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    21 Year Old Female Stroke Survior
    DCLasVegas posted:
    Hello all,

    I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right community or not, but I have a lot to share and would like to start here. As mentioned above, I'm a 21 year old female and on 2-7-12 I suffered a stroke (official diagnoses CVA: Cerebrovascular accident), luckily it was not a hemorhagic stroke (bear with me, I'm new to all this). To set the scene, I'm reasonably healthy, healthy weight, low BP, BMI, non-smoker, light drinker, no history of stroke or cancers, basically I had very little chance of having a stroke.

    I was at work, I had no warning signs--it just hit me like a ton of bricks. My right arm went numb and limp and I couldn't hardly speak. Luckily I was able to get out the words "I think I'm having a 911" and within three minutes I was being treated by paramedics. They were fairly certain that I was having a stroke. I was crying hysterically for the fear that I could not longer speak, I knew something was really wrong. The paramedics warned me that if I continued to cry, the doctors in the ER might mistake my obvious stroke symptoms for anxiety. Within fifteen minutes of first noticing symptoms I was at the hospital (thank god there's a fire station and hospital right next to my work)! In the ambulance I was treated with oxygen and IV fluids and I began to regain 5% of control in my right hand (I couldn't lift it or use it in any way, but I could wiggle my fingers a little bit).

    The ER doctor rushed me to get an MRI and when he came to deliver the results he informed me that he saw abnormalities on my scan but because I'm so young (too young for a stroke) he believed it to be a severe migraine paired with anxiety. He prescribed me sedatives, gave me a packet about anxiety and sent me home.

    For the next day and a half I did nothing but sleep and approximately 36 hours later I woke up with severe dizziness and nausea. Luckily my boyfriend was home and was able to take me to the same hospital I was "treated" at less than two days prior. They immediately admitted me, confirmed that I had a stroke two days prior that basically went untreated, and began actual treatment. I was in the hospital for a week where they determined that I have atrial fibrillation due to a birth defect where the chambers in my heart didn't form properly which created clots that dislodged and went to my brain (I think it's called VSD, but again I'm not a doctor and had difficulty understanding most of what they said).

    The long and short of the rest of my stay is: I was put under anesthesia while they placed a scope down my throat to officially diagnose the heart condition. I woke up, was told I need heart surgery, a minor procedure where they go in through the groin and fix the problem, much less invasive than cracking my chest. That night and the next day I argued with the attending doctor and the cardiologist as to whether or not the surgery was necessary in preventing future strokes. I ultimately decided to go through with the procedure, it was successful and I was released the next day.

    One week after being released from the hospital, I am walking, talking, and trying to resume my daily life. My only remaining symptoms of the stroke are dizziness, tiredness, and no sensation in my right hand. I can use my hand but I can't feel very much, especially temperature. Sometimes my hand cramps up and it is very painful, and sometimes I feel tingling (feels similar to when your hand or foot falls asleep). I am overwhelmed with all that has gone on in the last three weeks and can't relate to most other stroke survivors. Most strokes happen to adults later in life, to people that are "high risk" (high BP, smokers, diabetics, etc) and most people have devastating post-stroke injuries. I don't fit in any of these categories and don't know anyone who does, so I'm online looking for answers, ideas, opinions, support, stories, etc.
    Richard C Senelick, MD responded:
    Your story is a very important one to spread to everyone you know, the newspapers and the TV stations. You did all the right things when you had the symptoms of a stroke. Stroke in young adults is on the rise. It is true that migraine can mimic a stroke, but it is important to first rule out a stroke.

    Heart defects are a common cause of stroke in young adults and you should do well. I am delighted you are getting better so quickly and don't give up if your progress seems to slow. You can continue to improve for years.

    Here is a link to an article on WebMD about styroke in young adults. There are many articles on the Internet if you use use your search engine and type in, "Stroke in Young Adults."

    You should contact the local chapter of the American Stroke Association and find out you can help share your story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Good Luck
    After your stroke you may be experiencing a new normal, but remember what George Eliot said- It is never too late to be what you might have been. You still can achieve new goals.
    itmatsb responded:
    Your story should be spread to doctors. This isn't the first time I've heard of a doctor telling a young stroke victim that they are too young to have a stroke and totally disregard it.

    You might have otherwise had tPa (sp?) treatment which has to administered within the first 3 hours, the sooner the better, to avoid stroke disabilities afterwards.
    cchornomud responded:
    Thank god you didn't die. Can anyone say malpractice? You could have gotten long lasting and possibly permanent damage due to negligence by that doctor. I wouldn't ever go back to that hospital! I am so glad you are getting better

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