February is Heart Health Month and I usually don’t say much about it but I’ve been going through a lot lately and I feel like I need to speak up more often.
This is one of those stories that I haven’t talked about much on here. March 10, 2005 I was a senior in college attending Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC. I loved college, I was enjoying my time there, getting ready to graduate and really appreciated my HBCU experience. That day everything changed. I woke up that morning, extremely thirsty, grabbed the bottle of water from my night stand next to my bed. Tried to take a drink and ended up spilling it. I thought I was just being clumsy. When I walked out of my room to head to the bathroom, one of my suite-mates, Krisha, saw my face and said “Kim, what’s wrong with your face?” I told her I didn’t know and that I was going to call my mom to see if this has happened before, because my limbs were extra heavy on my left side . My mom thought I may have had another episode of Bell’s Palsy, she stated to contact my doctor and see what they advised me to do. I called and the nurse said come in this afternoon. I figured I would take my midterm, grab some lunch and go…didn’t happen. I got to class and my professor made me leave and go straight to the health center. I called my suite-mate Krisha and told her that I was probably going to have to go to the doctor earlier than planned.
By the time I walked to the nurses station, my limp was way more noticeable than before. The nurse advised me to go to the ER. I get there and can’t even sign my name, my speech is slurring and I’m dragging my left leg. They rush me to get an MRI scan, I’m on the table and I have a stroke…again. You see, the first one I had happened in my sleep. I didn’t know I had it and that’s why face was drooping and my limbs were extra stiff. After the second stroke, I no longer had use of my left side and I couldn’t talk. they had to call my parents and tell what happened and that I will probably need to be admitted into long-term care facility.
But God…Those two words right there got me through the next 18 months of strenuous rehab and a very supportive and caring family that has my back no matter what. That day changed a lot for not only me but my family. I had to learn how to walk and talk again. It was painful, difficult, and tiring but I made it through. Unfortunately, the strokes don’t end there. But I’ll be sure to share about the others very soon.