Julie Mcmullan’s Story

13 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday I was doing my nurse training (I’m from Northern Ireland ) and experiencing really bad headaches for months which painkillers weren’t helping, I put it down to stress. Then about 4 months after the headaches started I woke one morning with a numb left hand. Went to a+e to get it checked out they thought it was trapped nerve. My left side just felt “funny” to me so went to another a+e a few days later as also having crippling headaches, they gave me something for my pain but I felt it made it worse like my head was going to explode. Due to mix up I left before seeing the doctor again. The next day Thursday I was in the hospital doing my placement when I felt my leg was becoming numb too and I can remember saying I feel like I’m going to take a nervous breakdown. Went to my own doctor who referred me to a+e by this stage the feeling was getting quite bad and I was stumbling and trailing my leg behind me. They did a CT Scan the next day and told me I’d had a stroke with evidence of previous ones. They put me on aspirin as far as I can remember 75 mg I lost all power down my left side but regained it again inside the week with help from the OT was discharged home and left my nurse training for a year (I never returned, met my now husband in that year) still had loss of feeling in my foot however after a few months it returned though still have some numbness down my left side I particularly notice in my hand as if I’m carrying something in it and forget I can be known to lose that something though that hadn’t happened in a while I think because I’m more conscious of it now. They did all kinds of tests to find out what caused it but we’re never able to tell me. I was on the contraceptive pill at the time, smoked and carried excess weight (still do) however I’ve gone on to have 2 children which I was scared wouldn’t happen and am now on 300 mg. aspirin a day along with medication for cholesterol (a precautionary measure I’m told) and blood pressure medication. I still worry sometimes when I get headaches though I know I’m very lucky and fortunate when I hear other stories. I felt I was on my own having it too young then I discovered a Web page for young stroke survivors in UK and realized it was a lot more common than I realized.

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