I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should write this post for a year now. This blog isn’t supposed to dive into anything too deep but rather it is supposed to be a place where we can forget our daily problems and de-stress by having a quick look through pretty pictures, different style and a couple beauty products. This post is the opposite of that. It’s also extremely personal. I have had quite a few readers ask me to fill them in on what exactly happened and if anyone asks me exactly that question in person I will fill them in so I thought it would only be fair to fill you all in too. Today I am going to share my stroke story.
A year ago today I had a stroke. Until then I’m actually not even sure that I knew what a stroke was so let me help you out if you’re in the same boat. A stroke is a brain injury that takes place where there is either bleeding in your brain or a blood clot in a vein/artery in your brain which is starving your brain of oxygen. My stroke was the clot version. The clot was the size of a golfball.
What caused the stroke? This question has been the reason I decided to write this post. If my story can help any of you I have served a purpose in this life. Your blood is made up of many factors, one of mine being Factor V (five) Leiden. It is a clotting factor. I also didn’t know I had it because no one else in my family does. At the time of the stroke I was taking YAZ (ie the pill). This is important: if you have a clotting factor in your blood such as Factor V Leiden and you are taking any pill you are at HIGH RISK of clots causing deep vein thrombosis or strokes. Even more importantly: GP’s don’t check for this before freely dishing out the pill. You are at your own risk. If you ever take any advice from me it would be this: insist on your GP checking you for clotting factors before they give you the pill.
What happened? This day last year I was up at 4.30am as per usual for the gym at 5 am. I had an awesome gym session and headed off for work. I had an 11 am meeting with clients and my boss came to find me right before that to go over a few points when I started speaking gibberish. I then couldn’t figure out how to work my computer and jammed the printer. My boss thought I had a migraine, which I actually did, and had me helped to the sick room where I proceeded to have a seizure. At this point the paramedics were called, I was loaded into an ambulance and rushed into the emergency room. Next, I am told there was a serious frenzy in the emergency room, multiple brain scans, three neurologists, a specialist physician and pulmonologist and a week in ICU. Had the people I work with not acted so quickly I wouldn’t be able to write this today. Had this happened while I was driving I wouldn’t even be here today. I got lucky.
Of all of this, I maybe remember 5% of what happened. My brain turned off the lights. The memory problems continued for a good couple of months. I would just forget what we were talking about halfway through a conversation and I also had no way of remembering that we even had a conversation. I told the same joke to my friends a couple days in a row and, bless their souls, they laughed every time. They brought me books to read in the hospital and it was only then that I realised I couldn’t read. Now that was pretty terrifying! Luckily that came right on its own about a month out of the hospital and I was so grateful when that happened that I read about 5 books in a week. I’ve battled to recall words. “What is that word” became something I said all too frequently. My driver’s licence was suspended and I had to retake a driving test about 6 months down the line. The biggest and most longstanding effect, however, has been fatigue. Mental and physical fatigue. For months upon months, I would become too tired to walk and talk. It still happens now if I don’t monitor it very, very closely. Needless to say, I spent quite a few months in bed. The months after that would go out for 1 hour, then 2, etc. At the moment I’m currently on 5 hours that I’m able to function before I collapse in a heap.
How are you today? I’m still monitored very closely by my specialist who says that I still have another 6 months of recovery ahead of me. I’m taking a ton of medication. I have blood tests done every four weeks. I have Stroke Rehabilitation once a week. I am back to work but not yet able to work a full day. This recovery has taken an extraordinary amount of motivation and I could not have got to this point today had it not been my faith and for all the support, encouragement and outpouring of love from my family, friends, boyfriend, the people I work with, fellow bloggers and readers too (who I’ve possibly left in the dark too long). Just when I feel like I’m ready to give up there has always been that single comment or Tweet that has just lifted my spirits and for that, I have to thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.
[Update: If you’d like to learn more about the progress I’ve made and my full recovery, click here.]
Shaeyn Janisch says
WOW, what a great story ( bad thing but great recovery)! Don’t give up and keep your faith strong! Happy you are on the road to a good recovery!
Thank you so much Shaeyn xxs
Tina Pieterse says
Wow scary stuff Glad youre ok
Thank you Tina x
Nicola Meyer says
WOW! Thank you for sharing with us. I hope that women who read this do check with their doctors before taking the pill. We are not properly informed about effects and reading pill inserts is so confusing. I have been taken off the pill by my gyni as she didn’t like my blood pressure. Keep going and I am glad you have an incredible support base. You always look amazing, stylish and so serene.
There are so many terrifying side-effects of the pill. It’s better to come off it and stay off it in my opinion. Thank you so much for your kind words Nicola!
