Yoga lover suffers stroke during difficult move as brain left ‘gasping for life’ – News Live

Yoga lover suffers stroke during difficult move as brain left ‘gasping for life’ – News Live

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 A yoga fanatic has revealed how she suffered a severe stroke by practising a difficult handstand  Rebecca Leigh, 40, from Gambrills, Maryland, in the US, had been filming a tutorial video for her 26,000 followers on social media just two hours before the injury   Today she cannot speak for more than a few minutes, suffers headaches daily and has severe memory loss  She is now telling her story to raise awareness of yoga-induced strokes and encourage other people to seek medical help immediately  Rebecca, who ran a mobile sunless tanning company, tore her carotid artery in a ‘hollowback’ handstand on the morning of October 8, 2017    She said: “I was on my front porch practicing a pretty intense type of yoga handstand called a ‘hollowback’ handstand  “This pose requires you to extend your neck, drop your hips back and arch your lower spine all while in a headstand  “I felt that I had really nailed it but as I walked inside my house, my peripheral vision went out and the rest of my vision became blurry  “It was like a curtain coming down all around me. I sat down and tried to put my hair into a ponytail but my left arm flopped around without any control ”  She thought she had slipped a disc in the neck, which she had been diagnosed with in her early twenties    Two days later, she was shocked to notice that her pupils were different sizes  She said: “My right eye dropped and my pupils were different sizes. It was terrifying  “It was then that I knew something was very, very wrong.”  Rebecca and husband Kevin, 45, who works in federal law enforcement, rushed to the emergency room and had an MRI scan, revealing that she had suffered a stroke  She spent the next five days in the neurological intensive care unit as doctors struggled to understand why an active, healthy eating, non-smoker aged 39 could have suffered a stroke  “After all the blood work, ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans, it was finally a CTA scan that explained it,” she said  She was told that she had torn her right carotid artery, one of the four arteries that supplies blood to the brain, while doing the handstands    The tear sent a blood clot to her brain which caused the stroke and the trauma of the tear in the wall of the artery also caused a small aneurysm, a bulge in the vessel, to develop  Rebecca, feeling angry and disbelief, said: “I couldn’t believe it. How could this happen to me?  “I was angry at my body, I felt that it had betrayed me somehow ”  For the next six weeks, Rebecca endured terrible pain with constant headache.  She also lost 20lbs and couldn’t get out of bed without help  “The stroke caused massive head pain, unlike any headache I had ever experienced before,” she said  “The nerve damage made any sort of light unbearable.  “The pain it caused my eyes was excruciating My usually bright, sunlight-filled house was kept completely dark for the first few months  “For the first three months I heard a constant ‘wooshing’ sound in my right ear That was the sound of the blood trying to get through my artery up into my brain ”    But slowly she began to notice improvement and was able to take short walks outside by herself  Incredibly a month after the stroke, Rebecca was back on her yoga mat.  She said: “I simply sat on my mat in lotus pose and listened to my breath  “I slowly led back up to simple stretches and the poses that felt most safe to me  “I knew that if I didn’t get back to my practice relatively soon after my stroke, I never would  At Rebecca’s sixth-month scan, she was told by the doctors that her carotid artery had completely healed  But she could feel a nearly constant ‘tingly sensation’ which she described like a wave of electricity going back and forth from her elbow to her hand  She also suffered occasional headache, face or neck pain on a daily basis.    But the most damaging after effect is the fear that the stroke could strike again at any moment  She said: “It’s very hard to recover from something so scary that came out of nowhere  “You think you’re doing everything right and then when something like this happens, it’s hard not to think that it can happen again ”  But the yoga lover is now happy to be back on her mat, practising sun salutations  She said: “About a year after my stroke I was about 75 per cent back to where I was before my stroke I know I will never be where I was before 100 per cent.  “The fact that I can touch my toes is enough to make me smile  “I wanted to share my story so that something like this doesn’t happen to any other yogis I had never heard of it happening before it had happened to me.  “If I had read of just one incidence of something similar, I would have known that a stroke was a very real possibility when I was experiencing my symptoms  “That it wasn’t my neck, my herniated discs or my nerves. It was my brain gasping for its life ”

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