LOUISVILLE, Ky. – What a normal visit to the chiropractor should have been changed Katie Brooks’ life forever. After experiencing neck pain, she went to see a chiropractor in June. However, right after the adjustment, she realized that something was wrong.
“My right side went limp and I started drooling. I remember just being in so much pain,” Brooks said.
She was rushed to the hospital where she later learned that the adjustment caused a dissection of the vertebral artery, which resulted in a stroke. When she was only 35, she was fighting for her life.
Brooks had vision problems in his right eye. COURTESY KATIE BROOKS
“I remember trying to pull the words out to tell him to tell my kids I love them because I thought I was going to die there,” Brooks said.
Dr. Michael Haboubi, a neurologist at UofL Health, said it was a good thing she went straight to the hospital for help. If she gets a Clot-Buster ASAP, she probably survived to tell her story today.
According to Haboubi, chiropractic adjustments that cause strokes are rare.
“Yes, we see it. It’s a rare complication. It occurs in about 1 in 20,000 spinal manipulations. As with anything in medicine, there is a risk of doing something and not doing something. For people who are in pain, a manipulation the neck or shoulders can give them pain relief, but at the same time there is little risk of stroke, “said Haboubi.
While vertebral artery dissection is a rare cause of stroke overall, it is one of the most common causes of stroke in patients under the age of 45, according to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
While Brooks immediately noticed something was wrong, Haboubi said symptoms can appear up to a month later.
“Most people who have a vertebral artery dissection will have a headache or neck pain. That’s the first thing they usually notice,” Haboubi said.
Not only can this be done by a chiropractor, but also by a car accident, a sports accident, or anything else that puts a lot of force on the neck.
Friends and family surprised Brooks outside the hospital. COURTESY KATIE BROOKS
Brooks said she was unaware of this risk when she went to see the chiropractor in June.
“I wouldn’t go back to a chiropractor. That’s for sure,” Brooks said.
She wouldn’t go into what’s next for her regarding pending litigation, but stated that this stroke completely changed her life. She had to learn to walk again in the hospital. Now she uses her walker to get around.
“It may not be the best walking. I can bump into things, but at least I go,” Brooks said.
She was hospitalized for a month away from her three children.
“It was hard for the kids not to see me,” said Brooks.
One day, while she was in the hospital, she was able to see them from afar. They came by with posters, flowers and balloons.
“I looked up and they all cheered. It made me feel a lot better,” said Brooks.
Now that she’s back home, roles are reversed as her children help her with tasks she can no longer complete.
“My son has turned into my hairdresser, carer, and babysitter,” said Brooks. “I’m so grateful that my kids can do that and at least I have them to be with me, but I’m the mother. I’m used to being the caregiver. When the roles are reversed, you just kind of feel helpless. “”
Brooks said on a scale of one to ten that her pain level was 15 most days. She has a lot of neurological pain, but the medicine she takes to help make her tired and difficult to get done.
“I’m just trying to make sure I’m up and strong for my kids every day because I don’t feel well every day. I hate to say that I don’t feel good, but I don’t feel strong for my kids every day because I don’t feel good every day. I hate to say that I don’t feel good, but I don’t every day, “said Brooks.
Her days are now filled with visits to the doctor and physical therapy sessions to improve her health. With all of these extra appointments and discomfort, she’s finding it difficult to give the business she owns the much-needed attention.
“I’ve been a veteran caregiver for seven years. This is the business I’ve had for a long time. I’ve done a lot to build this business. I’ve done a lot to be there for my boys. I love being a caregiver, but my conditions prevent me from being a caregiver in that capacity, “said Brooks.
She said she doesn’t know when her health is good enough to be the primary caregiver there again. After being unable to work for six months, she also worries about her family’s financial situation.
“You can save, but when you can’t do anything for six months, going through your finances is easy. There’s so much to find out, “said Brooks.” Everyone says focus on your health. Focus on your health. Well, when you are a mom and a business owner, just focusing on your health is difficult. “
While challenging to say the least, Brooks is surrounded by people she loves and who pray for further recovery.
“I’m also grateful that I’m here because I didn’t think I would be here. My kids could be without their mom this Christmas, but I’m here so I’m grateful for it, ”said Brooks.
Brooks has set up a GoFundMe page online. So far, she has raised $ 95 from her $ 100,000 goal.