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Chris S.


I never knew what a stroke was...

I am 17 years old and had a stroke 3 years ago at age 14. I was healthy, active skateboarder enjoying life. I remember taking a shower and feeling dizzy after the shower and collapsed in the bathroom. My mom heard me fall and found me unable to speak and move my right side. The ambulance brought me to the ER and by the time I got there I could move my right side and talk a little. The CAT scan and MRI didn't show anything. The doctors thought I had a migraine type of episode and kept me for observation. Sometime during the night while I slept I had a major stroke from a blood clot traveling to the left side of my brain. I woke up and couldn't move or talk. It was too late for clot busters.

That was just the beginning.... A few days after the stroke, while in ICU for tests I became unconscious. A CAT scan showed my brain was swelling ALOT. They needed to do emergency brain surgery to save my life. They removed a piece of bone from my skull and kept me in a coma for weeks while the swelling went down. I needed a tracheotomy to breathe and a feeding tube. Eventually I woke up and was sent to rehab. I couldn't even hold my head up and couldn't move my right side, swallow or speak at all. I had lost 30 pounds. I was in the rehab hospital for 10 weeks. I went to a lot of therapy. I had to relearn everything! I walked out of the hospital with use of a cane. I entered high school the next fall and am on track to graduate with my class next year. I still can't use my right hand much and my speech sometimes is slow while I search for words.

We will probably never know where the blood clot came from that caused the stroke. All testing was negative. I'm telling you my story so you can understand that stroke can happen at any age. I really didn't know what a "stroke" was before all this. It's difficult when others don't understand what happened to me and treat me differently. I stay positive and want you to know when you think you can't--you can! Thanks to everyone that helps me.


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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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