She may not look like it, Sarah Porter is a stroke survivor. The 26-year-old from Portland, Maine, suffered from 2 strokes before her 25th birthday. But now, she's working to educate others about her unimaginable, but fortunate, story.
Porter was only 20 when she suffered her first stroke. She was sitting in class at the University of Maine when she went "foggy" . Porter's face was twitching, she had a headache and felt a tingling sensation in her arm. But when she tried to stand, she quickly noticed she "had lost all feeling in her right side". After calling her parents, who are both doctors, she went to the ER.
A post shared by Sarah Porter (@seporter91) on May 15, 2016 at 8:49am PDT
"Even I didn't think that something like stroke could happen to someone my age, young and healthy," Porter explained to Inside Edition. By the time she reached the hospital, Porter couldn't speak at all -- but the triage nurse thought she was faking it.
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A doctor realized the commotion and quickly assessed the situation. 24 hours later, she woke up in the ICU to learn she suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. While it only counts for 15 percent of all strokes, a hemorrhagic stroke can be responsible for 40 percent of all stroke-related deaths.
Nearly 75% of stroke victims are older than 65 and have preexisting medical conditions, such as smoking, obesity and high blood pressure. But what about a seemingly fit 20-year-old?
In Porter's case, doctors found that Porter had "cavernoma", a malformation in her brain consisting of an abnormal amount of blood vessels. Doctors couldn't operate, and so her chances of suffering another stroke were high.
A few years later, at 24, it happened again. Luckily, Porter understood her symptoms. "I walked to the hospital and walked into the ER and said, 'Hi, my name is Sarah Porter, I'm 24 years old, I had a stroke four years ago and I'm having another one right now."
After months of keeping it a "secret," I'm incredibly honored and excited to announce that I will be joining ten inspiring and beautiful women from all across the country as a National Spokesperson for the #AmericanHeartAssociation. Being a 2016-2017 Go Red for Women spokesperson is an enormous honor, and I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to raise stroke awareness on a national level. Let the fun begin! 💃🏼💋❤️ #gored #strokeawareness #AHA
A post shared by Sarah Porter (@seporter91) on Sep 21, 2016 at 3:19am PDT
Now, at 26, Porter is striving to educate others, mainly younger people, about these common symptoms. "I am not the picture of a stroke survivor," she said.