Lori Reynolds – My son is my Stroke Hero
Lori lives in northern Kentucky and had an ischemic stroke caused by a dissection in her vertebral artery at the age of 39. She is a teacher. Her son, Brayden, is 17, a senior in high school, and aspires to earn a degree in engineering. His passion is soccer.
My son is a very strong, smart 17-year-old young man. He is my Stroke Hero. He and I were at an amusement park this past summer when I suffered an ischemic stroke. We had been at the park for most of the day when I started to feel a little dizzy and weak. We sat down to rest, thinking I was just dehydrated after a long day at the park. He offered to go get a drink to help rehydrate me, then began to rub the top of my hand to comfort me. It was then that he noticed that my left hand didn’t look quite right and asked me what was wrong with it. The left side of my body had gone limp, and I didn’t even realize it. We decided to walk over to the first aid station at the park to get further assistance. As soon as I tried to stand up, my legs collapsed under me. He sprang into action, quickly seeking out the aid of a park employee. He continued to talk to me and comfort me throughout the initial assessment, prior to surgery, and during my recovery. He tried to keep me calm and did everything any adult would have done...and then some. He took responsibility to get the car from the parking lot, contacted family and followed the ambulance to the hospital. The paramedics and park staff were amazed by his responsibility and compassion. He truly is an amazing kid. His awareness and quick action surely had a positive impact on my health and subsequent quality of life. Doctors removed most of the clot from my brain, with minimal damage to my occipital lobe.
My stroke was not caused by a pre-existing medical condition. I’m a runner and am fairly healthy. I feel like my story exhibits that there is not a “typical” stroke victim. I want others to understand the importance of knowing and recognizing the signs of stroke, and acting quickly. I had lost a large part of my peripheral vision on one side prior to the surgery to remove the clot in my brain. At the time, my neurosurgeon told me that the surgery he performed would not have been possible at that hospital just six months prior, and that I would have only been given clot-busting medication and would never have regained most of my peripheral vision. While advancements in the medical field and the talents of my doctors amazed me, I was even more impressed with my son’s strength, courage and empathy.