WHEN animation student Kathryn Davies lost the feeling in her hand, she never suspected it could be from a stroke.
The 22-year-old is speaking about her struggles of the condition for Stroke Awareness Month this month.
I couldn’t believe it when the MRI scan showed I’d had a stroke.Kathryn Davies
Kathryn, who attends the University of Portsmouth, was not able to use her hand or speak when she suffered the stroke last year.
Since then, she has undergone physiotherapy sessions and can now talk as well as pick things up with her left hand.
She said: ‘I was happily drawing one minute and then all of a sudden I was forced to drop my pencil as my hand cramped up and went instantly numb.
‘I looked online with my other hand to see what it could be, but every search feed indicated a stroke so I just scrolled past as I thought there was no way it could be that.
‘But 15 minutes later when my boyfriend walked into my bedroom to talk to me that’s when I realised to my shock that I couldn’t speak.’
Kathryn was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, and spent time at the stroke unit.
She added: ‘Not only was I the youngest patient on the unit by around 50 years, but there was a sad vibe in the air as all the other patients were not mobile and couldn’t speak either.
‘I just kept thinking, “I’m 22, what am I doing here?”.
‘I thought it was because of stress from my final year at university. I couldn’t believe it when the MRI scan showed I’d had a stroke.
‘I just couldn’t stop crying. I was confused as no-one in my family had ever had a stroke, and I was an active healthy young person.’
Throughout the five days that followed Kathryn’s speech slowly returned. She needed physiotherapy to help her walk and use the stairs and she completed exercises on her hand to try and get the movement back.
On day five when Kathryn was discharged she was still not able to walk independently and had limited use of her hand.
‘I could just about pick things up but couldn’t move the tips of my fingers,’ she said.
‘After several weeks I was able to walk again and with some pain I could hold a pencil. I was worried about falling behind at university so when everyone else was returning to classes after the Christmas holidays in January I decided that I would as well.’
Doctors are still unsure what caused Kathryn’s stroke but on admittance Kathryn’s cholesterol level was high which she was told could have contributed to her stroke.
Kathryn now takes tablets every day to keep her cholesterol levels down.