13 November 2007

Life after the big S

After any life changing event we learn to appreciate life more. Tesna Daniels told Health24 her story.

If you look at Tesna Daniels (48) she looks like any healthy person, it would be hard for anyone to believe that a year ago she had a stroke.

Tesna is a retired nurse, a dedicated wife and mother who has been a housewife for 21years. Like most people she never thought she would have a stroke. She has a relatively stress free life and has no serious medical conditions.

While out doing her shopping one Saturday morning she mistook the tingling in the right side of her face and the heart palpitations as menopausal symptoms. Little did she know that afternoon her life would change.

“I didn’t think it was a stroke, there was no pain, no signs or symptoms, it was very sudden,” says Tesna.

Early heart damage
When Tesna was pregnant with her second child, 19 years ago the doctor discovered that she had irregular heartbeats and that she had mitral stenosis. The doctor told her that the cause of it could be that she had rheumatic fever as a child.

Mitral stenosis is a narrowing or blockage of the mitral valve which seperates the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. This prevents proper blood flow moving between the upper chamber and the lower chamber of the heart. (MedlinePlus)

During and after the pregnancy she received extensive treatment. She went for regular checkups and eventually went off the medication.

“I remember the doctor telling me that my heart would affect me during my 40’s, I didn’t believe him,” says Tesna.

Just another normal day
It was only after the stroke that Tesna remembered the doctor’s words.

“I was alone at home that Saturday afternoon. I was busy with the washing when I started feeling dizzy the right side of my body felt weak my face, mouth, arm and leg were lame,” says Tesna.

It was then that she realised what was happening to her. Afraid of being found alone in her home she managed to get to the neighbours. Within minutes she was rushed to hospital.

At hospital she was stabilised and then a series of tests began to determine what caused the stroke. The lameness in her right side persisted. The Sunday morning Tesna decided to take a walk. Despite being told not to by the staff she walked to the bathroom by herself.

“By the Sunday morning the lameness in my right side was gone, I was walking by myself and this surprised the staff. The only symptom that persisted was drooling as a result of weakened facial muscles,” says Tesna.

She underwent a number of tests including an electrocardiogram and an angiogram to check how severe the damage to her heart was and to determine whether or not she had to be transferred to the Cardiac clinic. The stroke had been a result of rapid irregular beating of the heart as a result this allowed a blood clot to travel into the heart.

Doctors were satisfied with the results and within five days she was released from hospital without any permanent disability. The only remainder of the stroke she had is the medication she has to take daily and the regular checkups she goes for. Tesna was put on warfarin which helps to prevent her blood from clotting.

Appreciate life
After the stroke Tesna’s life changed dramatically. “I’ve slowed down a lot, I don’t work as hard as I used to, I eat healthier and even started walking as exercise,” says Tesna.

Tesna attributes her remarkable recovery to her faith in God and the support of her husband and daughters.

“Live one day at a time, listen to your body, appreciate the people you have in your life and always have a positive outlook on life,” says Tesna.

(Leandra Engelbrecht, Health24, November 2007)


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