“What if I ignored it?” Maine mom shares survival story after suffering stroke days after giving birth

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

May is Stroke Awareness Month. As we look ahead to the Maine Heart Walk in a few weeks, we’re hearing from a recent stroke survivor.Taryn Demuth had given birth just days before she suffered a stroke. Her message to others is if anything feels wrong, get to a doctor. She says you are not a burden and you never know what it could be.“I remember it being a really hot day and at the beginning of having a baby, it’s survival mode anyway,” she said.Demuth is in her 30s with no prior health issues and had two smooth pregnancies. But two weeks after giving birth to her second son, she knew something was off.“I laid down and when I laid down, it was almost like I tweaked my neck kind of,” she explained. “I just remember it because I just had these feelings, kind of cold feelings up the back of my head.”Her husband put a fan on, got her a glass of water, and then 10 minutes later, she felt fine.“The moment I stood up, it was complete vertigo, and I had never had vertigo before,” she said, “but it was what I imagined it to feel like, you just felt intoxicated beyond belief. Everything was spinning.”She couldn’t walk or talk.“I was like gravity is pulling me to the ground, but only on my left side,” she said. “This always makes me sad to think about it because it’s like even in the moment with something like this is happening to you, you’re thinking about your children. Are they safe? Is everything going to be OK with them? Having that thought was why I was like we have to call 911 because it wasn’t even for me, it was for my kids.”She says 30 minutes later, they got her to Maine Medical Center.“They did the CT scan and from that, they could tell that I had the stroke. It was a vertebral artery dissection,” Demuth said. “So, when I got into bed and I laid down and I felt that tweak in my neck, that was the artery dissecting. All the weird feelings in the back of my neck, that was the change in the blood flow in my neck and all of that happening, and then your body tries to clot to heal it and that’s why 15 minutes later, I had a stroke.”Demuth says doctors chalked it up to postpartum.“What if I hadn’t gone in? What if I hadn’t been put on a blood thinner? What if I ignored it?” she said. “I feel extremely lucky and sometimes even guilty that I don’t have the lingering effects that a lot of people have that have strokes.”She’s now on a daily low-dose aspirin indefinitely and focused on her physical and mental health.“You do what to listen to your body, but you are scared. You really are scared because now I just feel like nothing is off the table.”She sees a therapist and is connected with other survivors through the American Heart Association.Your heart hurts to some degree because you hate that anybody else carries that type of anxiety or worry, but it also makes you feel good that there is some camaraderie that we can relate to these things and it’s normal to feel this way.”

May is Stroke Awareness Month. As we look ahead to the Maine Heart Walk in a few weeks, we’re hearing from a recent stroke survivor.

Taryn Demuth had given birth just days before she suffered a stroke. Her message to others is if anything feels wrong, get to a doctor. She says you are not a burden and you never know what it could be.

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“I remember it being a really hot day and at the beginning of having a baby, it’s survival mode anyway,” she said.

Demuth is in her 30s with no prior health issues and had two smooth pregnancies. But two weeks after giving birth to her second son, she knew something was off.

“I laid down and when I laid down, it was almost like I tweaked my neck kind of,” she explained. “I just remember it because I just had these feelings, kind of cold feelings up the back of my head.”

Her husband put a fan on, got her a glass of water, and then 10 minutes later, she felt fine.

“The moment I stood up, it was complete vertigo, and I had never had vertigo before,” she said, “but it was what I imagined it to feel like, you just felt intoxicated beyond belief. Everything was spinning.”

She couldn’t walk or talk.

“I was like gravity is pulling me to the ground, but only on my left side,” she said. “This always makes me sad to think about it because it’s like even in the moment with something like this is happening to you, you’re thinking about your children. Are they safe? Is everything going to be OK with them? Having that thought was why I was like we have to call 911 because it wasn’t even for me, it was for my kids.”

She says 30 minutes later, they got her to Maine Medical Center.

“They did the CT scan and from that, they could tell that I had the stroke. It was a vertebral artery dissection,” Demuth said. “So, when I got into bed and I laid down and I felt that tweak in my neck, that was the artery dissecting. All the weird feelings in the back of my neck, that was the change in the blood flow in my neck and all of that happening, and then your body tries to clot to heal it and that’s why 15 minutes later, I had a stroke.”

Demuth says doctors chalked it up to postpartum.

“What if I hadn’t gone in? What if I hadn’t been put on a blood thinner? What if I ignored it?” she said. “I feel extremely lucky and sometimes even guilty that I don’t have the lingering effects that a lot of people have that have strokes.”

She’s now on a daily low-dose aspirin indefinitely and focused on her physical and mental health.

“You do what to listen to your body, but you are scared. You really are scared because now I just feel like nothing is off the table.”

She sees a therapist and is connected with other survivors through the American Heart Association.

Your heart hurts to some degree because you hate that anybody else carries that type of anxiety or worry, but it also makes you feel good that there is some camaraderie that we can relate to these things and it’s normal to feel this way.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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