by Tamara O’Connell
A YOUNG Dundalk woman is urging members of the public to contact their doctor if they have any concerning symptoms after she suffered a stroke and her husband was diagnosed with cancer.
Katie Bailey, aged 28, was just 26-years-old when she suffered from a stroke, a month after she had got married.
Originally from Chapel Street, the mother-of-one currently lives with her husband, Joseph, and their daughter, Dayna.
“We had just got married in July and we were home from our honeymoon. I had my stroke on the 19th August. My husband had just gone to work so I was alone in our house,” said Katie.
“I’d no symptoms leading up to it. I’d always been fit and healthy. I didn’t drink much and I didn’t smoke. There were no contributing factors that people associate with strokes.
“I tried to put my hair in a towel and was trying and trying. I didn’t realise my right arm wasn’t working. When I finally realised something was very wrong, I freaked out.”
Katie added: “I fell a couple of times and my vision was starting to go. I lost my vision in my right eye.
“I’d had a stroke on the left side of my brain so I was affected on the right side of my body. I phoned my husband but he just thought there was a bad line as I couldn’t speak very well.
“So, I phoned my mother and she knew right away something was wrong. She came over to my house and took me to the emergency department in Drogheda.”
Katie continued: “I had an MRI and all hell broke loose. I was put into a wheelchair straight away and they took me to a little room.
“My husband was with us at this stage, and we were told the news and that I’d be moved to the stroke unit.
“I was in the Lourdes for two weeks. They did a lot of tests on me to try and find the cause but they still don’t know what caused it.”
Doctors discovered that Katie had a hole in her heart and they performed a surgery on it to close it up.
“They don’t know if the hole in my heart caused it but it might have been a contributing factor,” said Katie.
She was on the road to recovery when Katie was dealt another blow. Her husband, Joseph was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 30-years-old.
“He was big into the GAA and played soccer and was very fit and healthy. He had to go to the doctor a few times as they weren’t sure what was causing his night sweats and pain,” she said.
“Eventually he had an MRI and they broke the news. I started bawling crying straight away. He had to have surgery and chemotherapy.
“Shortly afterwards I found out I was expecting so it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Luckily, Joseph responded well to chemo and he got the all-clear in August 2020.”
She concluded: “Dayna was born in October 2020 so she’s just turned one. We just celebrated her first birthday.
“It makes you realise how precious life is. Our world came crashing down around us when we were diagnosed with a stroke and cancer.
“It was really scary but we are taking one day at a time. You never know when it could all be robbed from you.
“It’s so important to get checked out if you notice anything at all, especially men. You’re better off safe than sorry.”