Pediatric Stroke Survivor

My name is Bailey Carlson and I am 17 years old.  I am currently in my junior year of school.  On September 15, twelve days before my birthday, I suffered a Middle Cerebral Arterial Dissection (a stroke).  After school one day, there were call-backs for theater and I was getting ready. Then randomly I got a little dizzy and fell down. I don't really remember most of the first two weeks I was in the hospital but people have told me stories.

From my mom, I heard that they didn't believe that I had a stroke at first! They thought it was something that dealt with stress, maybe drugs. My parents did not believe that! I had a CT scan in emergency room that looked ok so the doctor sent me to a pediatric hospital. My parents wanted an MRI, but doctors didn't think it was needed. My dad, who is definitely a penny pincher, told the doctor that he'd even pay cash for an MRI. Finally, they had a neurologist look at me who knew right away it was a stroke. The MRI showed it was from a clot in the middle carotid artery. After those first 3 days I was sent to a rehabilitation center to start therapy. My whole right side was paralyzed and I could not talk.

My doctors, family and I still have no idea what caused me to have such a severe stroke at such a young age. Truthfully thinking about the fact that I had a stroke still makes me tear up but I’m hanging in there. My stroke hasn’t slowed me down much; I still go to school, hang out with my friends and have sleepovers. Basically I am doing what I can to thoroughly enjoy my life! I do have times when I feel down and wonder why this happened to me but I have a great support system so those times don’t last long. I don’t think I could really get through this without my best friend, Lindsey, and my mother and father, Jennifer and Paul. I can go to them for anything! I am also fortunate that I have so many other people who are supportive through all of this; teachers, family and friends. I am lucky to have so many people who love me and want to see me succeed in my recovery. There are definitely days when I think I won’t ever be ‘normal’ again but I am making steady progress. I am hoping one day that my experience can helpful to others in my situation.

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