Sep 13, 2013

My 29 Year Old Friend had a Stroke??

Today I wanted to post about something that's non-beauty related, but that I think really deserves 5 minutes of your time. One of my husband's best friends, Chris, is a 29 year old pretty normal guy. He has a girlfriend, is a dancer and a photographer, likes to do active stuff... He doesn't smoke or do drugs, has the occasional drink, but not to excess, pretty much your normal 20 something.

My husband and Chris at Chris' brother's wedding, only a few months ago.

So how the heck did this normal 29 year old end up having a debilitating stroke? We had just seen him the week before and he seemed perfectly fine, then we suddenly heard that he was in the hospital. Read what happened in his own words, it is actually scary how sudden it was and how NON-caring and ready to dismiss him the first hospital he went to was!

Chris and his girlfriend Angela

It was Sunday morning. Nothing special about that day. I went down to fix breakfast but something did not feel right. As I tried to grab something with my right hand, my arm didn't respond. Before I knew it, I was on the ground having a seizure. 911 was called, and I was brought to a local hospital. By that time my mother had joined us in the ER. Hopeful and relieved, I would be able to get the care I needed and maybe some answers. They treated me like I was insane. They thought I was seeking pain medications and my seizures were fake. In fact, I had another seizure in front of the doctor as he pulled my mother aside and told her I was faking it. I don’t even remember it happening. At this point, scared out of my mind, the doctor begins to have me question my own sanity. Is this really happening? What is going on? Am I going to die? Let’s get this clear, I do not smoke or do drugs. In fact, I had been on a real healthy tip having ran 3 miles the day before with some good friends. Needless to say I was discharged and sent home with the same weakness of my right arm and leg.

The following day my mother decides to take me to St. Jude Hospital. I am admitted and they run many tests, trying to find an answer. The doctors, nurses and staff worked so hard to figure out what was going on. On an MRI (brain scan) they found swelling in my brain. I am angered and slightly relieved to find there was something wrong after all, despite what they said at the other hospital. The region affected was the part of the brain that controls motor and sensation of my right arm and leg. Many specialists are called because they are having a difficult time figuring out what is causing the seizures and the brain swelling. The next day I had another seizure, meanwhile my right side is continually weakening due to lack of use. I end up with 2 spinal taps, which cause debilitating headaches. Close to being discharged, I had another seizure, and there are still no answers. Then something happens.

Weak, tired, and sick of being poked, I began to have difficulty breathing. They run tests and turns out I developed a blood clot in my lungs. I nearly died. Though it was a close call, it was a blessing in disguise. The doctors check for blood disorders and finally a diagnosis is found. The results show I have a rare blood disorder called Factor V Leiden Deficiency. Due to an inherited gene, my blood is predisposed to making blood clots. Only around 4 % of the population carries the gene. Amongst African Americans only 1% carry the gene. Out of that 1% population only 10% develop clots. A tenth of 1% is extremely rare, but there I was in the hospital, a 29 year-old stroke victim. Wondering if I would return to my normal self or completely lose the use of my right arm and leg. Those weeks in the hospital will affect me forever. Currently in rehab, you will be happy to hear I am fighting. It is not an easy fight but I promise you I will get there stronger than before.
Today, Chris is still on the road to recovery. It seems crazy that, out of nowhere, he was struck down and suffered a stroke, something you usually only hear happening to older people. It REALLY brought it home to me that you DON'T know when it could be your last breath, you can't take it for granted that just because you're young and seemingly healthy, something like this can't happen to you. I am trying hard to appreciate every day with my loved ones, because you truly never know what could happen. I'm extremely thankful that Chris, although it was a terrible experience for him to go through, is lucky enough to still be here.

Unfortunately, Chris didn't have health insurance. He had just been laid off at his work, and although he has just now managed to find another job (yes, even though he is still recovering!!), he has the burden of a huge medical bill hanging over him. I recently had to go to the hospital for a kidney stone, and even though it was relatively minor, my bill was still $3000!! I can only imagine how expensive all the tests, medications, weeks of recovery and rehabilitation has been for Chris.

If you could find it in your heart, PLEASE donate so that he can not only ease the burden of his medical bills, but also raise money to bring awareness to the fact that we only have one body and we have to take care of it. As he says... "I want people to understand how important it is to have health insurance. There are a lot of us in our 20’s who choose not to have health insurance, but most do not realize that a hospital bill that large could not only ruin our lives financially, but also the family around us. I also wanted to create stroke awareness and promote a healthy lifestyle. The 6 months prior to the stroke I had been very healthy, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods. In fact I had lost close to 40 pounds, but there I was in the hospital. I want people to understand that we only have one body and that we need to care of that one body."

He also plans to raise money for the hospital that saved his life, that actually took the time to run tests and believed that there was something really wrong with him. If you can't afford to donate, please share this post!

You can find out more and donate here at the Chris Flowers Stroke Recovery Fundraiser. Even $5 will help, heck even $1!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and hopefully if you can, to donate/share!!


  1. Oh my goodness, that is scary! That is maddening though about the first place accusing him of wanting to just be after pain medication and dismissing him instead of trying to help him. Poor system! Why are they even in the healthcare field if they just assume, and don't actually do any work. Sorry for ranting, but just makes me sad that part. Glad the worst didn't happen to him, and that he is recovering.

  2. After reading his story, I donated. Had to! Thanks so much for sharing and I will share, too. Pisses me off that the doctor accused him of seeking drugs. Some "medical professionals" are so dense, I don't know how they earned their degrees. Thank God his mom took him to St. Jude. Now that I know how amazing St. Jude is, I'll have to donate more often...I really wish Chris the best with spreading the word about these issues!

  3. Thank you! Yes, thank goodness he's recovering. The healthcare industry here seems to be in it more for money than to really help people..


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