Grateful Heart

26-year-old woman suffers stroke, believed she was going to die

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - Shareena Turley could barely move or speak.  

"I don't want to die," Shareena Turley remembers thinking. "I'm gonna die here. And I'm having a stroke and I need to do something."

The 26 year-old had a stroke while driving her car through Mulvane.

Strokes don't often happen in younger people, but they're also more common than you likely think. 

It took a lot of really hard work to get Shareena back where she is today, and she says it was all worth it.

She had just started a new career as an insurance agent and was headed to an appointment when her stroke happened back in 2013. 

Thankfully, she knew enough about stroke symptoms to recognize the signs.

"I was just driving along and my vision just went crazy, it was like this, and I kept blinking and thought man, I really can't see," remembers Shareena.

Shareena says she managed to safely pull her car over and stop, thinking she'd just get sick and feel better.

"That was when i looked down, and I saw my arm was just laying limp in my lap."

Shareena says she knew the "A" in "F.A.S.T." stands for arm, so she immediately suspected she was having a stroke. 

She knew she had to call 911 but her instant paralysis made that really difficult. 

It took her fives times trying to dial 911 before she got it done. 

But now she met another hurdle.

"When I realized I couldn't talk, it was terrifying." says Shareena. "I thought, 'I called 911 that's great, but I can't communicate anything!  And they can't find me so I'm gonna die here.'"

Thankfully, Shareena was able to tell the dispatcher "help me" and the dispatcher asked yes or no questions to get her help.  

Finally, an ambulance arrived.

"Two huge guys come over to the driver's side door, and they reach in to pull me out and they manually lifted me out, and I remember looking up at the night sky and coming up this way and it was that moment when they got me out of my car it was that moment I realized that I'm not gonna die, " says Shareena.

But things would get worse before they got better.  

The ambulance got her to the hospital and the next morning when Shareena woke up...

"Everything was gone and when I say that it was like I couldn't swallow, couldn't close my mouth, I couldn't keep my left eye closed."

Five days in the hospital, three and a half weeks of inpatient rehab, three months of outpatient rehab, finally six months later Shareena was back to what she calls normal. 

"Surviving is worth it. You think about all the people in your life and all the things that matter, there's a lot of things that matter that people don't realize how much they matter till they're gone and that's what's worth fighting for and living for."

Shareena says doctors haven't pin-pointed a cause of her stroke, she has three doctors who point to three possible causes.  

One doctor believes it was caused by hormones found in birth control, another doctor thinks it was caused by chiropractic manipulation and the third doctor believes it was brought on by genetics.


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