A NEWLYWED revealed how she had to learn to read and write again after suffering a stroke at the age of just 27 – just DAYS after returning from her honeymoon.
Sarah Revill-Dews, from Nottingham, had just returned from her dream honeymoon in Sri Lanka and the Maldives when she suffered a painful headache in May 2017.
Initially putting her symptoms down to jet lag, Sarah, now 28, returned to work as a project manager.
But as colleagues excitedly asked her about the wedding and honeymoon, she could only say: “It was okay.”
Sarah had lost the ability to communicate; she was unable to speak, read or write.
She said: “When I couldn’t speak properly I knew something was wrong. My colleagues called 111 and the first responder gave me an aspirin as he thought I’d had a stroke.”
She continued: “However, when I got to hospital, they believed it was a migraine and I was discharged.
“Fortunately the first responder had booked me in with the stroke ward the next day but even when we went to see the consultant, they didn’t believe I’d had a stroke until an MRI proved it.
“No one seemed to think it could happen to a 27-year-old. It was a crushing moment to be told I’d had a stroke. My whole world just crashed around me.”
She said it was “a process of elimination” and the only thing that doctors believed could have triggered it was the contraceptive pill she had been taking.
The Stroke Association warns that “although the risk of a stroke in young women is generally low, pregnancy and contraceptive pills are both significant stroke risk factors.”
“I am very healthy,” Sarah said. “I go to the gym every day.”
She was unable to properly communicate with her colleagues how her honeymoon was, realising she was ill
She added: “It was a very difficult initial four months of recovery, but I have the most amazing husband and family who supported me, whether that was taking me to appointments, making me do lots of crosswords and Sudoku to work my brain or taking me to Thai Chi classes to work on my balance.
“At the time I felt quite isolated because I didn’t even think people of my age had strokes and I was very angry; wondering why me?
“After having every test under the sun and seeing various consultants, it appears that my stroke was caused by a combination of the contraceptive pill and the flight home.
She now wants to educate others to look out for the signs at a younger age – and is preparing to cycle 100 miles during the Prudential RideLondon to Surrey cycle, to raise vital funds for the Stroke Association.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, causing a brain injury, disability or death as brain cells begin to die.
The life-threatening medical condition requires urgent treatment, as the sooner a person receives treatment, the less damage is likely to happen.
Treatment can include medication or even surgery. Survivors are often left with long-term problems caused by injury to their brain.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms can be remembered with the word ‘fast’, the NHS says.
Face – the face may have dropped on one side or the person may not be able to smile
Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there due to weakness or numbness
Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or they may not be able to talk at all
Time – Call the doctor immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms
What are the causes?
The two main causes are ischaemic (the blood supply is stopped because of a blood clot) and haemorrhagic (a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts).
The NHS says 85 per cent of all cases are ischaemic.
A ‘mini-stroke’, known as a transient ischaemic attack, occurs when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted. It also requires immediate treatment.
How to prevent a stroke?
Conditions that can increase the risk of having a stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation and diabetes.
People can significantly reduce their risk by leading a healthy lifestyle.
The NHS suggests eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking.
Sarah, from The Meadows, Nottingham, will be joined by her father Robin Dews and her sister Anna Dews.
Emma Evans, events manager at the Stroke Association, said: “For many stroke survivors, getting their life back on track after a stroke means overcoming life-changing disabilities and emotional trauma.
SOURCE: The Sun