Friends For Life: Surviving A Stroke: Justin’s Story

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – We conclude our special Friends For Life series dealing with men’s health Wednesday.

When you think of the health problems a 26-year-old man could face, a stroke is probably not one of them.

But that was exactly what happened to one of our own here at 6 News.

Doctors told the parents of Justin Kree that they should start preparing for the worst when he was air-lifted to the hospital after he had a stroke almost seven years ago.

Now Justin is sharing his story so that you and your family know the warning signs.

“Terrifying. I was so afraid you could die.”

“July 8 2009, your typical sunny Wednesday morning was anything but typical for me,” recalls Justin Kree, 6 News Anchor.

“I was woken up by an intense headache and dizziness, I was having a stroke. My mother recalls that terrifying day.”

“He was hollering help me, help me! When I got to him he was lying on the bathroom floor, and he said call 9-1-1 I’m having a stroke. It’s not something a mother thinks is going to happen to their 26-year-old son,” said Marilyn Kree, Justin’s mother.

Justin: “But a stroke is exactly what I was having. The paramedics came within minutes and rushed me to St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital in Howell.

Once there I was going in and out of consciousness. A robot, who is controlled by a doctor located at a different hospital in a different city evaluated me.

Dr. Ramesh Madhavan explains how this technology, which is about 10 years old, is so important when saving stroke patients.”

“It is important because we do not have physicians expertise in rural areas, in community hospital setups. In locations where specialty physicians are not available. This is where telemedicine is growing in a big way,” said Dr. Ramesh Madhavan, director, telemedicine program, Michigan Stoke Network.

Justin: “Doctor Madhavan is able to maneuver the tele-medicine robot right to my bedside to assess the symptoms. It was determined that I had to be airlifted to St. Joseph Stroke Center in Pontiac. This technology possibly saved my life.

“Time is the key. Every minute is lost, more and more brain cells are dying,” said Dr. Madhavan.

Justin: “Unlike most strokes, mine was caused from trauma.

My vertebral arteries were ripped, forcing my body to naturally form a blood clot to “fix” the tear.

Doctors could never pinpoint what caused my arteries to rip, but most strokes are caused from poor health.

So, exercising, eating healthy and not smoking can help prevent a stroke.”

“These are what we refer to as modifiable risk factors. These are things that can impact to actually prevent or reduce your risk for stroke,” said Dr. Robert Fields, chairman of E.R. Medicine, St. Joseph Livingston.

Justin: “There are many signs that can help you tell if someone around you is having a stroke. The most important is timing.

Remember the word FAST, an acronym for stroke.

F – For face drooping

A – For arms, when asking the person to raise their arms, is one lower than the other?

S – Stands for speech, is their speech slurred?

If they reveal any of these symptoms T stands for time.”

Time is of the essence. It is what separates what we’ve been doing remotely as let’s see how things go to we have a plan of intervention that could definitely have an impact

As the turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes get passed around the table this Thanksgiving Day, I think back to that day in July six and a half years ago and realize having good health, a family and a team of doctors that reacted fast is what I’m most thankful for.

We welcome thoughts and comments from our viewers. We ask that everyone keep their remarks civil and respectful. Postings that contain profanity, racist, or potentially libelous remarks will be deleted. We will delete any commercial postings, as well.

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