track. I was told the placenta had lost 2/3 of the blood supply due to clotting. If I were to become pregnant again, I would have to take anticoagulants and be monitored closely. Well, the time came when I became pregnant again. This time I was placed on low dose Asprin and Lovenox. I delivered a still born baby in October 2009 at 24 weeks gestation, which wasn't related to the clotting disorder. I was told to discontinue the Asprin and Lovenox.

Fast forward to early April 2010 when I had my stroke. By this time, I had been off my medication for six months and preparing to separate from active duty in the Navy. It was a normal morning at work when the first sign of stroke appeared. I was in a coversation with a couple of people when the right side of my face went completely numb and I was blind in my right eye. Next, the numbness spread all the way down the right side of my body. Later on, I found out this also resulted in strokes in the vessels of my liver and my right kidney. The ambulance was called and, much to my surprise, did not take me to the hospital! I had to be driven to the medical clinic on the Navy base by a coworker, where doctors treated me with migraine medication. I was not having a migraine; I was having the worst headache of my life due to the stroke. An ambulance rushed me to the hospital from the clinic because I was showing signs of a TIA (mini stroke). Even then at the hospital, I was treated for migraine and was told my CT scan looked normal. They sent me home within seven hours without any stroke treatment. As I walked out of the hospital dragging my right leg behind, I kept thinking something wasn't right.

A few days after symptoms hadn't subsided, I went to a civilian hospital and was diagnosed with a stroke. It has been a little over a year since that scary day and I am still in the Navy awaiting a medical discharge. This past year has been very hard on me. I now suffer from daily headaches and occasional migraines. I am on lifelong anticoagulants and more medication than I care to be on. I suffer with anxiety and the possibility of one day another stroke will defeat me. Everyday is a challenge, but I make the best of it. I have trouble remembering things off the top of my head and I need to write everything down. Most of the numbness/weakness is gone, but occasionally I feel it coming on. People need to be more aware of signs and symptoms of stroke. It is not just the elderly who suffer and I am living proof of that. I am so thankful to be alive and "healthy" and to be able to share my story.


All active news articles

Share by

Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

Printer Friendly Version

National Stroke Association

9707 E. Easter Lane, Suite B
Centennial, CO 80112

Stroke Help Line logo