GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – May is Stroke Awareness Month. As a stroke survivor, Green Bay’s Renee Wadle wants to get the message out to know all the symptoms of a stroke so you can act fast.
“I think, as women, we don’t ever really look at there anything wrong with us because we’re taking care of everybody and everything,” Wadle said.
As a mom of two teenage children, Wadle says she was so busy taking care of others in her life, she didn’t really stop to think about what was going on with her when she started feeling just a bit off.
“I didn’t think there was anything wrong,” she recalled.
Until she noticed she was feeling nauseous in the car.
“All the sudden I had this car sickness, where I was never carsick, ever,” Wadle said.
Still, the idea she was having a stroke never even occurred to her.
“You think of the droopy face, the slurring words, you think of all those things,” she explained. “However, I didn’t feel like I was going through any of that.”
Aurora BayCare Medical Center Neurologist, Dr. James Napier says Wadle’s not alone.
“We’re not really hardwired to think it could be something really bad, “Napier said. “People want to hope for the best.”
When Wadle called her doctor the next morning, a full 24 hours after she started having symptoms, the severity of what happened became clear,
“They said ‘We’re not even going to see you in the office you need to go to the E.R.,“ Wadle said.
Wadlee had suffered a stroke. Dr. Napier says as a diabetic, Wadle was at higher risk for stroke, but he says everyone should follow the “BE FAST” rule to be aware of symptoms that could indicate you’re having a stroke.
- Eyes, vision trouble
- Face, is one side drooping
- Arm, weakness
- Time, or Terrible headache
“Time is critical,” Napier said. “The sooner you get in the better off you are.”
Napier also says a healthy diet makes a big difference in your stroke risk; along with not smoking, managing blood pressure and lipids, and being active.
Something Wadle has taken to heart as a stroke survivor.
“She did a great job managing her risk factors and that’s the key thing.” Napier said.
Wadle says her stroke was a wakeup call that completely changed the trajectory of her life.
“After I had my stroke, something changed within me,” she explained. “I took control of it. It forced me in that position. From this point forward I choose to live my best life.
Wadle’s best life includes being active, kayaking, even running a10K and watching what she eats.
“I was a big girl at one time,” Wadle recalled. “I’ll never be that big ever again.”
Wadle says she enjoys the active lifestyle she has with her kids now and wants to empower others to make the same life-affirming changes.
“We all play a part in managing our health through our lifestyle choices, so we need to be vigilant about our health and about the direction of it,” she said. “We all have the power to do it. We just need to do it and that’s what I’ve done with my life.”
If you’d like to find out if you’re at risk for a stroke, go to: aurorabaycare.com/assessments to take an online stroke assessment.