I started to feel off. I couldn't concentrate. Simple things like writing emails or even typing were confusing. I should have paid attention initially but I shrugged it off thinking that nothing was wrong with me and I was just having an off day. It continued and I felt like I was dreaming.
Then, the next day, I had a migraine. Something typical or so I thought. I had often had migraines before and didn't pay attention to them as something of a warning. I just slept it off or took some Excedrin in the hopes that it would kill whatever hammering was in my head. This migraine was terrible. I even remember the actual date of it, October 30th. The pain had gotten so intense that I had to leave work and immediately go home and go to bed. I woke up later that day hoping to be rid of it but it still lingered and my speech was slurred. Things started to taste funny, but again, I shrugged it off hoping that it would go away.
At this point, I should have at least called the doctor, and I will never live that down. I still hear the "I told you so's"! That night, I couldn't sleep. I was woken up by intense pain in my right shoulder and burning in my neck and face. I thought it was acid reflux and tried to calm it by natural remedies; eating an apple, eating yogurt but nothing worked.
The next day, Halloween, one of my favorite holiday's, was no better. My legs started to wobble, I couldn't type and my fingers went numb. I called the ENT (Ear Nose and Throat doc) because I thought I had acid reflux and he assured me that I was fine and to just make an appointment with my primary care physician for Monday. I hung up, shook it off and I went to dinner with some friends and made the joke that I was having a slow stroke because that's probably what was happening! I went home, staggering and walking as though I had just used my legs for the first time, like a young calf or gazelle and passed out.
That Monday, November 1st, I went to work and called my doc (she's awesome) Dr. McGugins. I ended up seeing her that afternoon and she was convinced I had intense migraines but after hearing me speak she had me schedule an MRI for early Wednesday morning. All I have to say is thank goodness for that MRI.
I went in on Wednesday morning before work at 7:00am, got the test and was back in my office by 10:00am...and that's when I got the call from Dr. McGugins. She said what I didn't expect-
"You've had an acute stroke in the left side of your brain. An abnormality in the MRI showed it which would explain all the symptoms and pain on your right side. I need you to go the ER right now."
What do you do in that situation? I dropped everything in my office and ran out the door, casually went home, gave the dog a treat, packed a pair of pjs and a toothbrush and took a cab to the NYU ER. If this happens to you, never call your mom and let the first sentence out of your mouth be "Don't panic ok?", because as soon as I said this, she freaked out and almost immediately burst into tears. Don't make the same mistake I did, haha!
And that's how it started....life changed on October 30th 2010.