This 47-year-old woman knew something was not right.
“The sensation is happening again,” Stacey Yepes told her iPhone camera.
“It’s all tingling on the left side.”
Stacey, from Toronto in Canada, was having her third stroke in three days.
She had tried to get doctors to take notice of her symptoms but it had been dismissed at the emergency department.
This time, however Stacey was taking action. She pulled over to the side of the road and began to record a selfie video of her own stroke.
Stacey told CBC News that it started when she was at home watching television. The left side of her body went numb. She attended the local emergency department but was sent home with instructions for managing stress after all tests came back clear.
The numbing sensation happened again as she left the hospital. Stacey grew even more concerned.
Two days later while driving it happened again.
This time she pulled over and recorded it.
“It’s all tingling on left side,” she says as she points to her lower lip, trying to smile. “I don’t know why this is happening to me.”
About a minute later, she shows that it’s hard to lift up her hand.
She went back to the emergency department and the next day Doctors confirmed her suspicions.
“In all my years treating stroke patients, we’ve never seen anyone tape themselves before,” Dr. Cheryl Jaigobin the stroke neurologist at the hospital’s Krembil Neuroscience Centre told CBS News.
“Her symptoms were compelling, and the fact she stopped and found a way to portray them in such a visual fashion, we were all touched by it.”
Stacey had been having transient ischemic attacks, or “mini-strokes,” due to plaque buildup in her arteries.
Stacey told CBS News that she knew something else was going on other than stress. “And I thought if I could show somebody what was happening, they would have a better understanding.”
In Australia stroke kills more women than breast cancer. One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime. In 2012 about 50,000 Australians suffered new and recurrent strokes – that is 1000 strokes every week or one stroke every 10 minutes.
Dr. Markku Kaste with the World Stroke Organization told CNN he believes Stacey Yepes was lucky. “It’s hard to say why there was an incorrect diagnosis (initially), but things like that can happen,” Kaste said. “Still, the quicker you are to the hospital, the higher the likelihood of a good outcome.”The 47-year-old is now on cholesterol-lowering medication and blood thinners, and hasn’t had any more strokes. Stacey says she plans to return to work next month.
From the National Stroke Foundation:
A stroke is always a medical emergency.
Recognise the signs of stroke call 000. A stroke is not a heart attack. A stroke happens when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly interrupted. Some strokes are fatal while others cause permanent or temporary disability. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke related brain damage.
Facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech are the most common symptoms or signs of stroke, but they are not the only signs.
Other signs of stroke may include one, or a combination of:
Weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body
Difficulty speaking or understanding
Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes
Headache, usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
The signs of stroke may occur alone or in combination and they can last a few seconds or up to 24 hours and then disappear.
When symptoms disappear within 24 hours, this episode may be a mini stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA). If you or someone else experiences the signs of stroke, no matter how long they last, call 000 immediately.