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30’s

Lainee | 30 | UT

By | Stroke Story, Female, 30's | One Comment

How old were you when you had your stroke? 30

  • Date of your stroke? 03/11/2017 
  • What general area do you live in?  St. George, Utah
  • Type of Stroke? Ischemic Stroke
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Caused by a condition called Primary Hyperaldosteronism or Conns Syndrome.
  • What were your symptoms? We were getting ready for bed and mid sentence I couldn’t speak. My husband was confused until he noticed my arm wasn’t moving. He pinched it and it was completely numb. My left face was dropping and my blood pressure had spiked to 215/151.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No.
  • Where did you go for inpatient rehab? My insurance denied in-patient rehab stating they didn’t see any reason.
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Dixie Regional Neuro Therapy
  • What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?I’ve spent a month learning completely how to walk again. I’m left handed and the stroke happened on my left side, so I’ve had to learn to use my right side more.

What keeps you motivated now?

Life! I can’t wait to hit the trails again and explore this world. I want to experience everything with my family and that’s why I fight to walk and gain use of my hand!

What advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now?

You know, I really struggled with acceptance. I thought I would wake up better each kind of like th flu… but that’s not how the brain works. I had to accept this new life and really let myself feel all the emotions. It’s a rollercoaster of feeling so strong, to feeling so helpless. Support is everything, let people in and just fight for every single step!

Patience.... be so very patient! These things take time.

Post recovery, what is something you have learned that might encourage others? 

Patience…. be so very patient! These things take time.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I love jump-roping!

Any therapy tips you picked up during your time in therapy that might help others? 

The more you do at home the more progress you will make. Focus on making each movement count and that it’s correct. Fight like hell to make that connection.

How did you hear about NOPW?

From Instagram! Thank you for letting me know about this community!

Follow Lainee on instagram HERE!

Meggan | 33 | CA

By | Stroke Story, Female, 30's | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 33

  • Date of your stroke? 12/07/2016
  • What general area do you live in?  Sherman oaks, California
  • Type of Stroke? TIA 12/7/16 & Embolic stroke on 3/16/17
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Chiropractic manipulation- Vertebral artery dissection causing a TIA. Embolic stroke during surgery (angiogram/ cerebral embolization)
  • What were your symptoms? I started having severe neck pain in the middle of the day Sunday that got progressively worse each day. On Wednesday I bent over & when I stood up I had double vision. My co-worker walked in & her face looked like it was melting. I lost my peripheral vision, was slurring words & although my brain was fully aware I couldn’t properly express myself. I also had electrical shocks down my left arm & hands.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? Don’t know what that is.
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? UCLA
  • What are your biggest challenges/residual effects? Headaches, dizziness, loss of dexterity, unable to work right now (I’m a dental hygienist), anxiety that it will happen again.

What keeps you going now?

My family, my two dogs. Hearing that I’ve been so strong through this (I don’t always feel that way inside but it motivates me to hear this). Also, that maybe I could help bring awareness to strokes… I’ve heard from two other people that they were diagnosed with a “migraine” and sent home and then had a massive stroke.

What advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now?

You can never ask too many questions, find a good support system (message or call me!), take time to heal & take naps. Make yourself your first priority- people will understand.

You can never ask too many questions, find a good support system (message or call me!), take time to heal & take naps. Make yourself your first priority- people will understand.

Post recovery, what is something you have learned that might encourage others? 

Be your own advocate. When I was in the hospital the first time, with the symptoms, the doctors said I was having a migraine. It just didn’t feel right. I could’ve been released but I opted to stay overnight in order to get a MRI in the hospital. I’m so glad I did! Doctors said had I gone home, I probably would’ve had a massive stroke.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I’m obsessed with my two dogs & I love pigs! My dream is to own an animal sanctuary with rescued pigs, cows, turkeys, goats, etc. I love crossfit & paddle boarding (although I can’t exercise just yet, I hope to get back at it soon)!

