Cynthia's Story

A "Heartening" Outlook for Women

It’s not often that you hear of a 39-year-old woman having a stroke. For Cynthia Macon, it was a horrifying reality.

“I felt the vessel pop in my head,” said Cynthia. It was an aneurysm rupturing in her brain. She had just suffered a stroke.

From that moment on, much of what happened next was a blur. It was not until she returned home that she realized what had happened. Looking at her shaved head, "I remember saying, what happened to me?”  Cynthia recalled.

Doctors discovered that Macon’s aneurism was imbedded deep in her brain. If the aneurysm were removed surgically, she ran the risk of becoming paralyzed. Instead, doctors performed a complex procedure, much like a cardiac angiogram. They went through an artery, bypassing the heart, to reach the brain, where surgeons packed the damaged spot with a platinum coil to prevent it from rupturing.

At the time of her stroke, Cynthia says she was in a stressful relationship, smoking more than usual, eating fried foods and was unaware she had high blood pressure. “I put everyone else before me, trying to please everyone and not really looking at myself,” she explained.

It would take ten long weeks of intense rehabilitation and a complete lifestyle modification to define the kind of woman she is today. “I feel so much healthier. I’m learning to deal with stress; I just say, ‘whatever,’ I try not to worry about anything anymore,” said Cynthia.

Cynthia continues to care for others at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center as a certified nurse's assistant. Signs of her stroke remain evident with weakness in her eye, but she says she has come a long way since the stroke. She also says she learned the hard way that her health could not be taken for granted. She now encourages other women to challenge their presumed well-being. “Try to keep tabs on your health and diet, that’s number one; everything else is second,” Cynthia advised.  “I took everything for granted. I thought to myself, I’m young and invincible, this could never happen to me.”