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Health/Fitness Hub ~ Stroke Matters ~ Guest Blogger, N.E. Ballance

*N.E. or as I fondly call her, Nik Nik or NB is my beautiful niece. She is young, brilliant, so full of life and love, and yet experienced a stroke. As I read her piece, the emotions started. Recounting the events of that night in late December, 2019– the shocking phone call from her sister, the immediate sense of fear, and the prayers laced with pouring tears —all rolled the tape back on the idea of possibly losing her. 😢 Well, God is a healer! She is here to tell her story! There are so many people around the world who need to know; who need to be aware of those health oddities in life that seem so unlikely. We think that they can’t happen to us, but they often lead to transparency, only through the grace of God. So, thanks, N.E., for your transparency; for being such a blessing. I love you. May God continue to bless and use you for His good, and His glory. ~ Lisa B

December 23, 2019 – It started like any other normal day leading up to the long-awaited Christmas holiday. I was up

late the night before wrapping gifts with some red wine but had some last-minute shopping to do. Although it started like any other day of Winter Break, it is a day I’ll never forget…

I moved a little slower getting dressed, but nothing out of the ordinary. I just thought it was from too much vino the night before and told myself, “Come on girl, you gotta get moving,” but it was like I was in a fog. Later than I had planned to get out, I finally left the apartment around 2:00’ish, headed to Ross, the only store on my agenda for the day. As I pulled into the parking space, I said “I’ll hit JC up when I’m done so we can meet up for HH.” I only had two gifts to finish up so it was going to be an easy-in and easy-out. While inside, I ran into my Delta soror/former co-worker and we chatted and laughed a bit. We wished each other a Merry Christmas and went our separate ways. I was still in a foggy head space but continued to move about. I gave Sissy a quick phone call to get some feedback on Mom’s gift and told her I had one more thing to get before leaving the store. I moved to the cardigan & sweater section and proceeded to engage in some quick “rack sliding” (LOL) when it happened…I collapsed and fell to the floor. Two women immediately rushed to my aid to assist, but I was more embarrassed because I was lying on the floor. I tried to compose myself and get up, but I couldn’t. It was as if my body would not move no matter how I willed my mind to make it budge. Both ladies told me to take my time and wanted to ensure that I did not bump my head during the fall. By now, my embarrassment was growing because I was still on the floor, not moving and one of the ladies kept asking me my name, and even asked me to smile. (WTH is happening and why can I not get up?!?!) She whispers to me that she’s not going to leave me, then tells me her daughter has called 911 because she thinks I am having a stroke. I quickly responded to her “No I’m not having a stroke, I just want to get up.” I hear the 911 dispatcher on the phone and once again I am asked to smile and say my name. They exchange a few more words and the next thing I know, I am lifted by EMTs onto a gurney and transported to Chesapeake Regional Medical Center…where I am treated for an ischemic stroke and a blood clot just shy of 2 cm has been removed from the left side of my brain. (BTW…I still carry a picture around as a reminder). Fast forward to December 24 @ 6:00pm…I am discharged from the hospital to go home, right on time to celebrate our Savior’s birth. My Auntie even calls me the “Christmas Miracle.”

Someone recently asked me, “How do you feel about the experience of what happened?” My honest response is, I don’t know, I’m still processing through it. I procrastinated about writing this piece for TCV in celebration of Stroke Awareness Month and somehow hoped Auntie LB was gonna forget about it, LOL. But then I remembered, it is a part of MY process to share my story, and prayerfully it will help someone else. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about WHAT could have happened that day if things had gone differently.

In spite of my sporadic arm and leg aches, random twinges of head pain, brain fog moments, and unbalanced acts, I am eternally grateful for the Spirit of God manifested through the woman who stayed with me while I laid on the floor in Ross, traveled behind the ambulance to the hospital, came to me in the emergency room and whispered “I told you I was not going to leave you”, stayed in the waiting room until my family arrived, and waited with them until I was out of surgery. Ironically (or maybe not) during the entire experience, I never saw her face, only heard her voice. I now know that angels DO walk among us and she is forever my sister, my Guardian Angel.

If you are interested in knowing more about how to tell if someone is having a stroke, I encourage you to learn the acronym below – BE FAST – it could save a life.

It saved MINE.

B – Balance, person experiencing loss of coordination

E – Eyes, person has blurred/loss of vision

F – Face, person face drooping on one side

A – Arm, person having difficulty raising arm or experiencing arm weakness

S – Speech, person’s speech slurred/unable to speak

T – Time is brain, Call 911

Much love,

N.E. Ballance


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