I had a headache for 5 days — turns out I had a stroke at 32

An Ohio mother urges everyone to be aware of the signs of stroke after her painful headache turned out to be one.

Amanda Renza, 32, said she suffered pain radiating from the back of her head to the front of her face for five days in January.

The freelance ghostwriter quickly realized that something was wrong when he was watching anime with his daughter. She said she lost her balance and had double vision.

Renza texted her husband as her symptoms worsened, eventually making it difficult to sit upright and speak properly.

She could not move her left hand and her face was drooping to the left.

Amanda Renza had been suffering from headaches for days, which turned out to be a stroke.
Amanda Renza

“I couldn’t speak at all,” she said. “Today” program. “One side of my body stopped moving at all…I started having trouble breathing.”

When her husband got home, he called an ambulance and she was taken to the emergency room.

Doctors performed a CT scan and gave him drugs to break up blood clots in his vertebral arteries, the two arteries that run from the back of his neck to his brain.

Unfortunately, it didn’t help the mother of one child.

Renza was flown by helicopter to the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic. She reported that she was still “aware” of her surroundings, but was physically unable to move.

“I was wondering how much physical function would I recover if I succeeded. Will I be able to speak again? Will I be able to take care of a toddler?” Renza worried. “I was scared.”

Doctors rushed her into surgery to place a stent in a vertebral artery, but they were only able to open one.

Renza claimed her left artery was still completely blocked, and said it was rare for people to experience ruptures in both arteries.

“It’s broken forever,” she said. “They put her three stents in my right vertebral artery.”

Selfie woman and baby in stroller.
The 16-month-old mother was taken to hospital after her condition worsened.
Amanda Renza

However, Renza’s condition continued to improve and her breathing tube was removed.

After a few days she was able to sit and talk and walk again.

Doctors later discovered she had fibromuscular dysplasia. This explains why she suffered a stroke at such a young age.

according to National Institutes of Healthfibromuscular dysplasia is characterized by abnormal cell proliferation in the arterial wall, which can constrict or swell.

This rare disease makes people more susceptible to stroke and high blood pressure.

“Most people live with the disease and never realize they have it,” Renza explains. “In my case, (arteries) are too weak.”

Renza’s symptoms were likely triggered by an illness that lasted three weeks in January.

She said she coughed so hard while lying down one day that it felt like a muscle in her neck had been torn.

“I had no idea that my arteries were damaged,” she admitted. “I thought I just messed with something on her neck.”

Renza said she had regained 90% of her function thanks to her knowledge of stroke symptoms that helped her recover.

A woman with short dark hair in a blue sweater.
Doctors were shocked when the 32-year-old writer suffered a stroke.
Amanda Renza

“If I hadn’t acted so quickly, I wouldn’t be here anymore,” she said. “Time is very important in the stroke.”

according to Centers for Disease Control and Preventionsomeone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds, making it the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

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