Having a stroke at 31

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sgaytan
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 9/19/2005 7:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everyone,
 
I thought I would share what it's  like or was like for me to have a major stroke at 31.  I had blood pressure issues all through my 20s but didn't feel bad so like most other young people, thinking I was untouchable by anything bad scool ,
I was not regular about taking my meds.
 
nono  
That was a big mistake for me because when I had the stroke, I became paralized on the right side.  I had been in the mall shopping with my daughter the day before and the next day my life was changed forever..I couldn't do anything.
 
After that, I had to learn to walk, talk, do everything again.  I remember the first day I was in the hospital, they brought me a menu and a pencil..I couldn't write.  They then brought me steak for dinner and a knife..I couldn't use a fork much less a knife.  I decided it was temporary..the Denial had set in) as well as ignorance of how much damage a stroke can do. 
 
I had a real wake up call and I thought the world had come to an end and indeed it had in the lifestyle I was used to.  No more dancing, running or at that time even walking.
 
I spent 8 weeks in the hospital receiving every form of therapy possible..(physica, occupational, recreational and psychiactric which I thought I don't need this...I felt like I was being punished for being ill..again Denial of the devastation of what had happened).
I found out what it was like to live in a bed or wheelchair, drool, ask for help for just about everything, lose my drivers license, be uable to go to the bathroom or shower alone, dress myself, write, tie my shoes..communicate.
I spent 3 years in rehab having physical therapy, and working harder than I ever had in my life but with the help of God and a lot of special people, I was able to regain most all my ability to take care of myself.  I can walk with the aid of a brace on my leg, but I ditched the cane and wheelchair.  I still have a little scooter that I use for long walks but I was able to go to school during that three years and retrain to begin a new career as a computer software developer and I eventually was able to type with both hands, since I had to learn to write with my left hand, I can now write with both hands (not beautifully but you could read it).  I am now 45 and it took many years to see that I was blessed in a very special way with that stroke but I now know it to be true.  I was taught patience, how to accept help, humility, and empathy and I learned that nobody is an exception to having tragedy or adversity.  I learned to appreciate that I can tie my own shoes, take a shower without anyone helping me, I have a better career than I ever imagined and I have been blessed with a gift of being aware of all the small pleasures, new found self esteem..I am proud of my accomplishments and I want to offer hope to others who may be not as far along in their recovery.  I still have a laundry list of medical problems but I know that I can handle whatever challenges are thrown my way and I know anyone who takes the time to read this little story can too.  Being given the gift of mortality at 31 was a blessing in disguise and has strengthened me in ways I never thought possible.  Lots of people have to live a lot longer than 31 years to gain peace with their own mortality.  I am thankful. :-)
SG


Kathlyn1950
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2004
Total Posts : 462
   Posted 9/19/2005 7:51 AM (GMT -7)   

Dear Sgaytan,

What an incredible journey you went through at such a young age! I don't think many of us learn the patience, humility and empathy at such a young age. You have incredible strength and determination!  I'm inspired by you to say the least. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I know you've touched hearts and made us think about things in a new way. This can happen to a person of any age! Hugs, Kathy


Happy Grandmommy to Amanda, Alayna, Wyatt and Ezekiel


Teri16
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 5230
   Posted 9/19/2005 10:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sg! tongue
 
Many of us go through our lives each day thinking it (life threatening diseases) won't ever happen to us.  The struggle that you went through to get to where you are now has been tremendous! - and you are so right! - at your age most do not realize what they could be appreciating.
 
Thank you!  That was also beautifully written.
 
With my best wishes and big hugs, Teri tongue
 
"Because he is he and I am I."......E. V. Lucas

"I Hope You Dance".............LeeAnn Womack
 
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Vikki1975
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 190
   Posted 9/20/2005 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Did the Drs check you for a PFO after your stroke?  xxxxx  write back!

sgaytan
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 9/21/2005 6:46 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Vicki,

As a matter of fact, about 6 months after the stroke, I started having problems with rapid heart beat and chest pain.  I had an echocardiogram and they did think it was PFO.  That diagnosis was not determined at the time of the stroke and it was not an accurate diagnosis.  Sometimes blockage in a cardiac artery can look the same as PFO on echo.  I had an angiogram and what they found was not a PFO but blockage in my artery that had to be repaired with angioplasty (back then they didn't have stints).  I was ok after that for 5 years then I had three more arteries that clogged up and caused a heart attack).  By then, the use of stints to open blockages had beed developed and I got three.  I again was good for 5 more years and ended up getting 3 more stints in 2003.  It is difficult to get doctors to consider coronary heart disease in a young person because as they say, you don't present in the same way an older man would.  I encourage you to listen to your body and not assume this is just anxiety because a doctor doesn't want to deal with it.  Get another doctor.  The only way they can 100% tell what is going on is to do an angiogram, which in itself is risky but not as risky as a heart attack.  If it is a PFO that needs to be treated, they can go from there in that direction but I would also be sure that it is not blockage.  It is not unheard of for a young woman to have it, in fact, it is getting more and more common.  If no treatment is necessary then you can relax and not be anxious about it.  If it is something that is wrong other than PFO, that can be treated as well.  Sometimes if it isn't really severe, they can treat with meds.  Either way, don't allow 1 doctor to intimidate you.  Before you assume it is anxiety, get at least another opinion. 

The good news is Doctors are becoming more educated on heart disease and women and I know you can find one that will take you seriously.  Hopefully the doctor you saw is right and it is nothing but anxiety but if there is doubt in your mind, be sure. 

My best success with doctors is to have a list of questions ready when I go to the doctor and if he is unable or unwilling to answer ALL of them, I leave and get another doctor.  You know your body better than anyone and you deserve some peace of mind on this.  PFO's can be serious and so can Coronary Artery  Disease.

I hope this helps you.  I am not a doctor and I don't mean this as anything more than one patient helping another by sharing my experience.  Good Luck to you and keep in touch.

 

 

 


SG

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