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Tommy K.


At 38 years old, my life was that of a typical man my age. A career, family, everything was moving along in a normal manner. Sometime around the beginning of 2009 I started having migraine headaches, not too frequent but enough to get my attention. My headaches were classic migraines. There was nothing that would lead me or my Dr. to think my headaches were anything more than migraines.

One day, while standing in the lobby of my office, my head started to hurt. It was a feeling similar to a migraine but in this instance, I almost passed out. I sat down, then realized that I had lost the use of my left leg as well as the feeling of the left side of my tongue. At that point I realized this was no migraine. A long story short, at the emergency room the neurologist told my wife and me.. "the good news" as he put it, is that you dont have a brain tumor. However, you have suffered from several strokes! Eh? Strokes? how can that be, Im only 38, no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol. Heck, I was running 2-3 miles a day. It turned out that I had suffered five ischemic strokes. If that wasnt bad enough, two days into my hospital stay my head started to hurt like nothing I can describe... My brain hemorrhaged late that night, in my right temporal lobe, the location of one of my Ischemic strokes. At 2 in the morning I was in emergency brain surgery struggling to stay alive. After the surgery, I had little movement on my left side, and since one of my strokes occurred in my right occipital lobe, I had lost my left field of vision, a homonymous hemianopsia, i.e. to the midline in the left side of both eyes.

After months of rehab I am able to do all of the things that I could do before. If you saw me today you would never know what I have been through. My only deficit is the loss of my field vision and a seizure disorder from the brain surgery. I am one of the blessed, having gained back so much. I can walk, run, drive, work and outside of my loss of vision, I am back to me. The exact cause of my strokes was never determined. There is one thing for sure, somehow a clot made it to the right side of my brain.

As many have experienced, one day in life you are going down a path, the next day you are going in a completely different direction. A favorite quote of mine- We don't get to choose what happens to us just what we choose to do about it, stuck with me throughout my struggle. I have no idea where this quote originated but it fueled my determination.


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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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