Stroke Awareness - My Stroke Story

January 11, 2018


Warning: This is a long post, but this could help save you or your loved one's life! This message is important! Thank you for reading & helping me spread awareness to Strokes!

I feel compelled to write a post about Strokes today. You might be wondering what a stroke has to do with Frontotemporal Dementia. I guess in our situation the stroke and Frontotemporal Dementia don't have anything to do with being combined together, or as one. I was just my mom's caregiver when a stroke hit me. I was definitely blindsided by the stroke.

I had heard that caregivers sometimes pass away before the person they are caring for. I never really took those words seriously. That seemed strange to me. I really thought "how can caregivers get sick or pass away first?" I'm pretty sure now that is because stress can do a lot to your body. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your caregiving responsibilities, please, try to find some help, before it is to late! I wish I could turn back the time to where I didn't have to experience a stroke.

I was the main caregiver for my mom when I experienced a stroke. It was July 13, 2016 on a hot summer day, to be exact. I had been having bad neck pain and headaches for 2 weeks constantly. My head and neck hurt so bad even laying my head on a pillow. I had no relief whatsoever at anytime during those 2 weeks. I had tried everything to get rid of the pain, but nothing was helping. I was so desperate for any relief, so I decided to go to the chiropractor.

My stroke symptoms started while I was trying to get ready to leave the chiropractor office, after I had been adjusted, and massaged. It was a scary, terrifying, emotional, frightful, and confusing time all at once.

This is a post below, that I wrote on Facebook, about my Stroke experience. Written in May 2017.

Better late than never. I’m finally breaking my silence . . . .

You never know how strong you really are until you get knocked down a bit and get back up.   

I am so very thankful for everyone who visited me, sent flowers, fruit, balloons, & cards, offered service, helped with my mom, the calls/voicemails, texts, the prayers, and the many people who have asked how I am doing & continue to ask. None of this has gone unnoticed & it is appreciated so much!

I feel as if everything in life happens for a reason and this happened to only make me stronger and to change my life in a way that was needed. I am so lucky for my outcome and feel so very blessed.

I continue to heal every day and I can’t wait until I feel more like myself. I’m now almost 10 months post-stroke and I am so thankful to be alive! Strokes are real, strokes can happen to anyone. If it happened to me, it could happen to you.

Please be aware of stroke signs.

For me it was: confusion, slurring my words & couldn’t speak right, didn’t know who some people were by hearing their names, bad headache, bad neck pain (I also had a dissected artery in my neck that caused the stroke), blurry vision (everything all seemed together & blurry. This was the first symptom that started.), nausea, tiredness, discoordination, & vomiting.

Be prepared to be an advocate for your loved one. I thought it would get better if I laid down & finally realized it wasn’t going to get better. I went to the hospital after 4 1/2 hours that the symptoms started. I was aware of strokes (and, of course, never thought it could happen to me), but didn’t know what was happening to me at the time.

I was told in the emergency room that I was being admitted to the hospital because of a dissected artery. I was shocked when I got to my hospital room and heard the nurse tell me I’m too young to be having a stroke.

Keep on smiling! That is what has helped me get through my harder times. Many thanks to my family, friends, and especially to Paul Ahotaeiloa for being there for me non-stop and being my biggest supporter! 

My mom, who has Frontotemporal Dementia, had no idea what a stroke was. She had no idea what I was going through. She knew I was at the hospital, but I don't even know if she knew what that fully meant. I had just gotten home from the hospital, and my mom called me up, and asked me if I was going to pick her up. She was ready to hang out with me again. She would call me every day after my stroke and want me to come pick her up. She would treat me as if I was fine, and nothing happened to me. No matter what, my mom was unable to understand this time during my stroke. There was nothing I could say or do to have her truly understand what I was going through. I wanted so badly to be the same person that I was before the stroke, but I couldn't. That is probably the hardest thing for me to this day. I can't do as much, as I did before.

Another hard part of the stroke for me is that I became a new person. It has changed my whole being, and I am a new person. There are things that I can't do anymore or I have to do them differently now. I am slower. My energy gets used up quicker, and everything I do takes more energy to do than it did before.

