Stroke in Your Early 20’s
Just 2 years ago, it was just after my 21stbirthday when my symptoms increased. I could not get out of bed eight days later. I had a massive stroke.
An injury at this age affects everyone differently. Some will walk away untouched, some with a journey of a recovery, others not at all. I’ve been a lucky one, but there were challenges even to this day.
Your life may just never be the same but, you are who you make yourself to be.
On the day of the stroke, I could still manage to eat and drink until three or two days later; I choked and it got worse. The stroke, in the end has caused me the following: double vision with an eye that just keeps moving up and down, numbness in the entire left half of my body, imbalance, poor cognitive function, eye sight problems, and difficulty with memory and logic.
Yet, over the course of two years of prayer, faith, rehab, and determination; I have been walking, talking, and eating all foods. I did start from the wheelchair with slurred words and total weakness throughout my entire body.
However, this 22 year old just will not give in, and neither should you. There was depression, limitations, and dependence, but when you persevere and just keep moving through the storm at the end you do find a rainbow. Obstacles I face now have been and will continue to be college, reputation, work, and just life in general.
In your 20’s you are just becoming an adult with college, getting a job, and what-ever your mind is set on. Here are some of my troubles now:
With work, I still have imbalance issues plus other limitations from birth. I worked at a veterinarian’s clinic as a kennel manager before the stroke. Due to new limitations, the loss of strength and interest, it might just be time to visit TWC which used to be known as DARS. I was fortunate for my employer; they kept my spot and waited for me. Most people just usually get laid off. Unfortunately, my limited hours may not fit my employer’s needs.
Since I just started school and depending on the class, different types of challenges came at me; these include logic in math to memory in history. I have been working with ACCESS at my college to help me get through these classes. Due to the numbness in my left side, which was my dominant side, my right hand has taken up the slack. My typing is faster than my writing.
I was used to being a full time Kennel manager who ran, biked, drew, walked, and bathed her dog. I was a person who had excessive energy, cooked, cleaned, sewed, nit, loved to drive, and be independent. Now, I am a 22 year-old who trikes, draws, gets creative, learns, drives, cleans, cooks, and continues to improve in everyday activities.
Then, there are hallucinations from time to time. It is always out of the corner of my eye and the second I glance to see it, it is the same second I realize, “Oh Man” it was never there. While I can determine hallucinations from reality for now, what about 30 to 40 years from now?
Then, we have the cane! Have you ever seen a 22 year old with a cane? Now you have, or at least you are reading about it. With school around the corner, I know the cane will or might grab attention, and if so, bring it on! I have a testimony to tell.
How does having an injury at such a young age affect someone? What obstacles have you had to overcome for a young person with a brain injury?
The answer is different for everyone.
~Mariam, BIND Member