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Erin M.


I was 20 years old when I had my stroke. I, like many people my age, thought I was invincible. I always saw the commercials on TV that told me not to smoke if I took birth control pills because having a stroke is possible. I didn't think anything of it. I just went on smoking and taking the pills. Now that I think back, that was probably one of the stupidest things I have ever done. If I only listened to the commercials I wouldn't have had my stroke at such a young age.

It happened on August 2, 2011. It was a usual summer night up until I collapsed on my bedroom floor. I had a left brain ischemic stroke. It left me unable to move for hours. At first, I was just lying there not able to process what happened, listening to my phone go off over and over again because I had just stopped answering my boyfriend. I eventually tried to move to my phone, which was on my bed, but I realized that I was unable to do so because my entire right side was immobile. I started to cry out of frustration and my mother heard me. She thought I had overdosed on drugs because I was unable to answer any of her questions, I had aphasia. She realized that I was having a stroke when she asked me to get up and my entire right side was flaccid. They rushed me to the hospital.

The entire night was a blur after that. I remember getting asked questions and not being able to answer. It was really frustrating because I knew exactly what I wanted to say but I couldn't get the words out. The doctors did every test they have and their conclusion was that smoking and birth control caused the stroke.

The stroke didn't leave any lasting physical effects, just some really severe emotional effects. It has been very hard to live with the knowledge that I had a stroke. It's been 4 months and I still haven't coped with it yet but I'm trying. I'm trying to be as strong as I can. My boyfriend is the most supportive and he is really helping me stay strong.

I just wanted to share my story so young girls who might be on birth control and who also may smoke know the danger really exists and it's not some statistic. It actually happens, it happened to me because I refused to believe it was true.


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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.

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