“The sensation is happening again.” That’s what a Canadian woman said as she recorded her own face with her cellphone as she tried to smile but only one side of her mouth turned upward.
Stacey Yepes took video of herself as she suffered a stroke, hoping that it would be of use to doctors helping her later.
In the video posted on YouTube last week by Toronto’s University Health Network, the 49-year-old had a hard time speaking and experienced a tingling sensation.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, when Yepes first went to the emergency room, she was initially diagnosed with stress and given ideas for how to manage it. Two days later, she felt the same symptoms again.
“The doctor said to breath in and breath out — that will manage the stress. I don’t know why this is happening to me. It happened this morning again,” Yepes said.
Using this video and medical tests when she went to the hospital again later, doctors were able to definitively say she had a small stroke. Watch the footage:
“I thought if I could show somebody what was happening, they would have a better understanding,” Yepes told CBC about why she took the video.
This is the first time doctors at Toronto Western Hospital say they’ve seen someone film themselves during such an event.
“In all my years treating stroke patients, we’ve never seen anyone tape themselves before. 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,” Dr. Cheryl Jaigobin, a stroke neurologist, told CBC.
A MRI scan confirmed Yepes had a stroke. The medical team was able to identify where the brain was injured and what caused the stroke in the first place. In Yepes’ case, the cause was plaque buildup in her arteries.
Since the incident, Yepes was put on a new diet plan and cholesterol medication, and she hopes to return to work next month.
“I thought I was leading a healthy lifestyle, but since I work two jobs I had a lot of stress in my life, was often eating on the go and didn’t have time to exercise regularly,” Yepes told the health network. “The [Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke] Unit has really taught me a new way of living and how to address these areas so I don’t have another stroke.”
“I’ve since learned that a person’s greatest chances to return to pre-stroke strength is within the first three months after their stroke, so my quick reaction to my symptoms to get treatment is contributing to my recovery,” Yepes continued. “My advice to others is, if you think you’re having or had a stroke, don’t wait. Go to the hospital and get checked out.”