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Woman videos herself having stroke after doctors say it was "just stress"

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Have you ever sat in front of a doctor and you can practically feel the breeze of him brushing off your symptoms and rushing on to the next appointment? Well you are not always imagining it. CTV news ran a story yesterday showing a video that Stacey Yepes, 49, of Ontario, Canada, took of herself having a stroke.

Yepes was home watching TV one evening and suddenly her whole left side started feeling numb. She drove to the hospital to get checked out. She says she felt that something was very wrong and she might be having a stroke.

Her roommate happened to call at that time and they both noticed that Yepes’ speech was slurred. Yepes said that the tingling and weakness she felt only lasted about 10 minutes. But something instinctively told her that she needed to go to the emergency room.

However, after she was checked out at the hospital, doctors told her that she was not the victim of a stroke. Yepes said they told her she was probably just stressed. They sent her home and told her that she needed to work on learning how to handle the stress in her life. Thankfully their casual dismissal didn’t result in a tragic death.

The very next day Yepes was taking care of some errands after work when it happened again. Even though she was scared, her first thought was to use her smartphone and video herself so she would have proof to show the doctors this time. She says she “knew it was not stress-related. And I thought if I could show somebody what was happening, they would have a better understanding.”

Yepes’ quick thinking and persistence prevailed. This time when she arrived at the hospital with evidence in hand, doctors referred her to the stroke unit of Toronto Western Hospital. The tests confirmed Yepes’ suspicion that she had suffered a stroke. In fact, she had suffered three mini strokes, known as ischemic strokes.

According to stroke neurologist Dr. Cheryl Jaigobin, who successfully treated Yepes after the diagnosis, ischemic strokes are the most common type of strokes and can strike people of any age. She says to call 911 if you have symptoms such as “loss of speech, slurring or an inability to form words; weakness or paralysis on one side of the body; double vision or loss of vision; balance problems; and pronounced dizziness.”

Yepes is recovering and hopes to return to work in July. She warns others not to take no for an answer if you feel something is wrong. The big lesson here is that you know your own body. If your doctor won’t listen, find one who will. It’s your body and your life.

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