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Mum-of-two, 29, thought she being dramatic with symptoms when she was really having a stroke

Mum-of-two, 29, thought she being dramatic with symptoms when she was really having a stroke

'It's better to be safe than sorry', she urged

It’s very common, especially among women, to ignore troubling health symptoms for fear that we’re ‘overreacting’.

While we should always be prioritising our health, sometimes it’s easy to push it to the back of our minds and focus on other things.

But as the recent case of one woman proves - if you’re worried about your health or wellbeing, you must prioritise it and see a healthcare professional immediately.

Jess Tierney, a 29-year-old from Cheshire, worried that she was being ‘dramatic’ before collapsing at work.

'You're never too young to have a stroke', Jess Tierney warns.

Since finding out she had suffered from a stroke, she feels ‘lucky to be alive’.

Jess, a mum of two, now aims to raise awareness of the life-threatening condition among her peers, warning: “You’re never too young to have a stroke.”

Jess also experienced shoulder pain while driving to work in February, but put it down to a strain from her pole fitness class.

'Better to be safe than sorry'

Things got steadily worse over her lunch break. She developed a headache and her mouth and tongue went numb on one side.

“I was eating my dinner and started developing a headache in my temples,” she said. “I took some paracetamol and it wouldn’t go away. At about 2.30pm, I collapsed. It was a good job I wasn’t at home alone.”

Recalling her terrifying experience, she told PA she thought she was ‘being dramatic’ when she first got symptoms. “If you get constant headaches – I used to – just get checked. Better to be safe than sorry”, she stressed.

Jess explained that initially, paramedics told her that her symptoms were probably due to a panic attack or Bell’s palsy – a temporary paralysis of muscles in the face.

Jess recalls feeling scared during her experience.

After being taken to hospital, she waited until 7.30pm for a CT scan which showed a blood clot. Another scan at 8pm revealed a blockage in the brain.

By then, Jess was ‘outside the window’ for thrombolysis, a treatment which disperses a clot and is performed within four-and-a-half hours of stroke symptoms emerging.

'I could have died or it could have been life-changing'

Another treatment, known as a thrombectomy, surgically removes blood clots from the artery. They are usually performed within six hours of symptoms appearing, but the window can be extended to 24 hours in selected patients.

Jess recalled: “We were waiting quite a while. At this point, I’d been told I had a clot on my brain so I was quite scared.”

Jess was then transferred to The Walton Centre, a specialist neurology facility at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool.

According to Jess, Dr Souhyb Masri, a consultant interventional neuroradiologist at the centre ‘fought her corner’ when her treatment options were being discussed.

Jess said: “He said the thrombectomy would be the best outcome as I was 29.”

Dr Masri added: “Whenever someone experiences a stroke, getting it treated in the right way quickly is of paramount importance.

“Jess having the procedure means she can rehabilitate as best she can, and I’m confident she will continue to recover well.”

'I went into shock'

In October 2021, The Walton Centre became the first facility in the North West to offer thrombectomies to stroke patients 24/7 and it has since carried out almost 400 procedures.

Mrs Tierney described staff at The Walton Centre as ‘amazing’, going to far to say she feels ‘lucky’ to have the facility nearby.

She continued: “I could have died or it could have been life-changing. It’s actually quite scary to think if it wasn’t on my doorstep what would have happened.”

Following surgery, she said: “I woke up and I couldn’t really feel my right side. I’m managing it better, you start adapting your life around that.

Jess is now in recovery. “I have physio about three to four times a week. I have to use a walking stick and can do a few steps, but then I have to use a wheelchair”, she explained.

Jess now wants to fundraise and support others in a similar position.

Speaking of the moment she was told she had had a stroke, Jess said: “I went into shock and got a bit upset. I still haven’t really processed it now, to be honest.”

The NHS says you are more likely to have a stroke if you are over the age of 55, although one in five occurs in younger people.

Following the stroke, Mrs Tierney has also been told she has a hole in her heart.

“Because I’m a young stroke, I’m not overweight, I’m fit and healthy, they checked everything,” she said. “They did a test where they put a camera down my throat and found it.

“They think the clot was in my blood, has gone to my heart, through the hole and to my brain.”

Jess said her husband David and father to their two children has ‘handled it so well’.

David is now hoping to raise funds for The Walton Centre by climbing Mount Snowdon in Wales, alongside the families of other stroke victims, later this year.

Jess hopes she can get involved in fundraising in the future. “That’s my goal,” she concluded.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Health, True Life