Cameron K.


Re-learning to walk was the easy part

Multiple strokes, a brain aneurysm and struggling to live the life I want

I suffered a brainstem stroke at 26. While imaging my brain, doctors found that not only was my Basilur Artery - a main highway of blood to the brain - blocked, but it contained a large, elongated (fusiform) aneurysm that was pooling with blood and pressing against the brain. Those twelve days in the ICU are foggy still, but in the end I was lucky. Because of the stroke's location my cognitive skills never wavered, and while I initially suffered from a near complete left-side paralysis it took just 8 determined months to recover normal physical ability.

It took longer for me to realize - let alone recover from - the psychological trauma of being yanked from my young, active life.

I'm 31 now. I've had a second stroke and several TIAs but you wouldn't know it to look at me. These episodes drive home my precarious position, with a dangerous aneurysm in my brain, but they have also helped me move past the psychological paralysis of my first stroke. I do what I can to be proactive about my health, but more importantly I'm proactive about my life again: I spend lots of time outdoors boating, camping and hiking; do work I love writing and editing and always have time for the family and friends who have supported me through everything. Life isn't like it was before the stroke, but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it.


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