When I was 23, I suffered a stroke in my left caudate nucleus. As I frequently had migraines in the past, I thought I was having the worst migraine of my life. I did not know what was happening until my roommate recognized that I was limping on the right side, one of the FAST symptoms, and I sought out medical attention. I was a scientific researcher and graduate student studying heart disease at a prominent hospital in Boston, but I had no idea that stroke could happen to people of all ages including children and young adults.
Over the past four years, my recovery has taught me incredible lessons of strength, endurance, and courage. I was able to regain strength in my right side. After two years of physical therapy and occupational therapy, I relearned how to walk and coordinate movements properly. I now enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle with regular yoga and exercise to maintain this functioning.
From the onset and therapy to the denial and acceptance of my stroke, each year my recovery continues to bring different challenges. Millions of survivors face challenges after stroke and cardiovascular disease for the remainder of their lives. These obstacles are far reaching throughout families, workplaces, and the healthcare system. However, we know stroke and cardiovascular disease are beatable and treatable. Each one of these obstacles can be tremendously impacted with increased research, improved treatment and prevention awareness. My story is not perfect, and I was very fortunate. I am here as an advocate for those survivors who cannot speak for themselves, and to increase awareness on stroke and cardiovascular disease within our community.
Thank you for sharing your story. All of us need to learn more about stroke and its effects.