How Type 1 Diabetes Led to This 34 Year-old’s Stroke

How Type 1 Diabetes Led to This 34 Year-old’s Stroke
Support Bryan and other stroke victims by visiting this link.

Written by Jaiveer Kang

Stroke and Survival

In February 2021, Bryan was between jobs and excited to take an interview with his potential employer. Suddenly the back of Bryan’s head went warm in the middle of his zoom interview, and he passed out. Luckily his wife was right there and immediately called the ambulance to rush Bryan to the hospital. Quickly, the doctors realized there was a brain bleed in the brainstem on the right side. The doctors concluded that a mix of Bryan’s T1D and undiagnosed high blood pressure was a trigger to his stroke.

The first few weeks in the hospital were the hardest while given only a 10% chance to survive. He was intubated several times and had to relearn how to swallow, breathe, and talk. Bryan fought to overcome those obstacles within 5 weeks, but still has left side paralysis. After the first few weeks in the hospital, Bryan was able to regain motion in his left leg, however his left arm has slight paralysis while currently regaining strength.

While in the hospital recovering from the stroke, Bryan was also diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure due to prolonged effects from T1D. Bryan is now on the waitlist to receive a new kidney and pancreas in hopes he will undergo the surgery within a year. Bryan currently receives dialysis at home each night for 11 hours straight to keep his kidneys as healthy as possible.

Bryan and his son, and their family dog. (Photo courtesy of Bryan)
“My wife saved my life, she is my support system”

Bryan credits his wife for being his support system and helping him through his stroke. She was at the hospital everyday helping Bryan stretch his leg that was not functional and trying to help him regain motion. In addition after Bryan’s stroke, she became the sole provider for the family and maintains financial stability by supporting him through this. “I can’t say enough about how she sticks by my side, she is the strongest person I know.”

Road to Recovery

When Bryan first found out about his kidney failure and stroke, it was a lot to deal with. “I became depressed at first, but I made a decision that I will do whatever it takes to recover.” Bryan had a great support system of friends who were continuously checking in and sending positivity. Bryan and his family recently made a move from California to Utah just before his stroke. Most of their close friends were back in California, and some did come to visit. However, not having too many friends close by, Bryan mentions that his wife was his support system and they rely on each other for everything.

Bryan has a 7-year-old son who has been a huge supporter of his recovery. He goes with his dad to weekly therapy and understands that this is to help his dad get better. Bryan mentions “even though he’s just 7, he will chime in and tell me to take my medications. He also notices my recovery and tells me great job on walking or uses encouraging words.”

Bryan is working hard everyday to stay focused and patient while he waits for his turn on the kidney and pancreas transplant list. He mentions that after his stroke things have become a little tougher for his wife. “I was much more laid back before, but now I’m very uptight and can make things difficult for her sometimes.” Without his wife, Bryan thinks there would be no recovery and he would not even be alive today.

Bryan, his wife Brittany, and their 7-year-old son. (Photo courtesy of Bryan)

Looking Forward

Bryan hopes to have a strong recovery, and doctors mention with his age that will be very possible. Doctors stated it would take anywhere from 6-8 months to begin walking again. Bryan is stubborn and made a commitment to beat that goal. It was a short 4 weeks after being discharged from the hospital that he was able to walk without a cane. On the 4th of July weekend, he rode a bicycle for the first time after his stroke. He has surpassed each goal he set for himself and will continue to do so long-term. After Bryan receives his kidney and pancreas transplant, he will no longer have Type 1 Diabetes and looks forward to life without having to deal with long-term complications.

Bryan is in the middle of starting his own business with a friend, and hopes to support his family once he is ready to go back to work and get his business off the ground. For Bryan, having a stroke and living with kidney failure is a bump in the road in the long life he will continue to live.

Bryan’s View on Genetics

When speaking with Bryan to understand his thoughts of genetic screening and helping parents have healthy children, he mentioned it was a no-brainer decision, and how helpful it can be for future parents.

Bryan’s mother is adopted so he mentioned he didn’t fully understand what his genetic history could have been since his mother did not know much about her own. Bryan mentioned that the combination of his high-blood pressure and T1D led to his stroke, “understanding my genetics earlier in life could have helped to keep my blood pressure under control, and possibly avoid this stroke.”

Bryan believes parents who are planning on conceiving should understand their genetics and the risk they can pass on to their children. “It is a way you can prepare for your child's life, and understand how to control risks early on.”

Support Bryan and other stroke victims by visiting this link.
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