My story of a stroke at 45

Hi im Adam :smiley: . I wanted to share my story, as hopefully others might read mine and be rest assured as I have been from reading others on here, that things will be ok.

I recently applied for a career break from my job to explore the possibility of living in Spain. For about 4 days leading up to going – I had some really bad headaches – thought nothing of it as my job involves some really early starts and I put it down to lack of rest etc…

Upon arriving in Spain – all was well – until about 2am the FIRST night. :worried:

I simply was woken by the neighbour snoring (very thin walls in Spain it seems) – and all I did was rollover in bed. I can only describe the pain as horrendous in my head. I clutched it and knew something wasn’t right straight away. I got out of bed and immediately started falling to my right – I could not stand up at all. I seemed to find my way into a spare room and all I wanted to do was find the corner to rest??? (Weird I know but its what I remember).

My wife bless her was freaking out. It seems at this stage I passed out as I ironically started snoring really loudly??.. But I soon came to.

All I wanted to do was sleep – I just felt so tired. At this stage my wife wanted to ring an ambulance – but in Spain we had no idea of the number/It was an Air bnb and she had no idea how to tell them where to go…. An absolute nightmare. We didn’t ring for an ambulance. Hindsight is wonderful and if we were in the UK, one would’ve been called. My speech did slightly slur but nothing major so to speak. I did say I think ive had a stroke but you don’t want to believe it – surely it cant happen to me… im only 45 - but it did :cry:.

The next day, after speaking to travel insurance – they advised to take me to the nearest hospital. I couldn’t stand straight at all – I just kept on falling to the right. - My wife was in bits but she turned into the strongest woman I know as from then on – nothing was not do-able so to speak. She was effectively on her own in a foreign country – I cannot imagine what she was going through. A family member flew out the next day to give her support which I am eternally grateful for.

To cut a very long story slightly shorter – after an MRI/CT scan – they diagnosed me that I had a stroke. Im still unsure what one ive had but its referred in my Spanish documents as “Occlusion of the right vertebral artery from its middle third”. All I know is in the base of my neck on the RHS an artery is blocked. Can I just say that the help I got in Spain from he hospital was outstanding. The private healthcare was ace – but I hear the version of national health is just as good. I was in very good hands and I got so many tests done in such a short space of time.

I had no balance in the hospital, very hard to focus on things as room was spinning, but got better over the next few days. I was discharged after 5 nights in hospital. I could walk but wasn’t easy and I was very unbalanced – couldn’t shower without help and toilet was difficult. We remained in Spain for another 3 weeks until the insurance decided I should come home. The insurance were awful and we had many issues with them – we are complaining but that’s a whole other story.

I was referred to the local TIA clinic to get the ball rolling so to speak – but it is a full blown stroke.

Had a bubbles test which was clear, awaiting results of 72hr heart monitor to come back to rule out any heart arrhythmia (I did have Wolffe Parkinson which was cured).

So to now 3 months and 2 weeks later – if you looked at me, you would never know I have had a stroke. I am walking fine and talking fine and doing normal day to day things. However my head still isn’t right. Its like I have brain freeze on the RHS of my forehead and it feels like the skin is so tight. Its annoying but its not stopping me from doing things. Its so hard to explain but my head still feels woozy and if I move my head from side to side too quickly – I get really dizzy for a few seconds.

I also have the hypersensitive arm and leg but it certainly doesn’t affect me any more. In the early days it felt like my foot was on fire, and it caused me discomfort – and whilst its still warm so to speak – im living with it.

I still don’t want to drive a car yet as I don’t feel confident. Im being told that I can etc… and whilst I did drive around a car park and felt fine – part of me thinks I would be a risk – so I don’t want to yet. But maybe im being hard on myself and I should push myself?? Work want me back and ive been given the ok – but as im not even driving a car – im not returning to driving for a living yet … no chance. I don’t think they realise how serious this is and how bad im feeling – because on the outside I look and talk fine. I wish I could put a manager in my head for 5 minutes – they soon would change their mind.

There is so much more to my story about what happened in Spain regarding the insurance etc, but I feel ive waffled enough :upside_down_face:

After reading some stories on here – I feel nothing short of lucky to be sat here feeling the way I do – as others are feeling many symptoms a long time after having the stroke. I am heartened to read though – that my head should rewire itself and things should return to normal, just given the time.

The Spanish doctor said I could hopefully return to work in 6-12 months and its only been just over 3 so im trying not to be downbeat – I know im a very very lucky man.

Ive got a massively supportive wife and family around me, which helps a great deal.

