Survivor of the Month
hard to believe that someone so young, attractive and virile could
succumb to a stroke, but Larry is proof positive that 'attitude' is
the basic component to living a full and satisfying life regardless
of being faced by the unexpected.
January / February 2004
"I was 27 years old and really enjoyed my job working as a
fireman. I had a girlfriend I was crazy about and my life was great.
I knew I had a rare blood condition called ITP where anti-bodies
in my system attack blood platelets. That was diagnosed in 1990,
but the medication had it under control and I hadn't had any real
It was the 4th
of July, 1998 and we were having an outdoor barbecue. Suddenly I
had a massive headache. I did whatever a normal person would do.
I went inside, took aspirin, sat down to rest, but it wasn't getting
any better. The first symptom was my lips became numb like I had
just been to the dentist. I couldn't talk - I was slurring my words.
There was a window between me and my guests. I could see them, but
they didn't see me so I started trying to yell like crazy but nothing
came out - I couldn't project. So I tried to get their attention
by throwing something at the sliding glass door. They heard the
sound and came inside to see what was going on. I was hysterical
- I don't know why - maybe I knew something was wrong. I didn't
know it was that serious but I was hysterical - crying like crazy.
My ex-girlfriend came in and I was trying to tell her that it doesn't
look good - I gotta go to the hospital definitely. She was about
the only one there that knew I wasn't feeling good prior to that.
Previously, my gums were bleeding - I thought I had a gum disease
and I was getting occasional headaches, but they weren't bad enough
that I thought anything about it. To tell you the truth, I forgot
about it. But I guess I'd mentioned it because my girlfriend remembered.
Also, the guys that I worked with remembered that I'd complained
almost every day. It just didn't seem that big a deal to me. My
girlfriend got my father and my uncle, who works at a hospital,
to come and they knew right away. They wanted to drive me to the
emergency room but I asked for the paramedics to come. I looked
at my face in the mirror and that's actually when I started flipping
out. I lost motor control on the left side, but it started with
the lips first. Of course, with me being stubborn I tried to have
a cigarette at the same time. I kept dropping them on the floor,
but kept trying to get one in my mouth.