On August 19th, 2011 Marisol Ferrante was happily at work when she suddenly began experiencing painful headaches. Thinking it was a normal stress-related headache; she took some pain killers and tried to resume working. However, even hours later, an intense pain shot up the back of her neck and wouldn't go away.
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Marisol knew this wasn’t normal so she decided to call her physician’s medical hotline around 4pm. Given her symptoms, the hotline operator directed her to immediately visit her local Emergency Room. After a CAT scan and MRI, the nurses told her everything was okay and released her to go home. However, Marisol was a little skeptical as she still didn’t feel normal, but it was after 11pm and she wanted to rest.
Around 2 am her neurologist called to inform her that she was prematurely released from hospital as her tests indicated that she had several potentially fatal aneurysms in her brain. She immediately returned to the ER and was transported to CPMC Davies Campus, the neurology campus.
To figure out the exact location of the aneurysms, her neurologist performed a minor surgery known as a cerebral angiogram. As is the case with all surgeries, complications can and sometimes do arise. The procedure triggered atrial fibrillation and after about four days Marisol suffered a stroke. Thankfully, the hospital team was aware that atrial fibrillation can lead to a stroke and was fully prepared when the stroke hit.
After about a week, Marisol was declared stable and began starting her rehab program. Her immediate goal was to regain function in the left side of her body which became partially paralyzed as a result of the stroke. She was able to battle this obstacle by taking small steps and progressing slowly from a wheelchair to a walker then crutches.
Marisol is truly an inspiration. Since her stroke, Marisol survived and conquered two additional brain surgeries to remove her aneurysms and another period of rehab. Shortly after rehab, she began volunteering across the community to help spread awareness about stroke and other brain diseases. On September 21, she attended the Heart and Stroke Walk in San Francisco and shared her story person-to-person at the Advocacy Booth and recruited folks to join the You’re the Cure Network. The American Heart & Stroke Association is honored to have Marisol sharing her story to help save lives. Thank you Marisol for being an inspiration to other stroke survivors and caregivers in the Greater Bay Area!