Feb 15
kgonza1 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

From 24 Hours To 4 Months: My Stroke Story

May 20, 2016 I flew to Los Angelas, CA to visit a friend.  Just a quick trip to LA, 24 hours, if that.  Three hours after I landed at LAX I had a stroke.  I was a 46 year old woman in good health.  I didn't know I was having a stroke, aside from the severe headache I was experiencing.  I got out of bed and kind of stumbled into the bathroom.  I felt my face go numb and immediately thought it was Bells Palsy.  However, I started to feel paralysis in my left arm and in my left leg.  I could barely stand and definitely could not walk.  I was paralyzed on my left side from head to toe.  My friend helped me into the other room and called 911.  The Ambulance and health care personnel arrived within 20 minutes of the stroke.  They took me to Long Beach Memorial Hospital ER and where they took CT scans and an MRI among other things.  I was then taken up to ICU and stayed in ICU for about 5 days.  I was then moved to the Neurology floor for 2-3 weeks.  Physical Therapy tried to get me to stand but it was not pretty.  By the way, the hospital food was not very good if you are a vegetarian.  When I was released from the hospital, I went to a rehabilitation hospital in Tustin.  I was so happy to stop using bedpans!  I was also able to get a coke too.

I spent four weeks in rehabilitation, two weeks longer than everybody else.  Rehab was hard.  I had Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy at least twice a week.  The goal for PT was to walk with a cane.  Everyone else seemed to leave on a walker, so I was bit jealous.  The goal for OT was to be able to cook and bathe on my own as well as dress myself.  I really got to know all my therapists, nurses, and aids and missed them a great deal when I left the facility.  

After rehab, I moved into a room at my brothers house in the OC (Orange County).  I had home health PT and OT come twice a week for 9 weeks  and then started outpatient PT through the end of September.  During my time in the OC, I swam almost every day which strengthened my muscles and helped with my balance and stamina.  My 24 hour trip to LA lasted four months.  When I returned to Dallas, I started outpatient OT and PT through the end of December.  No one expects a stroke, it takes seconds, but recovery takes up to three years.  

I am thankful that I survived the stroke.  The cause of my stroke was not high blood pressure, i don't have that, stress, or my diabetes, it is well controlled.  The cause of my stroke was the daily aspirin I took for heart disease prevention.  My stroke was a hemorrhagic stroke.  I continue to work hard to get my body back in shape and to strengthen the left side of my body.  Each day is a new day with an improvement to my body and recovery.
  • Graymatter
    I know exactly how you feel kgonza,because I was DRIVEN to get myself back up to snuff physically,as I was an avid weight-lifter and firefighter,thus a very"physical"individual!! And those on the outside looking IN,can never really comprehend the sheer scale of frustration one suffers being"sent back"to the "1st grade"physically!! O' the demoralization involved in learning EVERYthing OVER again!! I thank the Lord for strengthening the resolve of my body AND mind!!
  • Rkbuck
    I am interested in your comment that the daily aspirin caused your stroke. I've never heard that as a cause before. My doctors did multiple tests to determine the cause of mine but never were able to pinpoint it-no high cholesterol, no high blood pressure, no diabetes, etc. Do you have any information on taking daily aspirin causing strokes? Thanks and glad you are continuing to improve.
  • AHA/ASA Sarah Ismail
    AHA/ASA Sarah Ismail,
    Hi Kgonza1, Thanks for sharing such a motivating and driving story! I am also curious to know if your doctor had told you that your stroke was caused by your daily Aspirin? Wishing you all the best, Sarah
  • sfrank
    Thanks for sharing, my story is very similar story. My doctor still has me on a daily aspirin. Would like more information on this. I do not think the medical field would be recommending taking a daily aspirin if it was going to harm you. If anyone has any information on this topic please share.
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