How did you hear about NOPW?

I was searching key words such as stroke, Tia, vertebral artery dissection.

Follow Meggan on instagram HERE!

What is your motivation song? 

Krystal | 31 | OR

By | Stroke Story, Female, 30's | 2 Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 31

  • Date of your stroke? 2/29/2016
  • What general area do you live in? Sweet Home, OR
  • Type of Stroke? Ischemic
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Pregnancy related 8 weeks at time of stroke.
  • What were your symptoms? Balance issues having hard time driving on my side road.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab? Eugene, Oregon
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Hospital in my area. Been at rehab for two months progressing slowly still walking with cane and AFO part of time. Arm function still not too functional to do daily tasks but able to work with weights to gain movement and muscle back into arm. I plan on doing a clinical study at OHSU next year which will focus mainly on arm function that’s been lost to regain it back. Wish me luck. 

What are your biggest challenges/residual effects? Due to pregnancy recovery has been up and down currently resting at home till our twins arrive September then will start rehab again. Left side weakness I can walk with leg brace and cane, arm has slight movement

What is something you have learned that might encourage others?

Everyday a struggle being pregnant with twins lots HORMONES running through my body, my husband encourages me and our faith in God to get us through this.

What keeps you going now?

My babies I’m not able to do much now but in a few months I’ll be hitting up rehab hard for our girls they need strong and healthy mom.

Never give up no matter what! Trust in yourself and God.

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I’m known as a air head kind girl ditzy. Lol

What is your Instagram handle so others can follow you?

@k_kauffman4

How did you hear about NOPW?

On Instagram! 

What is your favorite motivational song?

Bryan | 30 | CA

By | Stroke Story, Male, 30's | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 30

  • Date of your stroke?  11/9/2015
  • What general area do you live in?  San Diego, CA
  • Type of Stroke? Carotid Artery Dissection
  • What were your symptoms? What were you feeling during your stroke? I had a small stroke and a much larger stroke the next day. Symptoms of the first one were inability to speak and inability to move my right side. I was in the hospital for the second stroke. I collapsed and was completely unresponsive.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? Yes
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab? I didn’t do in patient rehab.
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Sharp Memorial Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation, San Diego, CA. I live in San Diego and my stroke team is from UCSD. I was in the Stroke Center when I had my big stroke. They were fantastic and there is no question that I would not be where I am now if not for their skill and expertise.

What keeps you motivated now?Football. Before my stroke, I was a semi pro football player. I lost a lot of strength after my stroke. I knew I wanted to play football again. I first started playing catch with a tennis ball with my dad. Then I started running around cones to try to get my coordination back. I added weights, running, swimming. A few weeks ago, my neurosurgeon took me off blood thinners and gave me his blessing to go back to football. I am the starting punter for the San Diego Thunder. Our first game is in 3 weeks. I’m pretty anxious about how I will do, but football had kept me going and it’s something I need to prove to myself.

What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?

Aphasia. My mom is writing this for me. Reading, writing and speaking are still difficult, but I am slowly getting better. My right hand is still numb and I have difficulty with fine motor skills, like clipping my nails. Everything is harder when I am tired.

What is something you have learned that might encourage others?

I have learned to enjoy life and never take it for granted.

I have learned to enjoy life and never take it for granted.

Bryan

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I have a orange tabby named Frankie. She has been a big part of my recovery.

How did you hear about NOPW?

Instagram #youngstrokesurvivor (@nopw_)

Krista | 35 | CO

By | Stroke Story, Female, 30's | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 35

  • Date of your stroke?  12/10/2014
  • What general area do you live in?  Grew up in Paola, KS- but now live in the foothills of Denver
  • Type of Stroke? Left side
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab?  No in-patient rehab, but was in the hospital for three weeks and over Christmas. I kept having TIAs, and they finally figured out that blood thinners don’t work well for me and switched me to anti-platelets and the TIAs stopped.
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? Speech therapy at Littleton Hospital for several months – still going.