Dawn W says
I am so glad that you are recovering, you are a very brave lady and it must have been the scariest time in your life, thank you for sharing with us and I will keep you in my prayers
Thank you so much for the prayers Dawn. That really means so much to me x
Oh my word this post has me in tears. I can only imagine what you have been through. Do not give up, Be strong. 🙂
Thank you so much Sophia. xxx
Carla Van Der Westhuizen says
You are one incredibly brave lady to share your story! But I do think it is important that you do because I think there is probably a huge misconception that having a stroke is an “old or unhealthy person thing”. It is good to spread the word and let people see that it can happen to anyone at any time. Also important is to share the symptoms of strokes so that it gets diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Good luck with the rest of your recovery 🙂 xx
Very true. If strokes aren’t treated almost immediately the after effects are beyond frightening. As I said, I got lucky. The Rehab centre that I go to has opened my eyes to how bad it could really have been just by looking around at the other patients. Thank you so much for your comment, Carla. It really means a lot!
Zakiyah Ebrahim says
All the best with your recovery process. I’ve learnt something new and very helpful from your post. Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂 xx
Thank you so much Zakiyah. I’m so glad!!
Jane Tennet says
Wow! I have heard of several other people who have had similar occurrences with different pills. I am so glad that you’re colleagues at work were so quick to act.
I’m so glad that you have the courage to share your story and know that this could assist someone else readying it.
Hoping you have a great day and that the next six months of recovery go speedingly well!
What is scary is exactly that. These kind of stories are not that uncommon, I just think they aren’t spoken about enough. Thank you so much for your kind words Jane. They really mean so much xx
Arlene August says
What a story LeAnne! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m really glad that you’re better now and recovering so well.
Thank you Arlene xx
Ahhh don’t know how you can wake up so early to gym lol I am not a morning person
CANDICE | BEAUTY CANDY LOVES
That’s the least of my worries!
Beautiful Things says
Incredible and very valuable story. Thank you for sharing. Glad you’re on the mend.
Thank you so much!!!
Naidene Cooper says
I had a transient ischemic attack last year where they suspected that a clot passed through my eye but luckily didn’t cause any damage to the brain. I was on a call with a colleague when I started speaking gibberish. I could hear myself doing it but couldn’t do anything about it. I also went numb in my right arm. I was worried that my colleague thought I was drunk. Lol! I was also admitted to hospital for extensive tests. At the end of the day, my specialist told me that I could never take hormones again. I was also on Yaz/Yasmin. Thanks for sharing your story. Xxx
Oi, Naidene. That is terrifying!!! You can’t believe how many people have come forward and told me similar stories. Goes to show you that its not as uncommon as people think. I think Yaz is handed out waaay too freely. I hope you’re doing well now though! Lots of love x
Camilla (Jane Wonder) says
– Jane Wonder –
Thank you for sharing your story with me. Your story is makes me think back to the day my mom had a stroke. I was about 4 feet away from her and in front my eyes she was changing. The stroke symptoms was taking its shape and it became cleare to me that my mom was having a stroke. My mom slowly recovered but she has never fully returned to her own self. She is forgetful, tired and just slower. I’m just glad that my mom is still here with me and I can take care of her. I wish you al the best with your journey to recovery. It is amazing how everyone has a story to tell.
Thank goodness that you were with your mom that day. Had she been alone the results would have been devastating. She is truly blessed to have had you at her side. Life is precious and it is definitely something worth celebrating. You’re so right. Absolutely everyone has a story to tell.
Wow, I’m really sorry that this happened to you but really grateful that you are okay and made so much progress. A friend of mine had pain in her arm and they discovered as well that it’s clotting because of the pill.
Will keep you in my thoughts! xx
So scary. The pill is actually a horrible thing. There are far too many stories like this for my liking. I hope your friend is doing well now though. Thank you so much Lizna xxx
What a very inspiring story Leanne. My gosh, and what a journey you’re on. So brave you are. I always associated strokes with old people as my Grandma had one and never thought that anyone, any age could be at risk. I myself am also on Yaz and never thought of asking my ob-gyn or Doctor to do tests first. I now suppose I should do these test to make sure all is ok.
Thank you for sharing your story, Leanne and I am enlightened by it. All the best and keep being that brave and courageous girl you are. Love&Light XX
I would definitely suggest checking it out. If you’ve been on it for a while with no effects you should be fine but I would rather play it safe. Thank you so much for your kind words Olivia. You are always so sweet xxx
Thanks for sharing this post with all of us – it’s personal and has meaning and relevance to all of us. What would we do without our faith? Bless u xx
I would be absolutely nowhere without faith! Thank you so much Tracy xxx
Diva Desle says
Wow, sending you tons of love. Xxxx So happy that you are doing well after such a scary experience. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Thank you so much Desle xxx
Oh wow, Leanne! What an incredible story, and so happy to hear you’re recovering well. Major kudos to you for sharing, so brave xx
Thank you so much Khensani x
Lalannie Knoll says
I am in awe of your strength. From your social media it looks like you have the world at your feet. Your are a beautiful brave soul Leanne. All the very best on your journey to health.
Social media can be so deceptive. I try to dwell only on the positive which is probably why my social media looks that way lol. I still feel like I do have the world at my feet though, I’ve just had a little set-back. Thank you so much Lalannie xxx
Thasneem rashid says
Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are such an inspiration to us all and such a strong woman
Thank you Thasneem x
Brave girl xx
Thank you love x
Great for you for sharing this story with all of us! What a tremendous thing to have gone through. That is wonderful that is has been a full year, and it sounds like you are getting back into the swing of things 🙂
Thank you Rae. You are always so sweet xxx
Leanne, I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well!! I’m blown away by your strength through this experience!
