“I was a ‘normal’ 18-year-old, who had just finished college studying Health & Social Care and working in a pub.
On the morning of 4th August 2013, I woke early and was getting my clothes ready for work and then I decided I would go back to bed. I woke up an hour later. I had a headache but thought nothing of it, I was too busy panicking about making sure my suitcase was packed. I was due to go to Cyprus for 2 weeks on the 7th. As I walked across my bedroom my right side started to feel weak and I fell to the floor. I was positioned sat upright in front of my mirror. I knew I was having a stroke as I sat trying to say my name in the mirror. My speech was slurred, and my face had drooped. I lived in a 5-bedroomed house with my parents and I had to army crawl down two flights of stairs to the back garden, where my mum was.
When my Mum had realised what had happened she rushed me to A&E and after a few tests; BP & reflects test, they said it was a migraine or a possible TIA and I was then discharged. The next day I felt as if my head was going to explode and I begged my Mum to take me back to A&E and she did. The nurse at the hospital said he didn’t understand why I was sent away as my BP was so low & then was so high!
I was in hospital for two weeks and had so many tests; MRI, CT, heart scans, etc. The tests showed I had a bleed on my frontal lobe and I had a PFO (hole in my heart). I had to go for lumbar punctures down in theatre, but my oxygen dropped so low I collapsed and needed oxygen. I was so scared as I thought I was having another stroke.
My Mum was my rock & my best friend, she sat bedside me everyday for the whole 2 weeks & even spent some nights with me as I was so scared! I don’t know what I would have done without her! I am so grateful & will always appreciate it!!
The weakness went, and I was so lucky that I had no lasting affects apart from a sore leg and headaches. I was so angry and thought “why me, why so young?” No one could answer my questions!
I found Different Strokes Charity from the man in the hospital in his thirties, who told me how much Different Strokes had helped him and his family through his recovery. In April 2014 I went into hospital for a PFO closure. I went through every emotion from angry, to crying, happy to sad and being horrid to others because I was so scared and confused.
My life now could not have been any better. I moved to Scotland to be with my boyfriend, I work in a nursing home, and i have been with my boyfriend for 5 years & he stuck by me. I am still scared everyday but will not let stroke define me or rule my life. I’m so lucky I feel as I have recovered very well.
My advice to someone whose suffered a stroke is; you will be afraid, you will go through every emotion but let it out.., be thankful you have survived and having a stroke may change you physically but don’t let it define you ( my brothers & sisters didn’t know how to cope with it so called my Stroke Duffy – hard to deal with but I saw the funny side in the end!). Surround yourself with loved ones! This Christmas I am now working in a nursing home and spending all my time in there making this Christmas another happy one!”
This Christmas we want to raise awareness that stroke can happen at any age, we also want to share the impact that sharing experiences has on the lives of younger stroke survivors and their families. We provide services that put people in contact to share these experiences reducing isolation and benefiting all parties. Now we need your help! 2018 will be a big year for Different Strokes, as we embark on new projects to provide specialist support and resources for specific ages. We are also aiming to increase the number of local support groups around the country.
What can we raise in 12 days to support this work?
If you can donate this Christmas your gift will be part of something special, something transformational, something life changing to enable a younger stroke survivors and their family members to reclaim their lives.
We know this time of year puts a lot of pressure on everyone financially and if you are unable to help in this way then please help us by sharing our campaign on social media:
2017-12-18T13:21:59+00:00 December 15th, 2017|Comments Off on Sophie’s Story