Thursday, February 23, 2012

Guest Stroke Blogger: Meet Heidi

Meet Heidi, a 21 year old stroke survivor. Heidi has been kind enough to share her story in the hopes of helping others like herself. I am blown away by her bravery.

Heidi suffered her stroke in September 2011.

Below is her story.

I was home alone when it happened. After losing the ability to control my arms and legs, I was somehow able to call my parents (who live 5 miles from my house) and they called 911. All my vitals were fine so the EMTs said I could stay with my parents and have them watch over me that night. My parents said “No, you’re taking her to the ER.”. After several hours at the ER the doctor told me I had a severe case of vertigo and to check with my general practitioner in a couple days. I saw my doctor 3 days later, told him I wanted an MRI, and waited some more. 2 days after I had the doctor visit I had my MRI, they detained me there while they read the results then sent my straight to the hospital to get on a blood thinner. I was admitted for 3 days while they did tests on my to try and figure out why I had a stroke.

They found the issue; a hole between the two upper chambers of my heart (Atrial Septal Defect) and decided I needed open heart surgery. I had surgery December 1st and am still trying to get back on my feet. The doctors are confident the problem is fixed and I don’t have to worry about a thing. I still worry; I think that’s natural.

I wasn’t on medication. I am not unnaturally overweight. I have always been active; I was on a recreational soccer team when it all happened. There is no family history of this. I have never had health issues. I am young! BUT I am so grateful this happened to me; it saved my life. The hole in my heart, if it had gone undetected, could have done major damage and maybe killed me. I get a second chance. I am going to take full advantage of this as soon as I am recovered from surgery.

Now I feel so-so. For how much trauma my body has been through in a very short amount of time, I feel great! When I get tired everything gets a little funky; my speech gets twisted, my coordination is a little worse, I can't make numbers make sense when people tell them to me, I just have some silly little quirks now (trying to stay positive!). I'm just super lucky; my stroke affected both sides of my brain so if it had been any bigger it could have done some very serious, life altering, damage.

Heidi, I'm so happy this was found before like you said, it could have gotten worse. Recovery time is slow but rewarding. Remember to celebrate everything! Small victories! Second chances are the best chances. :)

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