“Stroke can happen to anyone.”
My story by Phillip Eagle
I woke up one day and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t move properly. I was groggy, had little strength, low mobility, and a lot of confusion. When I attempted to get myself into the shower, I realized something was very wrong.
I wasn’t thinking clearly and called an Uber to go to the hospital. In that moment, I was too confused to realize the seriousness of the situation. Shortly after being admitted to emergency at the hospital, I was diagnosed with a stroke. The first doctor that saw me was unsure about what I was dealing with, since a stroke didn’t seem to line up with my age and health profile. It wasn’t until I saw a second doctor who sent me for a CT scan and then an MRI, which confirmed I had a stroke.
I was 29 years old, and I learned I had a stroke while I was asleep.
Recovery has been a long journey and it hasn’t been easy at times. Relearning how to process any type of stimulation was my largest obstacle. If my brain was given too much information to process, it would send me into an intense panic and an anxiety attack. These moments would incapacitate me in public. For the first few months, I had daily medical appointments -- whether for testing, rehabilitation, or other follow-up.
It’s tough to rebuild things in yourself that you never thought you’d have to. My experience has left me trying to redefine my life and identity at a young age. My stroke affected my family as much as it affected me. My wife became my primary caregiver, on top of us both caring for our two small children. My parents took time to help me build myself back up. My siblings listened to me talk from a dark place, mentally, as I was dealing with depression and anxiety caused from my stroke. It has been a lot on everyone I know, but I’ve had great people to support me and help me along my journey.
My experience has been hard and left me with many questions. I had to sacrifice a lot of things in my life to create a life that works for me now. It’s been filled with rehab, surgeries, and appointments. It took a lot of perseverance to get to where I am today, but I’ve learned how to believe in myself in a whole new way. I want people to know that you don’t have to be 80 years old to be at risk of stroke. Stroke can happen to anyone, even at younger ages. Even though we lose parts of ourselves when these things happen, we also find some of the greatest parts of ourselves as well.
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