Thank you of sharing your story!
Sending you lots of love:) Xx
Thank you Nikki. Your kindness has been absolutely cherished. Thank you so much for your support and for your flowers that brightened up my room when I wasn’t able to leave my bed. You have such a sweet heart.
your story is inspiring and insightful. Thank you for sharing. All the best on your journey to recovery.
Thank you so much x
Leanne, thanx for sharing your story with us. Wish you a speedy recovery, you are strong keep the faith.
Lots of love xx
Thank you so much Telma x
Khanyisile Ndebele says
I hope you remember, I featured you on my blog ‘Giant Leaps To Success’ a few months back. What you don’t know is that I study medicine as well and I know exactly how the mechanism of clots, emboli and strokes work. Firstly I want to say that you are lucky but most of all blessed and favoured because you are alive to tell the story today!
I also want to commend you for sharing your story with us. You are a strong person and that will help you through this time. I know it feels like a daunting time right now but myself and other readers and those who care about you know that you will get through this and get your health back on track. I admire your attitude and the fact that through it all you still smile and are still positive. I will pray for you and I know you’ll be fine. Keep the faith and the positivity. We all have you in our thoughts and wish you a speedy recovery and an amazing, healthy and blessed future. I’m glad you did this post so females out there can learn to be responsible when it comes to getting the pill.
Thank you once again and all the best. God bless you!
Hi Khanyi! Thank you so much for your comment. You are so sweet. It is faith that keeps us strong. I really do hope I can prevent someone else from going through what I did. Good luck with your studies, they aren’t easy but well worth it! PS my boyfriend is also a med student 😉
Scary how the pill could interfere and cause something so hectic, and as you say, Docs don’t bother to check before dishing out.
I am sure your post will help other young girls out there be more aware, and for that, you’re an amazing role model!
I can’t even imagine the fear and frustration you went through. You’ve always striked me as one tough cookie, and although you are still in recovery, you look totally pulled together – I don’t just mean your cute outfits. As in, if you didn’t share your story I would never have thought you suffered such an intense ordeal. Keep strong and keep wearing those killer heels xx
I really do hope I can help out, even if I simply shed some light on the situation. The fear and frustration are still there. I’m looking forward for the day that those two emotions aren’t lingering. I try to keep them at bay but some days they get the better of me. I’m so glad you think I look pulled together though haha. Thank you so much for all your support, Dimi. You really and truly are so special. x
You are so brave! Thank you for sharing. God bless you .
Tatum Hodgkinson says
Dear Leanne, thank you for sharing your incredible story. You are the epitome of a survivor and I am in awe of your strength, patience and resilience. May you continue to go from strength to strength with each day xxx
Fawn Rogers says
Thanks so much for sharing! We too have the Factor 5 Leiden gene in our family and I stopped taking the pill due to the HIGH clotting risk. Hopefully you sharing your story will make ladies on the pill a little more aware of the risks.
I’m so happy “you got lucky” and although recovery is difficult you are getting there!
Keep it up strong girl!
Lot’s of love xx
Praying for your full recovery! This is an amazing story of faith!
Samantha Pillay says
I couldn’t help crying when I read this story. You are so so so brave for sharing this! I myself don’t like talking about having a chronic illness because it just seems easier to “forget” because talking just rehashes everything up again. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for creating awareness which might save someone else. I’m sorry this happened to you and I hope you will be recover fully. You have also managed to write a post that is so inspiring. I don’t see any self pity, but a strong woman who is grateful of life and trying to do her best to get to 100%. I wish you lots of love, light and good health x
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have heard of something similar happening because of the same birth control pill and I couldn’t agree more that we need to be better informed. Thank you for being brave enough to share and I have no doubt you have saved at least one person from going through the same as you.
You are so incredibly brave and strong. It is easy to lie down when life knocks you down but the real test is when you decide to stand up again and fight back. You’ve done this and I know it isn’t easy. I wish you a speedy recovery, tons of blessings and love and the continued love and support from the people in your life.
Not only are you beautiful and talented but also inspiring and courageous. *high five*
Nicole L says
So sorry to hear that but glad you ar ok. I’ve had issues with the pill, and horrible side effects with dark spots all over my face. I went to see a dermatologist because I was scared I had skin cancer. Turns out that the hormones from the pill can cause this and it’s buried in all of the fine print. I have since stop taking the pill, and believe that God spoke to me through my vanity. There are also other religious reasons that I don’t take it now, because I am married.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I don’t feel enough people do.
Gaelyn @ Heart of Iron says
I had absolutely NO idea about any of this, wow. Luckily my medical training meant I was aware of the risks of the pill and other meds on different people and their specific health profile. But nowhere near enough people are, and that is frightening! Thank you for sharing your story, I am sure you were nervous to but reading through all the wonderful comments above should hopefully have reassured you that it was the right thing to do. Good luck for the next 6 months of your recovery, keep on keeping on! xxx