‘I lost the ability to speak while having sex — then I lost my memory’
'My date thought I was on drugs.'
A young woman has shared how she suffered a devastating stroke while getting intimate with a date.
Misha Montana was having sex with a date when she realised she wasn’t able to speak.
Soon, she experienced numbness and tingling in her face, and lost the ability to use her right-hand side.
The 33-year-old was eventually told by doctors that she’d had a stroke – and still suffers with debilitating symptoms, including ‘serious’ memory loss.
Misha said: ‘I felt strange and foggy, but there wasn’t any pain associated with my stroke.’
Since that day, the mum has worked hard to build a new, more positive outlook on life, and isn’t afraid to take on challenges.
Misha, who is from Nevada, USA, said: ‘I was actually having sex when it happened. The only reason I knew that something was wrong was because I couldn’t talk, and I thought it was odd in my head.
‘My date at the time didn’t notice until afterwards.
‘I went to the bathroom right away. I could not talk, and he looked at me like, “Are you on drugs?” I can see why somebody would think that – it’s odd if you’re slurring.’
Misha’s date also suggested that she could be having a stroke, but Misha thought it was impossible to have one so young.
She said: ‘When he said it could be a stroke, I was like, “There’s no way! Why would I have a stroke at 30 years old?”
‘A level of panic and anxiety started to take over regardless, and I knew I had to get out of there and get medical attention.
‘What a lot of people don’t realise about strokes is that the symptoms can come on over the course of a few hours. My face and my hands got tighter until I couldn’t use the right side of my body from the waist up.
‘My face drooped, my eyes were no longer centre. My mouth fell down quite a bit, which was difficult.’
What a doctor wants you to know about strokes
Dr Gareth Nye, the program lead for medical science at the University of Chester, UK, said: ‘Evidence suggests that one in seven strokes occurs in people aged 15 to 49, so strokes in younger adults are certainly not uncommon.
‘Strokes are simply caused by a lack of blood flow to particular areas of the brain, depending on the area depends on the outcome. This could be loss of limb movement, impacted speech, or disrupted bodily functions. Regardless of age, the result is similar.
‘The younger the age of stroke, the more of an impact we would expect. Strokes occurring in younger populations have increased impact on long-term health and well-being due to the additional worries around career progression and building up a stable financial backbone, starting a family, caring for a young family, or simply being an independent adult.
‘Symptoms remain the same regardless of age but may not present as the classical FAST appearance (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and Time). Sudden confusion or trouble understanding, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, trouble walking, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination or simply a severe headache with no known cause are all symptoms.’
She went to the hospital, where she learned that a stroke was in fact the cause of her symptoms. Doctors found a whole in Misha’s heart, that they believed to be the cause.
She had surgery to close the hole, and from there began a long process of recovery, which is still ongoing. Misha does exercises to get feeling back in her hands and face, and how to learn how to do tasks using only the left side of her body – although thankfully, feeling in her right side did return.
Misha, who works as a model said: ‘I thought my face was ruined. My speech was one of the most impacted things that took the longest to regain, and it’s definitely not 100%. Neither is my whole face on the right-hand side. My cheek and my lips are still numb.
Recognising a stroke
S – Ask the person to SMILE
T – Can they TALK? Ask if they can speak a simple sentence.
R – See if they can raise both arms
If they can’t do any one of these, call 999.
‘I was lucky it wasn’t as severe or crippling as strokes can be.
‘Serious memory loss is probably the biggest symptom I’ve had. Now I have to work twice as hard just to pretend like everything’s normal.’
But Misha has done her best to use this trauma as a way to improve her outlook on life.
She explained: ‘My son was born with cerebral palsy. That’s the event that humbled me the most in life, and that was several years prior to having a stroke. By then, I already had a gift of profound gratitude for life.
‘After the stroke, I was like, “This is my second chance, and I don’t want to waste it.”
‘I decided to do things afterwards that scared me. I was terrified of flying, and now I’m no longer afraid of it because I just push myself to fly and take opportunities that I literally wouldn’t be terrified to take.
‘I was afraid of snakes my whole life, and I actually threw a party for the company that I worked for and hired a guy to come in with a bunch of these beautiful pythons and I carried one around all day long.
‘Now I approach challenges head-on, and ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” As soon as you start pushing yourself to that level, you unlock new achievements that you never knew that you were going to have.
‘So I consider my stroke a blessing in a lot of ways.’
Misha is now expecting a baby with her new partner, Matt Riddle, a professional wrestler formerly with WWE and UFC.
She is hoping sharing her story will help raise awareness of strokes and heart conditions in young people, in addition to the existence of invisible ailments like the ones she now suffers from in the wake of her stroke.
She said: ‘I want to live a life that is full of love and happiness. And I want to share that with others, so they know they can do it too.
‘I’ve had messages since the stroke happened from people sharing their stories about themselves or their loved ones. We don’t talk enough about invisible illnesses and mental health.
‘I told myself, “If I could change or help one person, then it will make all the difference in the world to me.”‘
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