Stress is an everyday factor for most people. In fact, I can’t think of a stress free day since I’ve become an adult. That was 10 years ago, so that’s an enormous amount of stress! However, I can tell you a story of a life changing experience that altered my perception on why I needed to get my stress under control.
November 5, 2005, just a few months after the birth of my daughter, I began a normal stressful day at work. A few hours into the day I began to have headaches. Migraines run in my family so I thought nothing of it. I dealt with the pain for a while, but then it was all I could do to turn my head and not pass out. I went home to rest and soon after I began vomiting. This went on for a few hours until I was vomiting so violently my nose and throat bled. As I was being driven to the emergency room I began to slip in and out of consciousness. The last thing I remember is the X-ray technicians reassuring me that they would find out what was wrong and running by my bed while they rushed to do a CT scan.
When I woke I remember my family telling me the whereabouts of my daughter and what was wrong with me. A neurologist entered the room and told me I had a cluster of nerves on my brain stem that I had most likely been born with. He told me that extra nerves like that were common but only 6% of people hemorrhage and it’s mostly caused by trauma or stress. He described my episode as a mini stroke that caused a vessel to burst. The only option was surgery to remove the cluster.
A week later I was transported to a different hospital that specialized in brain surgery. I spent 2 weeks on life support since they were unable to do my surgery right away. When they were finally able to do the surgery, it was successful, however, the doctors predicted that I wouldn’t be normal again. I had to learn everything all over again, like a baby just learning to walk, talk, and even eat. At first I couldn’t even sit up and when I tried I ended up falling over. It was the most horrible feeling. However, after months of hard work I’m happy to say the doctors were in tears when I was released from the hospital. They called me a miracle. It’s been almost 9 years and I’ve made close to a full recovery. My right vocal cord is paralyzed, I can’t jump, and occasionally I lose my balance. All in all I’d say it could’ve been a lot worse and I’m very thankful.
Through all of this I learned not to let stress run my life. A simple rise in blood pressure might once again put me at risk. It is important to control stress. I realize that not everyone has a condition like mine, but stress is a factor in a lot of mental and physical health conditions, so it is important to learn the risks and manage your stress. Stress can be managed in so many different ways. Everyone has their own way of coping. Tips to managing stress can be found at the below websites.
To read more about stress and health visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress/SR00001
To read about stress and strokes visit