32 year old VAD Stroke SurvivorMy name is Kandi, and I am a 32 year old VAD stroke survivor. I was in the process of training for Disney World's 1/2 Marathon, and was running a 5K when it happened. Little did I know, that is what was happening. I was almost to the finish line, when my right shoulder began to hurt. I didn't think anything of it, just thought my sports bra was a little tight and continued towards the finish line. Then I got very lightheaded and my legs felt like they were going to give out, basically I was ready to pass out. I stopped and went and sat on the side for a few minutes, but knew that I wasn't going to be able to finish. My sister in law piggy backed me to the finish line, where I did indeed walk through the finish line. Got a cold wash cloth for myself, got some gatorade and actually felt great. As we headed to the car to leave a headache started as well as squiggly lines in my vision. I thought nothing of it, as I figured I was hungry and I have had prior headaches/migraines like that. Headed to McDonalds for breakfast and while sitting with my boys while my husband ordered our food, the whole room started to spin. I started to sweat and just wanted to lay down. After a while of laying down in McDonald's I needed AC ASAP, and asked my husband to bring me to the car. My mother in law, as well as other family members in the medical field stepped in and told my husband I needed to get to the hospital right away. When I sat up for my husband to take me to the car I was leaning to the left and my pupils were off. We found the nearest hospital, as we were out of town at the time & rushed into the ER. At the time I was still able to tell them my name, date it was, my date of birth, etc. I had signs of possible dehydration as I live in Florida, and this happened in September, they did a blood test, but that was ruled out that I wasn't dehydrated and went straight for a CT Scan and they found the clot in the lower part of my brain. And while this all was going on, I went into A-Fib, but that has been ruled out it was a fluke thing. (I pray everyday that the is in fact true). I was given TPA and put into ICU, then transferred to my home hospital, where I would spend 3 days in the ICU there. After an MRI, it showed the TPA didn't bust the clot as expected. So I had a CT-Angio done to see if I needed a stent. Where the clot was in my brain the neurologist was unable to reach the clot to stint, and said it will break apart on it's own. I was put on Coumadin, Baby Aspirin and Lipitor for 3 months. I did some physical therapy, just for my balance. I had not other deficiencies. I had a follow up MRI 3 months after, and the scan showed I was healed. I now take daily 325mg aspirin and live life to the fullest!
VAD: Veterbral Artery Dissection. (a flap-like tear) of the inner lining of the vertebral artery, which is located in the neck and supplies blood to the brain. After the tear, blood enters the arterial wall and forms a blood clot, thickening the artery wall and often impeding blood flow.