Ive also had 3 occasions where ive been “fixed” – first in the hospital – I sat up and all was right – but that soon went after a few mins. A second time in the spanish apartment – again only for a few mins. But recently I was in Devon – and the rhs of my face suddenly “popped” – like your ears do but it was the whole side of my face. I instantly felt more confident and I felt better! - now that lasted a good half a day but alos faded. I think my head is trying!!! :astonished:

Im exercising more and paying more attention to the foods that I eat – and lets see where it takes us…

Fingers crossed its back to Spain for good…. :relaxed:

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Shwmae @Wingy77, gosh, quite the experience. What you describe, symptom wise, sounds like a cerebellar stroke. I had six TIAs and a cerebellar stroke at the age of 44, I am 46 now. Sorry to hear you have had to endure a smiting. Although, all strokes are horrible things to have, medical professionals say that if one could pick the kind of stroke one could have, cerebellar would be the one to choose, although it has a higher mortality rate than a cerebrum stroke, it is rarer (only 1-3% of all strokes are cerebellar strokes). All stroke recovery is different for each individual because our brains are all unique and the amount, extent, and positioning of damage will all be different. It has taken me the best part of two years to turn a corner. Glad you have resurfaced from the experience with a forward attitude. Welcome to our community.


Hi Rups, Definitely NOT TRYING TO WIND , you up :joy: . Why would I choose Cerebellar stroke. Pleased to see things improving, a bit for you. David.

Shwmae David, I don’t concur with them but I’ve heard it said many times. I guess because they consider, generally, recovery from cerebellar stroke to be high.


Thanks Rups, Must be one of the exceptions, still hoping. Adam Ant , looked fun . David.

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Hi Adam @Wingy77 , welcome to the forum and sorry to hear about your horrible experience. Sounds like you’ve already made a great recovery but there will still be further improvements to come.
I think it sounds sensible to not drive if you are not confident. As you said you drive for your job it may be worth checking if you are allowed to because in some cases it can be a year before you can (there is an article on the stroke association website about this but difficult to get the link whilst typing this reply on my phone :rofl:).

I wish you all the best with your recovery but be careful not to overdo things. You are lucky (like me) to have a very supportive wife).


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Thanks all… You dont think anything will happen when your abroad and them bam - thrust into it.
Its warming to hear that it will get better - some days it doesnt feel like that at all… but then i have very positive days… i guess with ying comes yang.
As for the driving - i fall outside the dvla - im a train driver…Its a very grey area and its being looked into at the moment. (HGV lose their licence for a year as you say - nothing like it for train driving as you DONT need any car license to drive a train - its all separate).
I certainly wont talk myself out of a job - but if my 72 heart monitor results come back ok and i don’t have arrythmia - apparently i’m good to go!!! - Defo not right that at all. I certainly wont risk it feeling this way… But thats an ongoing discussion so to speak :upside_down_face:

I have realised the brain is fantastic part of the body thats for sure!!!

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@Wingy77 welcome to the forum although sorry you’ve had a stroke. Thank you for sharing your story. Sounds like you had a bit of a time of it. Didn’t even get to enjoy a couple of days in Spain before it hit. :confused:
As you describe some of the hidden effects are often the worst. I was told I had a small stroke but 9 months on I’m still not back to work (although hoping to be soon). The brain needs time to heal so it’s important to make sure you rest when you need to. Hopefully that will help with brain freeze you mention.
On the driving front I am curious about driving for work. I thought if you drove for a living you couldn’t drive for 12 months but that might just be for things like taxi drivers, bus drivers etc.
Wishing you the best of luck on your recovery journey. Find a balance between pushing yourself but not over doing it.
Best wishes x

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Thanks for u story glad your recovery is going well with kind regards des

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Thank you for mentioning size doesn’t matter. :flushed: I think we are misinformed when anyone says, just a small TIA or this part or that part are worse than others. I can tell you over an over again…I had very many strokes all at one, hemorhagic, ischemic, embolic, all over my brain and body. I talk to and see people who had much fewer and ‘smaller’ strokes who have every bit the struggle I have had, and am having, as well as those with ‘bigger or more’ with less damage. Keep with the idea, they all are similar, but different for each person or circumstance. I think that is the most important lesson I have learned here. Perhaps in the future we will find what makes them so different (DNA/RNA/other health issues, etc…we don’t know)


@DeAnn that is so true. I think all strokes are a big deal & like you i have seen people with “bigger” strokes improve quicker than me. I have visible & invisible issues still but it is the invisible ones that affect me more in lots of ways.