I recently saw someone write that the aftermath of a stroke is worse than the actual stroke. I fully agree with that for my situation. A stroke is not like a surgery where you can recover from it after a few days/weeks/months or like a sickness that you can fully recover from. Once you have a stroke, you have some kind of disability whether you can see it or not. It is a permanent injury to the brain. The brain will never recover fully, but the brain can do some amazing things like what neuroplasticity does. Stroke survivors need support and they need to know that you are there for them.

Please share and help me spread awareness to Strokes. I don't want anyone to have to experience a stroke. It is something that I had never experienced before, and I hope I never have to experience another stroke again.

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has had a Stroke, is going through a Stroke experience right now, or is going through the aftermath of a Stroke.

Stay  Strong!

Take  Care  of  Yourself!

This is why I am passionate about Stroke Awareness and Frontotemporal Dementia Awareness!

. . . and REMEMBER if you have any of these symptoms below, please, please, please, get to the hospital immediately (ASAP)! I wish I had gone to the hospital sooner than I did. That is why it is important for you to be someone's advocate, and help get them to the hospital, if you suspect a stroke is present!


Photo Credit to : https://www.stemcell.life/stroke.html

A BIG THANK YOU will always go to my, Aunt Linda P, for helping save us that week of the stroke! She stayed with my mom at her home and helped my mom out. Every caregiver needs a life saver in their life, and Linda P has been our life saver during all our moments we have needed help during this FTD process.

Sharing is caring! Thank you for sharing and caring!  :)

Thank you for your support!

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9 comments

  1. Yes it is true that caregivers often die first - I'm so glad u r ok. Thanks for sharing the warning signs and your journey.

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  2. Oh wow, I am so sorry to hear you had to go through this. But thank you for sharing your story. I had a blogging friend pass away from a stroke a few years ago. She was 30.

    My mom had a stroke too , and it changed everything. I know as a caregiver myself, it is so completely consuming in so many ways that our body and spirit can take such a beating.

    God bless and hugs!

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  3. Stokes don't discriminate by age or even by health or fitness sometimes. So many people get taken completely by surprise. I'm glad you had a good end result, but with your mum's needs on top of it all, I think you've managed an amazing recovery.

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  4. Natalie, that is amazing. I had never heard of that kind of stroke. I pray that your recovery back is still making progress.
    The Blogger's Pit Stop will feature your story next linkup to help make people more aware of symptoms.
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have such a beautiful attitude. The Lord is your Strength!
    Visiting from Friday at the Fire Station.
    I followed you on Pinterest and Facebook and would love for you to follow me!
    Pinterest… https://www.pinterest.com/mintsandacherry/boards/
    Facebook… https://www.facebook.com/mintsandacherry/
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for sharing your story. One lesson for me is to take action and get medical help sooner. As women, we just tend to tough it out and keep going. Especially when we have the huge responsibility of being a caregiver. Pinned.

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  7. Thanks so much for stopping by!! And thanks so much for sharing your story!! as a nurse, I know how important it is to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke and also to be aware of your Blood pressure and other things that may lead to a stroke.
    Take care and sending prayers for your recovery!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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  8. I never heard about a caregiver passing away before the patient, but given the results stress can have on the body, I suppose I'm not entirely surprised :( I'm so sad to hear this happened to you, but am so glad that you have such a wonderful and supportive network of friends and family around you to help pick up some of the pieces while you were recovering. I imagine it must have been so difficult too to not be able to put in words what you were feeling with your momma :(

    Sending you much love and thank you for sharing--this is incredibly important for everyone to read!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I also have never heard about a caregiver passing away first! Very scary! I am a single mom who had to move back in with my parents. During this time we noticed my mom behaving different and after many tests she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She's in the early stages at this point but it's difficult as she can argue with my three year old just as if she were three herself. And many times my mother now singles out my daughter for being too rowdy during family gatherings where all the small cousins are running around doing the same thing.

    So I'm in a stressful situation myself, and after reading your post I realize it's important to take care of myself and not let my mothers distorted vision of my daughters "bad" behavior affect me so much.

    Thanks for sharing this with my blog party..this was helpful to me as well as many others I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your comment! :)

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