The day that stroke changed my life at 21

Rebecca Beaumont
stroke rehab 300x225 The day that stroke changed my life at 21

(Getty Images - picture of models)

Around 150,000 people a year in the UK suffer a stroke, a third of these people are under the age of 65, and around 1,000 people are under the age of 30.

Just over a year ago my knowledge of strokes was limited. Like most people I associated strokes with the elderly, or the extremely unhealthy. I didn’t know what a stroke was or how they happened, and at 21 years old… I didn’t really care.

Then, in October 2011, I unexpectedly became one of the statistics.

As a trainee hairdresser and part time Market Researcher, my life as a 21 year old young woman was not out of the ordinary. I worked hard during the week and at weekends, I loved to put my heels on, let my hair down and party with my boy friend and friends. Life was consistent and normal and I felt I knew where my future was heading.

On the morning of Tuesday 18 October 2011, I awoke hearing my dad leave for work. It was unusual for me to be awake as he leaves the house just before 6am every morning. I went to reach for my phone to check the time, but found I couldn’t. I attempted to lift my arm again, thinking I may have had a bad case of pins and needles, but my left arm lay motionless, as did my left leg. Panicking, I screamed for my mum who sleepily came in to my room to see what was wrong. Her sleepy, bleary eyed expression instantly changed in to one of horror and fear.

My mum rang for an ambulance and I was rushed in to hospital where a team of doctors and nurses were waiting for me at the entrance. There was no hiding the confusion and shock of the medics as I was being assessed and within an hour of admission I was told I had suffered a stroke.

No matter what age you are, when you are told you have had a stroke, there is no easy way to process that information.  I lay there on the hospital bed, the left half of my body paralysed, surrounded by strange faces, being plugged into machines, and simply looked at the doctor and said: ‘OK.’

One in six people will have a stroke, and one in three of those individuals who are struck down with stroke, sadly do not survive. A third of people that survive after having a stroke are left disabled, and at the moment I fall into this particular category.

I spent two weeks in hospital in an elderly stroke ward where I underwent intense physiotherapy and occupational therapy.  Having learnt how to walk again, albeit with the aid of two other people, a heavy limp and at an agonisingly slow pace, I was discharged from hospital under the strict instruction that my therapies would continue straight away with the community rehabilitation team.

While in hospital, I endured an array of scans and tests every single day, and following my discharge there were more investigations to take place. It was only when I was given a ‘water contrast echo’ (sometimes referred to as a bubble test) that the doctors discovered I had a hole in my heart. It is known as a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) and is described as a hole between the upper left and right chambers of the heart that fails to close naturally after a baby is born. It is said that one in four people have a PFO, yet it is uncommon for them to cause problems… This wasn’t the case when it came to mine.

Doctors suspect that a blood clot formed somewhere in my body and may have made its way through the hole in my heart, and travelled up to the right side of my brain to the section called the ‘Basil Ganglia Nuclei’, the part of my brain that controls my left side movement.

Finally finding a probable cause and possible reason behind the stroke, I felt relieved, and in June of this year I had the PFO closed. The procedure was simple and extremely non-invasive, and I was home after 2 days, followed by a week of rest.

Over a year on from the stroke, I am still in recovery. The left side of my body is weak, and I suffer with extreme fatigue. I walk with a limp and struggle to use my left arm and hand, but I am a determined character and know that I have achieved so much in the past year and intend to keep improving with each day that comes.

Stroke changed my life dramatically, but I try not to feel sorry for myself. I feel lucky that my stroke attacked only my body and not my mind, allowing me to tell my story and hopefully raise awareness of stroke, specifically in the younger generation. Having got engaged earlier this year I want to focus on my future and immerse myself in positivity. I hope my voicing my experience allows other younger survivors, like myself, to see that there is life after stroke.

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  • Jonty H. Campbell

    I had one at 20, and it was an interesting, yet devastating experience that tears the center out of how you feel as a man and is a long grieving process that can take ten, 15 years to almost completely recover mentally from

  • Jonty H. Campbell
  • mothman777

    Try taking DMSO (dimethylsulphoxide), which has the remarkable property of minimizing brain damage after a stroke or any other kind of head injury, especially within 90 minutes of a stroke it has been experienced by people that they have managed to avoid any disability, but even in the cases of those who start taking DMSO years later after a stroke for instance, some have then recovered the use of limbs and mental functions previously lost.

    It is cheap, and there are many manufacturers, though the purest and highest quality for medicinal use I have found to be Jacobs Laboratories, the original discoverer of it’s medicinal properties, which are many, besides this, by the way. It is also used as an adjunct to certain alternative cancer cures, and is entirely non-toxic, having the ability to enable therapeutic compounds to pass the blood brain barrier and reach into other tissues better, where such an effect is required, and it is also an anti-cancer compound in it’s own right.

    There are plenty of internet sites to research on the health benefits of this substance. Also, to help brain tissue grow back very quickly, try phosphatidyl serine, a natural substance in the brain that is normally produced by the brain itself, though the levels of production within the body are severely reduced by fluoride in water and so on, particularly in America, where fluoride is added in absolutely massive amounts to certain foods (for instance about 900ppm fluoride to dried egg powder, almost as much as some fluoridated toothpastes, and the cumulative effect if people regularly eat reconstituted egg for breakfast; is like getting a quick lobotomy every week, hence the state of America at the moment. Despite phosphatidyl serine even being available in certain foods, foods alone won’t make up the difference, due to fluoride, so supplementation achieves the therapeutic effect desired.

  • RedDevil9

    Or perhaps not. Don’t take anything your doctors don’t prescribe for you.

  • mothman777

    Please note that I have advised to research this substance. I stand by my words that what I have mentioned in my main post would be extremely beneficial for anyone who has suffered a stroke, or brain injury.

    You can come back to me on this thread and give me details of any adverse effects, if you can find any that is, that you may wish to bring before the readers here, but I don’t think you will be able to find anything that constitutes a risk in any way to anyone’s health.

    However, if you had actually bothered to do the intelligent thing, before knocking what I said, to research, you would have been pleasantly surprised to read of many people who have had marvelous results from trying these two substances, and actually been grateful for helpful information that you can safely pass on to your friends and acquaintances.

    And what point is there in waiting for the overburdened and underfunded NHS to catch up, when they are stuck in a rut and not willing to research these substances themselves.

    Anyway, there is medical research you can look up on them anyway, though it will not be by the NHS. Anyway, I have mentioned both of these substances to doctors and they had nothing against them.

    Allopathy is the leading cause of death in the USA, with around 783,936 iatrogenic deaths (Caused by side-effects of ‘correctly’ prescribed medicines each year) and 100,000 similar deaths each year in the UK.

    You will not find either of the substances that I have recommended being the cause of death, or of harm in any way. You will find them only to have benefited people.

    I would not be so reckless as to advise people to try something that might harm them. I use both these substances myself, without any negative effects, and I speak as a person who has nearly died several times due to side-effects of allopathic drugs prescribed by NHS doctors, who were quite keen for me to carry on taking their drugs when I was clearly suffering from almost fatal side-effects, and I know other people with similar horrific experiences. I only survived because I refused to carry on taking their drugs, which had resulted in major damage to bodily organs, and they still asked me to start taking the same drug again, after assuring me thoroughly that it was perfectly safe to start using the same drug again, and needlessly suffered the same condition again, which has a 50% death rate. Obviously, they needed a second go at that. Those two occasions have not been my only experiences of ‘helpful’ treatment from the NHS where I have nearly lost my life due to their ‘whatever’.

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