Lydia Galvin, mother of two and professional body piercer suffered a stroke last year aged just 33. Here she shares her survivor story.
” I always thought strokes were for older people. I’m fairly active and I have 2 boys aged 9 & 13 who keep me busy. I have had several surgeries but recovered from them.
27th November 2016 started like any other day, I had walked the dogs, had Sunday lunch and spent time with my family …then at 8.45pm I was on the phone to my 9 year old son and I suddenly just couldn’t hold the phone. I thought my partner was winding me up, then I couldn’t talk or move my left hand. I was shouting and screaming in my head but only slurred words and nonsense came out. My partner immediately knew what was wrong and the TV advert FAST meant he knew what to do – he rang 999 and managed to get me into hospital, he saved my life!
It is also thanks to the quick thinking of Hereford Hospital that I am alive. I had a large hyperdense blood clot in my middle cerebral artery which caused a massive stroke. I spent 2 weeks in hospital and they dispersed the blood clot and they also found a hole in my heart which I learned was a PFO. I’m now receiving physiotherapy, the community stroke team are visiting me and I’m trying to move on. I’ve been left with left sided weakness so I can’t currently use my left hand or walk outside unaided. I find the cognitive issues worse – aphasia, I cannot remember things, find it very hard to concentrate, neuro fatigue plagues my life and I’m seriously low in mood.
With the help of the stroke team, Different Strokes and Facebook forums I’ve found others like me. Strokes can affect anyone! I didn’t drink and I didn’t have high blood pressure which all proves strokes can happen to anyone !!! Know the signs! The neuro team in Hereford are now responsible for my care and we are awaiting the cardiac team to decide whether to close the hole in my heart. It’s amazing that all this has happened in 4 months!
Please educate your family and loved ones to know the signs. The speed my partner got me into hospital is the reason I am alive today. It’s weird to know I could have easily died that day. I am now under several teams to help me get better and move forward with my recovery. It’s a long road ahead but with help of my partner Phil and the Hereford community team I’ll get there!”