W hat are your biggest challenges/residual effects? I have ongoing expressive aphasia that gets pretty bad when I am tired. I have some typical “brain injury” symptoms like getting really overwhelmed in noisy or loud places, can’t deal with bright light, etc… I also now have frequent migraines and nerve pain and some of the meds they have given me to try to treat that has been pretty awful. I have apraxia in addition to aphasia, but therapy helps a lot. I was / am a pretty avid yogi, and have noticed that I have balance issues now when standing on my right side that I never had before, and also have some very mild ongoing Horner’s. Any type of overexertion brings on headaches, dizziness, and worsens my speech stuff, so I try to rest a LOT and go easy on myself. Overall I was pretty lucky, and my strokes were mild.

W hat was something that kept you going during your stay in the hospital that might encourage others? My family was amazing – as were the nurses. The nurses brought me in a Christmas tree and were just so kind and caring, I don’t know what I would have done without them. The doctors were pretty flummoxed that my dissection had worsened, so it was pretty tense at times as they argued a lot amongst themselves about whether to send me to surgery for a stent. But the nurses kept it lighthearted and made sure I stayed calm and that my family was assured it would be ok; they had a sense of humor about it all and it helped us relax.

What keeps you motivated now? I am just grateful to be here. I have to believe that a higher power was looking out for me – as my mom happened to be staying with me for the holidays and witnessed my first stroke. I wouldn’t have been able to call an ambulance or text anyone for help, so I am so grateful she was there! Also – the doctors told me that most of my recovery would be in the first 60 days. I am 90 days out and am still recovering and my therapists say I will continue to improve for many years- so I have hope!

What advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now?

I try to be forgiving and kind to myself. I get easily frustrated when I can’t do what I want to do- exercise, speak eloquently, go to a concert. I am learning to rest and to just be kind to myself when I am tired. Its OK to be tired and to say you need a quiet minute or two for a break! Its ok to have bad days and to not always feel positive and “grateful” all the time and to sometimes even get a bit frustrated. Overall, I think all of us survivors can’t help but be glad for the chance to keep on waking up and seeing the sun rise… Also, don’t be shy! Tell people about stroke. Tell them that strokes don’t affect intelligence! I had an acquaintance on Facebook make a comment about how “stupid” a politician was being, then jokingly ask if he had a stroke. It fired me up and put me on a mission to educate people! You can help, too!

“Its OK to be tired and to say you need a quiet minute or two for a break! Its ok to have bad days and to not always feel positive and “grateful” all the time and to sometimes even get a bit frustrated.”

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I used to be a professional opera singer. The doctors expressly forbade me from singing opera for 6 months or until my dissection healed. I thought that was pretty funny.

Any other missing details to your story?

 I definitely had no idea that young people could have strokes and now I am on a MISSION to spread the message that it can and does happen. I want everyone I know to be able to name the signs of a stroke!

How did you hear about NOPW?

 NOPW contacted me on Instagram. I assume they found me because I use the hashtags #strokeawareness (and others) on my little mission to raise awareness about stroke and aphasia in young people.

Kylie | 34 | KS

By | Stroke Story, Female, 30's | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 34

  • Date of your stroke? 9/22/2013
  • What general area do you live in? Olathe, KS
  • Type of Stroke? Venous Thrombosis
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Numerous tests were performed in the months after my stroke, but no reason was ever found.
  • What were your symptoms? I woke up in the middle of the night, and my right arm felt like it was asleep. I had been sleeping on my right side, so initially, I wasn’t alarmed until I tried standing up and realized I couldn’t move my right leg either. Several hours later, at the hospital, I developed a severe migraine that lasted all night.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab?  At the time of my stroke, I lived in New York City and was in the acute physical therapy rehab at New York Presbyterian for two weeks until I was discharged and moved back to Kansas.
  • Where did you go for out-patient rehab?  I did physical and occupational therapy at the KU Spine Center at KU Med for nine months.

