How old were you when you had your stroke? 27
- Date of your stroke? 09/30/2015
- What general area do you live in? Riverside, California
- Type of Stroke? Unsure
- Any known reasons for your stroke? The reason for my stroke was a blood clot due to heart failure that I did not know I was experiencing at the time.
- Were you administered TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within the first 3-5 hours of your stroke? No.
- Where did you go for inpatient rehab? Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles.
- What are your biggest challenges/residual effects?Thankfully I do not have any huge residual effects. I have noticed however, that the strength in my left hand is not the same that is in my right hand.
What were your symptoms? What were you feeling during your stroke? Tell us the story of what happened.
Before my stroke I remember driving home on the freeway with intense stomach pains and an extremely painful headache located at the center of the top of my head. The headache eventually went away, but I had severe stomach cramping all night on the side of my stomach. I eventually was able to relieve myself, and when I finally did, I could not lift myself off the toilet because my legs did not work. I had to crawl to my bed from my bathroom. Because I did not know that I experienced a stroke, foolishly I took a nap to see if I would eventually get feeling back in my legs. Upon waking up, I found that I did, but then realized my thumbs did not properly work when I was typing during texting.
That was my first stroke. A few days later, I experienced my second stroke. This one was much more scary, and this is when I first went to the hospital after I had it. I was in my room and all of a sudden my body stiffened and I collapsed on my bed (thankfully) stomach first. My legs began to move uncontrollably, and I was in a state of confusion. I immediately called my brother with slurred speech because I just knew something was wrong. At that time I felt and sounded drunk to put it best. Instead of calling my mother, I decided to text her because speaking was very difficult for me. Texting was difficult because I had the words in my head, but I could not form them in sentences when I began to text. At this time both of my arms were completely numb. I remember digging my nails deep into both of my arms and scratching really hard, and still I had no feeling.
That night I went to the hospital with my left hand moving around uncontrollably in circles, and I vomited a green colored liquid. My legs were weak, and I had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. It was a very scary moment in my life.
My last stroke was thankfully while I was in the hospital. I remember taking a nap and waking up to my complete left side of my body numb. I had slurred speech, and the left side of my face drooped. I was also blind for a moment, and it took me a week to get feeling back in my legs so that I could walk again, This was the first time during my strokes that I actually cried and felt really unsure about my future, and if I was ready to live with a disability, or possibly die.
What is something quirky/fun about yourself?
Although others do not agree, I generally think of myself as a really boring person (lol). Before my strokes, I have always wanted to model, and I finally got the opportunity to do professional modeling with big named companies and brands. It has been a cool experience, and it is something that I hope to continue in the future. I also like to paint, and do crafts.
What keeps you motivated now?
Living a healthy lifestyle keeps me motivated now. First, I worked out at the gym for the outer appearance. now I work out and eat healthy to help prevent another stroke. Family and faith is also a huge motivator for me as well.
Remain determined. Do not get discouraged!
Post recovery, what is something you have learned that might encourage others?
Share your story! Doing something like this, or even talking to someone that you are just now getting to know can help you or someone else so much. Recently I have met two new friends my age that have experienced strokes themselves. Our community unfortunately is not as small as one may think. I have developed lifelong connections with these two individuals, and I am thankful to know that I am not alone.
What advice would you give someone recovering from a stroke now?
Please don’t let anxiety get the best of you. I was already an anxious person before all of this, but now every time I experience my hand or foot going to sleep, I immediately freak out and pray that I am not having another stroke.
How did you hear about NOPW?
Some years ago I remembered hearing a story about Malcolm in The Middle star Frankie Muniz having a stroke at a very young age, so I googled it, and came across the NOPW website through the comments on the article.
Follow Justin on instagram HERE!
What’s your favorite motivational song?
My favorite motivation song is “Through the Rain” by Mariah Carey. I listened to that song every night in the hospital, and it really helped me through the process. When visiting hours were over, I got extremely lonely, and that song stayed on repeatedly.