Stroke at 17
The summer of 2017 was quite memorable for me, mostly because I got to start my senior year of high school by saying "oh yeah want to know what I did over the summer? I went to Hershey Park, went to the YMCA a lot, started my summer homework, and oh I also had a stroke."
I remember going to sleep, then at around 4 AM I got up to go to the bathroom and woke up at about 8, I remember being a little dizzy and completely exhausted like I'd never even gone to sleep. I was also seeing two of everything. I got out of bed and with the coordination of a drunk person, walked into the living room where my brother was sleeping. I told him to call our mom and have her make an appointment with the eye doctor. I remember being really sensitive to light and could not shake the feeling that something was completely off, not just with the double vision, but that something was really wrong. When my mom took me to the eye doctor, he examined my eyes and noticed that there was a tick in my left eye when he did the "follow the finger" test, my right eye would wander and then tick. I knew something was wrong because I could feel it wandering and ticking. The eye doctor then told my mom to take me to the ER.
When we got there, everyone just assumed I was drunk or was on drugs. They finally took a blood sample to rule that out. We got there at about noon, and by the time I actually got the MRI, it was about 10 at night. I spent hours sitting on a gurney waiting for a doctor to tell me what was wrong, all that time wasted. My mother, father, and brother, who had all come to see me at the hospital had all gone home for the night when one of the night doctors came in and told me they got the results and she told me that I'd had a stroke. As soon as she said that the first words out of my mouth were "am I going to die?" she quickly assured me that I wasn't, but that did not make me feel better. I'd had a stroke. At 17 years old. I'm a track athlete, I'd never taken any drugs. I was on birth control though. After she finally left, I curled up in a fetal position and began crying, I'd never been more scared in my entire life. I had to find out by myself that I'd had a stroke. Minutes later my phone rang and my father and brother were on the other line, they said my mom was on her way back to the hospital. I know they were just as scared as I was but they were trying to hide it.
The doctor showed me the MRI results from the next day, it was a "mini-stroke" in the middle of my brain, it was very tiny, and only affected my vision temporarily, so I consider myself very lucky. However, I am still terrified every single day that I will have another stroke and that I might not wake up tomorrow. I am no longer on the birth control and have had every blood clotting disorder tested for and all have come up negative.
I find that humor helps me deal with the anxiety because if I cannot make fun of it, then I let the stroke control me and I will not let that happen. I still get tired often, I have to take naps frequently. I had the stroke 7-31-17, the double vision went away completely by November. I still have reoccurring symptoms sometimes, but that usually only happens when I'm tired or stressed out.
I was only in the hospital for 3 days, about a week later I was back at the gym, getting ready for the upcoming cross country season, then that same week I went back to work, then back to school for my senior year in September. I consider myself very blessed that my stroke was small and only had temporary side effects