KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The St. Luke’s Neurological Intensive Care Unit on the Plaza was full of smiles and hugs Wednesday afternoon as one of the care team’s former patients visited the nurses who took care of her for months.
Stacee Cassidy, 48, was on a Zoom with leaders from her Washington D.C.-based church group when she suffered a stroke.
People on the call contacted first responders in Kansas City to help Cassidy.
“I know I’m a miracle walking,” Cassidy said. "Now, my gratitude for every day, every moment, is next level.”
There are two main types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Cassidy experienced a hemorrhagic stroke.
Hemorrhagic strokes happen when an artery ruptures, which can be caused by aneurysms and/or an irregular formation of blood vessels, called an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Cassidy was diagnosed with both an aneurysm and AVM.
Cassidy’s Cerebrovascular Neurosurgeon at St. Luke’s, Dr. Yifei Duan, said the causes of her stroke only occur in 1-3% of strokes that bleed.
The acronym "BE FAST" explains the signs of a stroke.
B: Balance, watch for loss of balance.
E: Eyes, ask if vision is unclear.
F: Face, look for an uneven smile.
A: Arm, check if one arm is weak.
S: Speech, listen for slurred speech.
T: Time, call 911 or a hospital quickly.
Duan said these signs are less common in hemorrhagic strokes.
“The issue with hemorrhagic stroke is that it doesn’t always match that acronym,” he said. “Often times, it can be a very sudden change in the way someone behaves.”
He recommends looking for symptoms of someone not acting like themself: headaches, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.
Cassidy went through three brain surgeries to be able to get back to being herself.
St. Luke’s said in August, Duan performed a complex surgery to remove the irregular and aggressive formation of blood vessels in her brain (AVM) so it wouldn’t cause further issues.
St. Luke’s is one of the only comprehensive centers in the area with the expertise to treat this rare diagnosis.
“I promise you Dr. Duan made me better,” Cassidy said. “Like I came back with extra things hooked up that may not have been hooked up before. I am 150%.”
After months in the hospital, she’s hoping to step into a new role, encouraging others.
“I want to inspire other people I want people to know it can be done,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy plans to create a business speaking to people about her experience.