Despite being in the best shape of her life, compliments of a five-day workout schedule and sensible diet, Stacy learned that no one is free from risk when it comes to stroke.
Shortly after turning 40, Stacy experienced what she now describes as the worst headache of her life—one that lasted 10 days. Then, during a meeting with her manager, she started slurring her speech.
While she dismissed the headache and slurred speech as a random blip caused by stress, Stacy saw two urgent care doctors and a neurologist to get something stronger than over-the-counter pain meds. While the doctors all suspected Stacy was suffering from migraines, the neurologist ordered and MRI and MRA to rule out anything out of the ordinary.
Within hours of having the scans, Stacy received a call from the neurologist warning her that she was going to have a stroke. Later, once admitted to the hospital in Manhattan, Stacy learned that the headache and slurred speech were caused by a spontaneous dissection of her left carotid artery, which supplies blood from the heart to the brain. In non-medical speak, the dissection was basically a tear in the inner walls of her artery—one that caused a traffic jam that was preventing 90% of the blood flow to her brain. The slurred speech was the audible effect of a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), or mini stroke. The doctors said that Stacy was just hours away from a stroke that would have either altered her life forever or taken her life.
A few months after Stacy’s health crisis, she joined the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement as a survivor ambassador to share her story. In this role, she raises awareness of stroke in young women and educates people about stroke symptoms. Stacy write blogs, speaks at Go Red For Women events, manages several social media channels and volunteers at American Heart Association fundraisers. Additionally, Stacy is a member of the Northern New Jersey Go Red For Women Executive Leadership team and the 2017 Executive Champion for the Bergen and Northern New Jersey Heart Walks. In May 2017, Stacy joined other “You’re the Cure” advocates at the State House to advocate for improved stroke care in New Jersey.