Pamela A.


Feeling Blessed and Very Lucky

I feel I have found my 'calling' if you will by telling my story to as many people as possible so they can understand strokes can happen to anyone.

You had a What??? That's the response I got when I told family and friends I had a stroke on 12/14/2012. It's been 1 year now and I am still adjusting with being labeled a Stroke Survivor. I was one of the extremely lucky ones, and I thank God every day for that!

Even though the doctors said I had a stroke it acted more like a TIA and cleared up totally within about 27 hours with no residual effects. It started about 7 pm after a very stressful day at work. I had been on my feet for over 4 hours without any lunch or anything to drink and when my partner and I got into the car to go home I couldn't read the signs on the road. I told him I needed something to eat and drink because I wasn't feeling well and felt kind of lightheaded and the signs were all blurry. He turned on the inside light and noticed my eye was twitching and he thought I was slurring my words a little so he said we are going to the hospital. By the time we got there I was seeing double, but because I was only 57 years old, had no past medical history, exercised every day and did not have high blood pressure or cholesterol each doctor who came in to see me kept reassuring me it wasn't a stroke.

It wasn't until the next day when they did the MRI that it showed up, but they were still stumped as to why I had one until they did a test on my heart and discovered I had a hole in my heart or what they call a PFO. I was embarrassed at first to tell people because of the stigma associated with strokes and I had always been so fitness minded and not on any medications like others my age, but then I realized this happened to me for a reason and I need to let others know it can happen to anyone of any age and even if you are in excellent health. Again, I was lucky but it could have had a different outcome since none of the medical personnel administered the medicine that is supposed to be given at the first signs of a stroke so I try to tell everyone I meet my story and tell them to be vigilant and stress you want them to administer it and don't automatically think they will. I just assumed they would give me that, but they never did and luckily it did not have any consequences in my recovery.

I went to a cardiologist after my release from the hospital and I read up on PFO's thinking I would have it closed but he recommended blood thinners instead and said it is just as effective. This makes me nervous after my experience in the hospital so I may get a second opinion but so far I've had no problems and I'm not crazy about surgery but it's always in the back of my mind that it could happen again. Maybe if I am lucky enough to make it 2 years without another stroke I will start to relax a little. I certainly don't take life for granted anymore because I know how quickly life can change so I am trying to work on my bucket list and continue to tell others to not take their health for granted and you need to listen to your body and be more aware of health issues such as strokes!


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