It wasn’t Stacey Yepes’ first stroke, but it could have been her last. The 49-year-old Canadian woman may have saved her own life with the cell phone she used to record a mini-stroke, which doctors had previously written off as stress.
In April, Yepes first approached doctors complaining of numbness and slurred speech. Rather than evaluate her symptoms as the product of a stroke, after the numbness and speech difficulties subsided doctors told her to control her breathing and get some rest — she was just carrying some tension. When the symptoms returned, a bit of ingenuity compelled Yepes to record the incident. She showed it to her doctors. There was no mistaking it.
"In all my years treating stroke patients, we’ve never seen anyone tape themselves before,” Dr. Cheryl Jaigobin, a stroke neurologist at Toronto Western Hospital, told the CBC. "Her symptoms were compelling, and the fact she stopped and found a way to portray them in such a visual fashion, we were all touched by it."
Doctors confidently diagnosed the episode as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke. A subsequent MRI scan confirmed the diagnosis; results showed a minor deficiency in blood flow through Yepes' brain. Yepes, meanwhile, said she was just relieved to find some closure to a scary situation.
"I think it was just to show somebody, because I knew it was not stress-related," she told the CBC of her decision to film the mini-stroke. "And I thought if I could show somebody what was happening, they would have a better understanding."