W hat is something you have learned that might encourage others? The body is amazingly resilient with great muscle memory, and the speed and ability for it to recover often depends on your physical condition before the stroke, so take care of your body. Stay active! As ironic as it may seem, I was a healthy, active personal trainer when I had my stroke. Doctors told me a huge part of my ability to recover function of the right side of my body was because I was already in good physical condition. The other part was my attitude. Always stay positive and remember to look at how far you’ve come since your stroke. When I get discouraged, I look back to when I couldn’t even walk or move my fingers.

W hat are your biggest challenges/residual effects? Because I suffered hemi-paralysis on my right side and was right handed, writing is still very challenging and is shaky and looks like chicken scratch. My whole right side is weaker, and I still have gait issues if I walk more than twenty minutes.

When I get discouraged, I look back to when I couldn’t even walk or move my fingers.

W hat advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now? Similar to what I said before, the body is amazingly resilient with great muscle memory, and the speed and ability for it to recover often depends on your physical condition before the stroke, so take care of your body. Stay active and positive. Attitude has a huge impact on your speed and ability to recover. Also, it’s extremely important to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Make your recovery and yourself a priority!

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I lived in New York City for seventeen years, so I’ve seen a lot of crazy things, and I’m down for trying new things. Life is too short not to. I also dye my hair red for fun and take my dog Bandit everywhere. I’m obsessed with him!

What keeps you going now?

 I still have muscle weakness and balance issues, so as a personal trainer, I’m constantly motivated to challenge myself. I may not be able to do the same weight or have the same stability or quickness, but I practice everyday to improve on these. The only way to improve on something is to practice, practice, practice!

How did you hear about NOPW?

I volunteer at the KU Sports and Spine Center and Jennifer Medellin told me about it, so I went to the J.C. Nichols event where I met Amy. Also I follow NOPW on Instagram! Follow me HERE.

Tiffany | 31 | MO

By | Stroke Story, Female, 30's | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 31

  • Date of your stroke? 4/13/2013
  • What general area do you live in?  Stoutland, MO
  • Type of Stroke? Cerebellar ischemic stroke
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? PFO-hole in my heart.
  • What were your symptoms? Sudden symptoms included vertigo, nausea, blurred vision, slurred speech, dizziness, and left-sided weakness. I was so sick and the world felt very dark and wouldn’t stop spinning. My husband drove me to an ER after my symptoms didn’t improve.
  • Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab? Mercy Hospital-Springfield, MO
  • Where did you go for outpatient rehab? On-Site Rehab-Osage Beach, MO

What are your biggest challenges/residual effects? Brain-fog, problems with balance, dizziness, loss of short-term memory, fatigue, mood swings, overstimulation, aphasia. I always say I’d never pass a drunk driving test!

What keeps you going now?

I have three great boys (15,13, and 7) and an amazing husband that keep me going. And if I feel like I can’t keep going, they’re there to help. I also have a new best friend thanks to the young stroke survivor community! Nette Foster and I share similar stories and are now great friends.

What advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now?

Don’t forget the bad days-they’ll make you stronger and appreciate the good days.

Give each day a chance and never quit fighting!

What is something you have learned that might encourage others? Every day is a new day. Just because you felt down and defeated today, doesn’t mean you’ll feel that way tomorrow. Give each day a chance and never quit fighting!

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I like the guy stuff. Give me an activity that involves an engine and shiny paint and I’m in heaven!

How did you hear about NOPW?

My family is native to KC.

What’s your Instagram handle? 

