Stroke survivor shares her story in hope of saving someone's life
Ahead of Stroke Awareness Day next Thursday, a stroke survivor from the Hudson Valley is sharing her story in hope of saving someone else's life.
Anise Pettersen was at a bagel shop with her 2-year-old when she had a stroke.
The 43-year-old said she tried to drink water but couldn't. She screamed for help. Three men stepped in and called 911.
She was quickly taken to Health Alliance Hospital and then flown to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, the only comprehensive stroke center in the Hudson Valley.
Working against the clock, Dr. Fawaz Al-Mufti began lifesaving surgery to clear the blockage in Pettersen's brain stem.
"I ended up performing this procedure through a very small vessel in her wrist. I was able to thread a wire, a micro catheter, into the vessel in the back of the head, and remove the clot that way," said Al-Mufti.
The procedure is not common, and Pettersen was conscious the entire time.
"When they pulled it out, it felt like the worst migraine in the world being sucked out through your brain," Pettersen said. "It was a miracle. I wasn't paralyzed anymore. I could wiggle my toes, lift my legs."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke.
Now Pettersen, grateful to the doctors who kept her alive, is taking on the world with a renewed sense of purpose, to educate everyone about strokes and how every second counts.
Here are the signs of a stroke: loss of balance, vision issues, face drooping, inability to move arms and difficulty speaking or slurred speech. If you experience these symptoms, call 911.