I still get chills when I think of that nightmare morning — I was driving to my real estate office 3 years ago when the nightmare began. I was taking a right-hand turn when the first sign hit me — my left hand was not able to reach the steering wheel and was flopping around, I had no control of my left hand. I was on the speakerphone in my car with my executive assistant and realized I was having a stroke and told her my location which happened to be less than a mile from the hospital. I kept talking to her and instructed her to call the hospital and send help if I stop talking or she heard a crash. Looking back, it may not have been the best idea, but I knew I needed to get to the hospital as fast as I could because my father had a stroke and did not get help fast and the results from that decision was devastating.
I made it to the hospital but when I tried to get out of the car, my legs were like Jell-0. I was falling trying to get to the emergency front door. I started yelling to anyone that could hear me that I was having a stroke but realized my speech was slurred now. The emergency team sprang into action with tests and scans. As I was laying down in the MRI for 45 minutes wondering if I am ever going to walk again, have use of my left hand and if my speech would come back, I could not help but wonder how this was going to affect my family of 3 kids and my wife. When the MRI was over, the nurse in the room was very small and there was no way she could help me get back to the gurney. The nurse asked me if I could get to the gurney, I thought in my head “are you nuts” but I was able to sit up and get my feet to the ground under me. She helped me to my feet and I was able to take a few steps to the gurney. I was incredibly lucky, my stroke was caused by a blood clot and the doctor’s conclusion was that the clot had dissipated during the MRI. I have bounced back from my stroke with no side effects, the doctors found that I had a hole in my heart and that was the cause of my stroke and now has been fixed.
It was a wake-up call for me and I now realize more than ever how precious and vulnerable life is! I am very blessed to live in Silicon Valley and have a successful real estate business, with a beautiful wife and 3 awesome kids that can still depend on Dad to be there while they go through childhood and teenage years. I have a different perspective when I see another person with a disability now and how it has changed their lives and their family lives forever. The doctors told me that I was incredibly lucky to have survived a full-on stroke and walk away unharmed!
My greatest lessons through all of this are:
- Know the stroke warning signs (F.A.S.T.) and take action for yourself and other
- Make all of your hugs, kisses, I love you and special celebrations really count.
- Make sure you tell your children, parents and friends how much you love them.
- Live life to the fullest and appreciate all that you have (blessing).
I hope this story will help someone because I am blessed to be able to tell it!