Nicky Larson spent the night before Halloween creating edible spiders and witch's hats for her daughter's daycare.
She applied ice to her left shoulder when it began to hurt, attributing the discomfort to bad posture. The following morning, she traveled to the high school in Red Wing, Minnesota, where she teaches marketing, after dropping off her daughter Molly at daycare.
Except for a few instructors preparing for the day in their classrooms, the school remained largely empty in 2010. Right as Nicky sat down at her desk, her ears began to ring. To put an end to it, she yawned. She got up when it didn't. Her entire right side then started to feel numb. She entered the hallway out of fear and collapsed on the ground.
Nicky screamed at the age of 30. Other educators rushed to assist. Someone dialed 911.
Nicky received fluids from the EMTs when they came, and they then put her in the ambulance.
Nicky protested, "I'm fine, I'm fine," immediately before she vomited.
Her former husband, Keith, received a call from the school principal and hurried to meet her at the hospital. In the hospital's emergency room, Nicky vomited twice more. Her vertigo was confirmed by doctors when they requested a CT scan. After giving her pain and nausea medications, they sent her home.
Nicky discovered her untidy, childlike handwriting the next day when paying payments. She still had a weak right leg and arm.
There's a problem, she told herself.
Her family physician requested an MRI. You need to hurry to the hospital; you just suffered a stroke, the doctor called an hour later.
Nicky was taken aback. She was younger than the average stroke survivor and had no additional risk factors. She did regular exercise, ate well, and didn't smoke.
Her neurologist was recommended by the hospital, who also recommended physical therapy for her recuperation. She did, however, also want to know why she had the stroke.
She pondered how much she wanted to live to see Molly get her high school diploma and perhaps have a family. In order to determine whether Molly was similarly at risk, Nicky also wanted to find out whether the cause of her stroke was genetic.
She finally received a response. On the left side of her neck, an artery wall was found to be damaged, causing blood to escape into the nearby tissue. The condition is referred to as a pseudoaneurysm.
The pseudoaneurysm's origin, however, remains a mystery. Her arteries are more elastic than average, which means that when they are shaken, the blood accumulated in her tissues is more likely to migrate. This was the closest thing to an explanation. Her doctors advised her to stay away from jerky, forward-moving hobbies like skiing because they could worsen her condition.
The ambiguity emotionally taxed me.
I would shut down whenever my ears rang, "Nicky claimed." I suffered greatly from PTSD and what-ifs.
She let her mind wander, imagining what might have occurred if she had suffered a stroke while driving with Molly. She stopped exercising as a result of her depression.
Because I didn't want to come across as weak or vulnerable, I wallowed in my own misery and kept a lot inside, Nicky said.
Therapy was helpful. She later divorced. She later ran into Justin Larson.
She was first "extremely careful, guarded, and reluctant to do a lot of things," according to Justin. She was able to overcome her worries after telling him about them. She reasoned that life is too short to live that way.
He remarked, "I hope I've had some influence on her." She is now more eager to take risks.
Additionally, the couple has taken charge of their health. They've stopped drinking soda, increased their cooking, and switched to a healthier diet.
Nicky has also started educating people about the symptoms of a stroke. She shares her experience with kids, working with the health teacher at her school to educate them on how to recognize a stroke FAST: "F" stands for if you notice facial drooping, "A" for arm weakness, "S" for speech problems, and "T" for time to call 911.
The woman claimed that I would have realized I was having a stroke if I had known what the FAST signs were. I was unaware and believed I could never have a stroke.
Her best suggestion is to keep all of your doctor's appointments and to speak up if anything doesn't seem right. Nobody is more familiar with you than you are.
Don't disregard having a stroke simply because you are young.
Young age does not imply immunity, Nicky said. Knowing the warning signs, risks, and effective preventative measures for heart disease and stroke is crucial since it could endanger your life or the life of a loved one.