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Gemma H.


No Longer Afraid

Everyone knows that a stroke can leave physical problems for people to have to live with. But most people don't realize how debilitating the fear and anxiety can be that comes after having a stroke. That is something that we can all get rid of.

I was always healthy my whole life. I ate responsibly (with the occasional treat, of course), exercised daily and was at my ideal weight and continued that after having my four children. There was a history of diabetes in my family and I thought if I am going to get it then at least I'll be in better shape to control it. I turned 33 and was as active as I had ever been. Feeling great. Then one day, very unexpectedly, I had a stroke.

It was a normal day and I was going about my daily routines. All of a sudden, my head had this weird pressure in it and I was extremely dizzy to the point that I could not walk straight at all. I was nauseous and vomiting often. (I also had a problem with my left eye not moving the way it was supposed to that I did not realize at the time.) It was very disturbing and I knew it could not have been good but I still did not think it would be something as serious as a stroke. I thought strokes only happened to people with weight or drug issues and I had neither. It went on for a few hours (maybe 8 or so) before the doctors came back with the diagnosis. (The ER was very busy that day.) There were actual times when I thought I might die and I prayed the whole time for God to spare my life for my children. The symptoms resided more and more and after about 6 weeks my eye was back to normal, too. But now I was terrified. Will this happen again? Where will I be when it does? Will it be worse next time? Will I even make it the next time? Will my kids be o.k.? There was never a time that these fears were not with me and I thought my life would never have the happiness and peace that it used to. But thank God I know how to pray. I prayed for strength, guidance, and faith. Little by little, I got to my normal self and eventually, I lost those fears and anxiety and began to live life without them again. I know God has a plan for me (and everyone) and it is a good one and I don't have anything to be afraid of if I stick with Him.

*It turned out that I had a PFO (small hole in heart) from birth and never knew. That is the only thing we could attribute the stroke to. I got it closed but have other complications from that but it's whatever. I know God is taking care of me, us, and He will help me through anything.


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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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