On Monday 11 October 2o10, I was 36, with no history of high blood pressure nor anything else that put me at particular risk of a stroke.  But on Monday 11 October and Tuesday 12 October, that’s what happened.

Caused by a tiny tear in an artery in my neck (questions asked post MRI included: “who’s the Prime Minister, do you know where you are, have you had your hair washed over one of those hairdresser sinks in the past few days?”), I was walking down a corridor at work when the world simply started to spin.  And spin.  And it didn’t stop unless I closed my eyes.  With numb lips being the only clue to a stroke at that time – and therefore quickly dismissed – it took 24 hours and interim diagnoses of a vasser vagel (?) attack, an ear infection and labyrinthitus .  In this case, throwing up over a neuro doctor just before they wanted to discharge me turned out to be a good move.  An MRI later I was off to a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) and finally feeling safe (if utterly out of it!).

I started this blog at the end of the first week in hospital and, at the time, I gave the reasons as follows:

  • “One, I have the most amazing friends and family on the planet.  Most of them showed up in the first few days in person or by text, and I don’t think I’ve spent a single second of visiting hours alone since I’ve been here (special shout out for Kate, Mark, Zan, Rich and Dad).  Some of them are overseas (hi Jen, hi Sarah W) and this makes it easier for them to know I REALLY am ok!!!  Forgive me for not texting you all every day – you’ll get more here me thinks!!!
  • Second, stroke isn’t supposed to happen to someone this young, right?  Well I’ve not always been the youngest on the ward so it does happen.  But it seems to me that if you’re doing this after me, maybe this might be useful?”

So, for both those reasons, here is my short-term blog.  I’m intending it to be just a blip in my world.


p.s I really can spell and know difference between of and off and their and there, but – especially at the beginning – it was a little tricky to use my full knowledge of the English language.  While the typos may irritate – and I would certainly update each page a few times when I noticed them very shortly after publishing – I’m intentionally not back-tracking to fix them all, as they improve over time. It’s a part of the story.



  1. Jen says:

    Thanks for the update Charley. It’s very helpful to have all these details. Close your eyes and imagine me singing….. “I’ll be there for yoooooooooooooo….” Much love and hugs
    Jen xxxx

  2. Dan says:

    Great reading Charley, sorry to have not been in better touch….shouldn’t take a disaster like this to get a hello out of me! Can’t wait to hear of more miracles in your world! xxx

  3. So sorry, Charley, to hear of your strokes. You are right, it isn’t supposed to happen to a healthy young woman!
    Please take good care of yourself. It is great that you are surrounded by such good friends and family.
    love from norma

  4. Unbelievable, Charley–arterial tearing! So glad to hear it was nothing worse and that you are making a good recovery.

    BTW, the “vasser vagel (?) attack” is actually “vasovagal” as in vascular dilation (reduces blood pressure) and vagus nerve stimulation (slows heart rate). The Wikipedia article on the topic is actually quite accurate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasovagal_response). In that instance, people do pass out and throw up but there’s typically no sign of a stroke.

    Get completely well soon! Won’t be able to visit you from this side of the pond, alas–though oddly enough, I was actually in London on the very day you had the strokes (just visited 8-12 Oct.). My fault maybe?

  5. Chris Hulme says:

    Charley! – I’m the one who does the stupid risk taking sports – so should be there instead. Great to hear that you are going to be fine – any idea how it happened? I’ll call you . Love Chris..

    • Char says:

      nope. no hairdresser visit, nor longhaul flight, nor anything else in the previous week or so, except neck ache which i didn’t really think about a couple of mornings when i assumed i’d slept funny. turns out i didn’t. or maybe i did. could have done something and not remembered it. its not like one worries about these things at the time!

  6. Kate says:

    My sweet Charley bear, what can I say…. I’ve had a week off work and have not been checking my mails. Now Peter will have to deal with the fact that I’m not going to let that happen again!! Sending you loads of hugs, and much love xxx

  7. amy says:

    Great blog! I’m 31. I had a stroke last year. You give me hope.

    • says:

      Hi Amy, I am glad. My friend Dom did the same for me when I discovered his blog (while I was still in hospital). There are ups and downs but time helps! Good luck xx

  8. Ram Meyyappan says:


    I came across your site doing a google search and it seems to be a useful resource for those who have suffered from a stroke. I was wondering if I can contribute to your website by writing an article on applying for disability benefits after suffering from a stroke?

    I am contacting your from Social Security Disability Help, an organization that works to promote disability awareness and help individuals navigate the Social Security Disability application process.

    Please send me an email at ram@ssd-help.org if this is something you are interested in.

    Thank you for your time and consideration,

    Ram Meyyappan
    Social Security Disability Help

  9. Marie says:

    Just found your blog and love it! I too am a stroke survivor. I had my stroke at age 47 in Mar 2012. I just recently started my own blog http://www.accommobility.com about how accommodating the world around me (Arizona right now) is or isn’t. I also would love to add your blog link to my “May I Recommend” section if that’s ok?

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