Health & Lifestyle

Woman, 22, reveals bizarre warning sign she experienced before suffering a devastating stroke

A woman has shared the bizarre warning symptoms she experienced ahead of a devastating stroke which left her unable to walk or talk – describing the moment she felt her brain ‘explode’.

Morgan Bailey, originally from New Jersey but now living in Arizona, was just 22 and working at a school when she started experiencing worrying symptoms – including an ‘excruciating’ headache and numbness along the right side of her body.

Perhaps most bizarrely, for a few months she had noticed a change to her eyelashes, with them appearing very straight on her right eye – something that hasn’t been medically linked, but that Morgan believes was a warning sign.

She underwent surgery but remains paralysed on her right side – which will be a permanent effect of what she went through.

Morgan, now 24, explained: ‘If you would have asked me ‘can someone have a stroke aged 22?’, I would have said ‘no way’. I had to re-learn everything. I had to re-learn how to walk. I had to re-learn how to speak properly. I had to re-learn how to write with my left hand.’

Morgan Bailey, originally from New Jersey but now living in Arizona, was just 22 when she suffered a stroke

Morgan Bailey, originally from New Jersey but now living in Arizona, was just 22 when she suffered a stroke 

After suffering a stroke, Morgan underwent surgery but remains paralysed on her right side - which will be a permanent effect of what she went through

After suffering a stroke, Morgan underwent surgery but remains paralysed on her right side – which will be a permanent effect of what she went through

Morgan had been diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) at the age of 18 after falling and hitting her head at school one day.

AVMs are abnormal tangles of blood vessels which can cause irregular connections between the arteries and veins – which often develop in the spinal cord and brain.

When she woke up the following day with paralysis in her right side and struggling to walk properly, she went to hospital and was later told she had an AVM and had suffered three brain aneurysms.

Morgan said she was no given any medication or treatment, with doctors ‘too scared to touch it’ due to it being in her thalamus.

She added: ‘They told me to go home and live life, and that’s what I did for five years.’

In the four years that followed, Morgan was able to lead a normal life with few worries about her condition – until the day of the stroke.

‘My life has completely flipped upside down,’ Morgan told NeedToKnow.co.uk.

‘My health was perfect before – I never had any issues.’

On the day of the stroke as the headache got worse, she quickly found her friend to say she wasn’t feeling well before having the sensation that her ‘brain exploded’.

It was the last thing she would remember for a month.

Morgan was rushed to hospital and remained there for seven weeks in the ICU while she recovered from the stroke.

When she woke up, she was paralysed on her right side and had to learn how to walk, speak and write again.

Morgan was rushed to hospital and remained there for seven weeks in the ICU while she recovered from the stroke

Morgan was rushed to hospital and remained there for seven weeks in the ICU while she recovered from the stroke

After she suffered the stroke, Morgan said life will never be the same because it has 'completely flipped upside down'

After she suffered the stroke, Morgan said life will never be the same because it has ‘completely flipped upside down’

Morgan had been diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) at the age of 18 after falling and hitting her head at school one day

Morgan had been diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) at the age of 18 after falling and hitting her head at school one day

Morgan said she was no given any medication or treatment, with doctors 'too scared to touch it' due to it being in her thalamus

Morgan said she was no given any medication or treatment, with doctors 'too scared to touch it' due to it being in her thalamus

Morgan said she was no given any medication or treatment, with doctors ‘too scared to touch it’ due to it being in her thalamus

Despite having the diagnosis, Morgan was able to live a relatively normal life - until she suffered the stroke

Despite having the diagnosis, Morgan was able to live a relatively normal life – until she suffered the stroke 

For a few months before the stroke, Morgan noticed a change to her eyelashes, with them appearing very straight on her right eye

For a few months before the stroke, Morgan noticed a change to her eyelashes, with them appearing very straight on her right eye

On the day of the stroke as the headache got worse, she quickly found her friend to say she wasn't feeling well before having the sensation that her 'brain exploded'

On the day of the stroke as the headache got worse, she quickly found her friend to say she wasn't feeling well before having the sensation that her 'brain exploded'

On the day of the stroke as the headache got worse, she quickly found her friend to say she wasn’t feeling well before having the sensation that her ‘brain exploded’

She said: ‘I had no idea what this was before it happened.

‘I can’t use my right hand so I’m very thankful for technology and I voice-type.’

She underwent brain surgery (a craniotomy) to remove 75 per cent of the AVM, and had intense physical and speech therapy following the stroke. 

Morgan said: ‘Mentally, I think I did phenomenally.

‘More than half of people who have a traumatic brain injury face depression, anxiety, or stress, but I was super positive.

‘Of course, there were days when I was sad, but the next day, I was positive. I just had to get out of my funk.’

When she woke up after her stroke, she was paralysed on her right side and had to learn how to walk, speak and write again

When she woke up after her stroke, she was paralysed on her right side and had to learn how to walk, speak and write again

When she woke up after her stroke, she was paralysed on her right side and had to learn how to walk, speak and write again

Morgan, pictured in hospital in July 2021, had to learn to walk again during her time in hospital after the stroke

Morgan, pictured in hospital in July 2021, had to learn to walk again during her time in hospital after the stroke 

She underwent brain surgery (a craniotomy) to remove 75 per cent of the AVM, and had intense physical and speech therapy following the stroke

She underwent brain surgery (a craniotomy) to remove 75 per cent of the AVM, and had intense physical and speech therapy following the stroke

After undergoing therapy for a number of years, Morgan now wants to help others who might be in need

After undergoing therapy for a number of years, Morgan now wants to help others who might be in need 

How can FAST save you during a stroke?

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T.

This will help you more quickly identify someone having a stroke.

  • Face: the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
  • Arms: the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
  • Speech: their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.
  • Time: it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

Source: NHS 

But for the young woman, life will never be the same.  She said: ‘My life has completely flipped upside down.

‘I now don’t want to do anything I was planning on doing with my degree.

‘I know that I want to help people – people who are in a tough spot, who have had strokes, who have AVMs, and more.

‘I’m outside hiking, I’m volunteering at the Sedona Heritage Museum, I’m doing yoga, and more.

‘I am happy that my life changed after the stroke.

‘Life is much simpler now.

‘It’s not all this hustle and bustle, this go-go-go that I was chasing.’

In the future, she hopes to start her own non-profit organisation in order to help people with AVMs

In the future, she hopes to start her own non-profit organisation in order to help people with AVMs

In the future, she hopes to start her own non-profit to help people with AVMs.

Morgan added: ‘People can come and relax, have meditation sessions, and have healing treatments.

‘I think it will be extraordinary.’

But for now, she has a message for everyone – whether they are suffering a health issue or not.

She said: ‘We need to live life, and we need to live it to the fullest.

‘You never know when someone you love is going to pass away, when you’re going to break up with your boyfriend, when your dog is going to die…

‘The moral of the story is you need to live life like no one is watching.’

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