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Katie K.


Mother of Three Survives Stroke

At 24 years old and 23 weeks pregnant with her third child, Katie experienced a massive stroke that paralyzed her left side.

The week of Spring Break 2014, I had a terrible headache (with no prior history of headaches) but I could not shake it. I thought it was just pregnancy related (I was 23 weeks pregnant with our third child). The following Monday, almost in tears, I went to my OB to see if there was anything I could take for it. She prescribed a nasal decongestant (thinking I had a sinus headache from my seasonal allergies) and told me if it wasn't better by Wednesday, we'd do an MRI. But then on Wednesday, for some unknown reason, my headache had gone away. But not for long... Friday afternoon, I called my mom crying the pain was so unbearable. She and my dad immediately came to pick up the kids and took them for the night.

Then, on Saturday, March 22nd, I woke up at 4:30am and went to the kitchen to get some water. I was stumbling all over the place, running into doorways but I just figured I was really tired and a little disoriented. Also, being pregnant, being off balance didn't seem like a huge deal.

Then when I started to get up for the day at 7:30am, I realized I couldn't move my left side at all. I woke up my husband (who's a registered nurse) and he immediately drove me to the emergency room. They did an MRI and determined that I had a blood clot and pregnancy-induced, massive stroke. I was then life flighted to a hospital 90 miles away because my local hospital was not able to care for me, being pregnant and having a stroke. And all this while being perfectly healthy and only 24 years old.

They initially started me on blood thinners but my brain continued to swell, so at the urging of my husband, they did a craniotomy to remove a section of my skull to reduce swelling. I stayed at that hospital for 3 weeks in ICU and on the stroke unit.

I was able to return home for inpatient therapy on April 10th and stayed at the facility, doing physical, occupational and speech therapy, 5 days a week. I was able to learn how to walk again and regained some movement in my left arm.

I delivered a healthy baby boy via c-section on June 24th and am able to feed him, change him, burp him and hold him.

I am still attending outpatient therapy to regain function in my left hand and wrist but am so thankful that I survived the stroke to see my children grow up. I am so appreciative to my family and husband for all the support they provided me and the care they continue to provide me with.

I went from not being able to move anything on my left side, to being able to walk and move my left arm. It's a slow recovery but at 4 months post stroke, I am feeling better each day. I'm anxious to regain function in my left hand again and make a full recovery.

My story's not over yet.


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