Katie Reeves - A matter of luck
Katie Reeves survived an ischemic stroke when she was 31. Now that she’s tumbled headlong into her 40s, she’s learning to be an advocate for stroke research and young stroke survivors.
In 2010, I had a stroke. Technically, I had a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis that led to at least one ischemic stroke. I was 31.
It remains a bit of a mystery to me, still. I have no memory of anything between about 5 PM on a Thursday and sometime the following Sunday afternoon when I woke up in Florida in 2001. And this was unusual because I was actually in an Intensive Care Unit in Michigan. In December.
What I do know is that my story is actually one of remarkable good fortune. I was fortunate to have had friends and family who noticed that I didn’t show up for work and so came looking for me. I was fortunate to live near a research hospital that housed a comprehensive stroke center. I was fortunate that the emergency room doctor recognized that something was very wrong with the young woman in front of him and called for a neurological consult--who just happened to be the director of the stroke program.
I had been alone for up to 18 hours after suffering a stroke in a vital part of my brain--Grand Central Station, my neurologist would later call it--and yet I walked out of the hospital three days later.
While no two survivors share the same story, I know that my experience is very different from so many of the women and men who experience strokes. I’ve worried that I have little to offer the conversation because my road to recovery was practically paved in gold. So I’m writing my first post for this blog not in spite of my good fortune, but because of it: I’ve decided that it’s time for me to use my voice to advocate for stroke research and raise awareness of young stroke, in particular, because survival should not be simply a matter of luck.