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At 48 and relatively healthy, I didn’t fit the typical stroke profile. I have great cholesterol, am a non-smoker, a casual drinker, I don’t have uncontrolled high blood pressure, I’m not a diabetic, and have no family history of strokes.

If you’re like me, you’ve read the Heart & Stroke material and watched the ads on TV. We’ve been trained that if you think someone is having a stroke, act FAST and do the following:

Face – is it dropping?
Arms – can you raise them?
Speech – is it slurred or jumbled?
Time – to call 911 right away!

My daughter thought I was having a stroke when it was happening and administered the FAST test – I passed it. I could do all of these things! That test works for the majority of strokes but not all. A cerebellar stroke, like mine, accounts for only 3% of strokes. MY warning signs didn’t fit the profile.

Instead I had the Three Vs – Violent Headache, Vertigo, Vomitting. Any of these signs coming on suddenly without explanation, alone or especially together, are enough to call 911. Even if your symptoms go away, you need to see medical treatment as you could have had a TIA (mini stroke).

For every minute delay in treating a stroke, the average patient loses 1.9 million brain cells. That is terrifying! It was 4 hours before an ambulance was called to my home the night I had my stroke.

I had felt “off” two days before and paid my Doctor a visit because I felt so strange it worried me. I described it as “feeling like Alice in Wonderland and I didn’t belong”. I now know that sensation is called disassociation and is a sign of a cerebellar event.

My Doctor couldn’t find anything wrong and said maybe I was fighting a virus. So when I suffered my stroke, my family thought I had a bug and checked on me every 30 minutes as I continues to battle the Three Vs. Not until I collapsed on the bathroom floor did they fear the worst and dial 911.

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Replies to "At 48 and relatively healthy, I didn't fit the typical stroke profile. I have great cholesterol,..."

@strokesurvivordynamo Hello. Thank you for kicking off this topic. I haven't been able to find similar experience as my cerebellar stroke as mine when I searched the internet initially. Yours resonates with me. I am 49 year old female and suffered a cerebellar stroke on October 4 2018. I also didn't fit or have known risk factors; fairly healthy, nonsmoker, not diabetic, good cholesterol, exercises regularly and never had serious health issues. My blood pressure was high for me the morning I had the stroke. I had a sharp, the worst headache and experienced the 3Vs as you described (violent headache, vertigo, vomiting). My son called 911 and was taken and treated at the nearby hospital. CT scan did not show stroke, however, the MRI did. It was shocking for me and my family. I was lucky in that I didn't have physical deficits. I was in the hospital for 9 days mostly for observation, 2nd night, I had a re-bleed in the same area of my cerebellar (right). Again, very lucky in that 2nd stroke healed itself and no physical deficits. I stayed at the hospital to gain strength and stabilize my vitals. I suffered vertigo-like symptoms for quite sometime, dizziness, headache, unable to move neck/stiff neck and shoulders, and fatigue. I did brief PT at the hospital and continued at home. The doctors did the typical tests to determine root cause:
– Blood test, several including whether my blood type clots
– Heart: ultrasound including bubble test for PFO
– Heart: TEE for PFO
– Carotid ultrasound: arteries in neck
– MRA scan
One additional inquiry with a hematologist specialist reviewed my case and didn't have any further recommendation or test. So I am currently left with no root cause of my stroke 3 months ago.

I know I am very lucky to have survived and recovered remarkably. My question: Were you able to determine what caused your stroke?
And for everyone, are there any of you who have not been able to determine the root case of your stroke?
Thank you.

That is so awful. How is your recovery going? Yours is the kind of message that saves lives. I am interested in Your comment about the brain cell loss. I have made full recovery with no obvious deficits but I feel clumsy, dropping things a lot, and I tire so easily. My stroke was November 11, 2018. It was a left sided ischemic stroke.

Your symptoms of cerebellar stroke are similar to mine, Vertigo, vomiting and double vision. Happened about 18 months ago. I'm 71 and feel depressed because I'm afraid I have brain damage. Got to the hospital about 2 or 3 hours later, stayed 8 days with multiple MRI's, etc. Now just trying to stay connected. Keep your chin up. I hope you are feeling better soon.

Strokesurvivor, your story is well written, which I appreciate. I found myself within it. Alice in wonderland is how I felt then, and to a much less degree, now.

Two weeks before my stroke my cerebellar region hurt so bad, I asked my son if my eyes looked right. They did, so I just endured never dreaming I was on the cusp of a full blown, knock down, punch in the head, stroke. Before stroke my head had been hurting terribly, but I just figured migraines. Didn't seek help, had no balance problems or loss of control.

Funny, when the #$@# hit the fan, all hit me at once. And I knew it was a stroke. Was at hospital about 45 minutes later. No bleed so received tpa. Only immediate help it gave was my sight significantly improved by day 2. All deficits I presented with, came home with me.

FAST did not apply. The 3 Vs among other things were there. And stayed, but vomitting cleared up first 2 weeks. My limbs on left had ataxia. When I moved them, it felt as though they were gonna float away. Could not make them do what I wished, though they remained strong, just disobedient, lol. Impossible to walk, use left arm. I could think, talk, with little difficulty.

Besides headache, everything hit at once. Had a strange sound in my head at onset. Similar to celophane crunching in my skull. Did you experience that?

What exactly we're your deficits, if you don't mind my asking? How long before you felt somewhat normal? Was it a large stroke? Just wondering what life is like now. Sounds like you have loving support at home.I do hope so. No fun going through. Much worse, alone. Blessings!