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Meet Illinois Survivor-Advocate, Rachel Foley

At 27 years old, I suffered two cerebellar strokes that went untreated, due to being misdiagnosed as migraines.

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I suffered for months before doctors not only determined I'd suffered two strokes, but also discovered that I was born with two heart defects: an atrial septal aneurysm and a patent foramen ovale, which they felt caused the strokes.

Even though I was aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke and sought care, because I was misdiagnosed, I didn't receive the time-sensitive tPA treatment that would have restored blood flow to my brain.

Unfortunately, I have quite a few deficits from the strokes that have changed my life significantly, including vertigo, irregular eye movement, hearing complications, balance problems, spasticity of my muscles and muscle spasms, along with some memory loss. In 2016, I had an atrial septal occluder implanted into my heart and, thankfully, have had no strokes since.

As a young stroke survivor, I cannot stress the importance of knowing that stroke can happen to anyone, regardless of age. 

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