I woke up and reached for my shirt, only to feel as if a rubber band had snapped in my head.
I totally lost my balance and fell. I sat there for minute and thought, this has to go away. Seconds passed, and then I thought, this isn’t going away, this isn’t right.
My wife was awakened by me calling her name. She thought I might be battling vertigo or an extreme migraine. Then I became violently ill.
She called her brother, who lived nearby. They carried me to the car and arrived at the hospital in less than 10 minutes.
The problem eventually was traced to the hole that had been in my heart since birth. Everyone is born with it, but most close on their own.
The hole in my heart hole caused a stroke. There are usually precursors, but I never felt anything.
I was in and out of consciousness for three days. While I lay in my bed alternating between vomiting and sleeping, my wife had one rule for visitors that echoed my mindset – no crying allowed.
Four months after my stroke, I underwent a cardiac catheterisation to close the hole in my heart. My wife and I celebrated by training for a marathon.
It was my first marathon and her second. We trained wearing special T-shirts. Mine read “Stroke Survivor” on the back, her’s read “Life Saver.” We finished the run in 5 hours, 31 minutes, 35 seconds.
Nowadays, I occasionally nap, and sometimes gets headaches. Most of all, I’m thankful to be alive.
It’s hard to have my young son sitting here and looking up at me with a lifetime ahead of him I want to share and know I could have another stroke.
Hopefully, it will all work out to where I can be with him for a long time.
Here’s to a healthier tomorrow.
– Kirk, 38