It’s a frantic Thursday morning. I’m getting ready for work and trying to get my then two-year-old son sorted for day care.
I’m getting dressed, and as I raise my arms to put my top on, my right arm just sort of disappears. I seem to have lost vision in my right eye.
My entire right side feels weirdly tingly and kind of numb.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was suffering a stroke.
It happened a year ago today – and just to add to the crazy unexpectedness of it all – it was on World Stroke Day.
I was a 41-year-old relatively active, non-smoker who did not have high cholesterol. I didn’t think something like this could ever happen to me – but it did.
And while my particular situation may not be very common, strokes unfortunately are.
A stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers.
Watch a video from the National Stroke Foundation. They are encouraging people to act F.A.S.T. in stroke situations.
I was just one of 27,428 Australians who experienced stroke for the first time in their life in 2020. That’s one stroke every 19 minutes.
And while the country turns pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this month, it’s worth noting that strokes kills more women than breast cancer, and more men than prostate cancer for that matter.
Last year alone, strokes are estimated to have cost over $32 billion in direct financial impact and in mortality and diminished wellbeing.
It’s a bigger issue than I’d ever thought.
Going back to that morning a year ago, my day had started like any other. A little chaotic, perhaps, but otherwise completely normal.
My son is having a tantrum because we promised we’d go for waffles before dropping him off. It’s photo day at day care today, I’m trying to pick out a cute outfit which he will, of course, refuse to wear.