@love5bridges

Abigail | 35 | UT

By | Stroke Story, Female, 30's | No Comments

How old were you when you had your stroke? 35

  • Date of your stroke? 01/25/2012
  • What general area do you live in? Orem, Utah
  • Type of Stroke? Acute stroke near brain stem, cerebellum
  • Any known reasons for your stroke? Chiropractic adjustment my neck caused a dissection in my right vertebral artery, blood clotted to heal the tear, that caused the stroke.
  • What were your symptoms? Dizzy, lightheaded, losing voice, right side numbness, massive pain at the base of my head, vision impairment, right side large motor impairment, constant nystagmus with frequent severe episodes for about a year.
  • Where did you go for in-patient rehab? Utah Valley Regional Medical Center
  • Where did you go for out-patient rehab?  PT who treated me at UVRMC also did the outpatient visits. I’m not sure but I think that was through Utah Home Health
What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?

I made a remarkable full recovery. I learned to walk again. I started driving again 9 months post stroke. I still have challenges with my balance and mild vision issues, both are more severe when I am tired. I’ll stumble a little when I am tired, and if it is dark and I am lacking visual points of reference. At times, I have difficulty spitting out a thought and my memory is not as sharp. These are not things that disrupt me from living a normal life, fortunately. They are just subtle reminders of my experience, and help me remember to be grateful for my LIFE. Along with physical therapy, I used yoga to assist me in recovering. Yoga made the biggest difference in getting my balance to where it is today, and helping my vision through focus and concentration. I wrote my yoga healing story related to the stroke back in June 2012 (that quickly people could no longer tell I had physical deficiencies!). I will email you a copy of that story, as it is much more eloquent than this. 🙂

What was something that kept you going during your stay in the hospital that might encourage others?

I spent three weeks in the hospital. First, my now husband came every evening and spent time with me. Second, my sister visited frequently. I had many other visitors (friends, coworkers, and family) and I never turned down an opportunity for a visit. I made friends with the chaplain assigned to me. I got to know the nurses, I learned about their families, I heard there stories. I thanked them often, and this kept me in a place of gratitude. I wrote an affirmation on the whiteboard in my room “I am perfectly capable of healing. My body and brain know perfectly how to heal.” AND I printed a picture of me in toe stand (an awesome yoga pose) at the beach in Hawaii (where I was the week before I had the stroke) and I put that on the wall in front of my bed so I would see it all the time. My mom brought my yoga mat to the hospital, and I got on that mat as much as I could (I could only do floor postures at that point, but it kept me motivated and kept me in a positive frame of mind).

Get moving. In any way you can, as often as possible. Yoga, physical therapy, walking, thumb wars, ANY movement.

What keeps you going now?

Toe stand will be mine again!! Having goals and dreams keeps me going. After the stroke, I became a Registered Yoga Teacher and completed Health Coach Certification at the Institute from Integrative Nutrition, and started my own health and wellness business. My family supported me every step of the way. I practice and teach lots of yoga. It helps me physically and emotionally, and I want all people to have a taste of that! I have also since given birth to another baby and taking care of my family keeps me happy.

What advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now?

1. Get moving. In any way you can, as often as possible. Yoga, physical therapy, walking, thumb wars, ANY movement. Moving the body helps to rebuild neurotransmittors in the brain, so we can relearn more quickly. 2. Eat healthy. You feel as good as you fuel. Eat lots of brain food – like walnuts, high quality fish oil, etc. 3. Positive affirmations. Staying positive is mandatory. Write affirmations, post vision boards, whatever makes you feel uplifted and keeps you working toward goals. Yes, have small incremental goals that you can spend time on daily. Have big dreams! Be full of life.

Any other missing details to your story?

Trust your body’s intuition. That is what saved my life. The EMT who arrived on “the scene” told me I had vertigo. He asked, “do you really want me to take you to the hospital in an ambulance?” I was like, hell yes! I knew I was having a stroke. For that reason, I made it to the hospital in well under an hour and was treated quickly. The doctors all said it could take up to 2 years for me to recover. Most of my recovery happened within 5 months. Yay!

What is something quirky/fun about yourself?

I am mother to 8 children in my blended family, ages 18 to 2 months. I love figuring out ways to get them to want to eat healthy. 🙂 Takes some creativity (like snakes made out of strawberries and bananas). And lots of patience.