Shay’s Story

May 19, 2021

To recognize National Stroke Awareness Month, former patient Shay Traywick, now 41, reflects about the lessons she learned when she had a stroke nearly two years ago this month.

traywick-stroke-awarenesIt was Memorial Day weekend when Traywick was at a pool party with friends. She was simply enjoying food, family, friends and fellowship, but things for Shay began to take a strange turn.

“The right side of my bottom lip began to go numb,” she said. “I told my friends about it and we just brushed it off because it was so weird.”

A few minutes passed by and it got better, but Traywick realized the numbness returned again, but this time in her chin as well.

“I just thought it was so weird that it came and went like it did. Each time it came back, I felt it in more of my face including my chin and my jaw line,” she said.

At 39, Traywick said she didn’t have any major health conditions that would put her at risk for something like a stroke, but her symptoms were very similar.

The acronym F.A.S.T. is typically used when describing stroke symptoms (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time) to educate the public on detecting symptoms of a stroke.

After the party, Traywick went home and after winding down from the day, texted her friends jokingly letting them know that the numbness in her face was still there.

“My friend then gave me a call because her husband is a nurse and he was concerned,” she said. “He suggested that I squeeze my husband’s hand and, although I thought it was weird, I did it. After noticing my strength wasn’t the same on both sides, (my husband) told us he thought we should go to the ER.”

Although confused and not thinking it was necessary to go, she went to Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

“When I went there, it was like an alarm went off. My face was dropping and my blood pressure was ridiculously high,” she said. “After they gave me a full assessment, they administered tPA (a clot busting medication) for those suspected to have had a stroke.”

Traywick was then sent to the ICU at Shelby. She said during her recovery she experienced an improvement in pain levels and didn’t have any major signs of damage.

“I was so very blessed to have a good recovery. The clot was small and we went quickly to Shelby Baptist, which I think made all the difference in the world. Although, I wasn’t particularly at risk for a stroke and the doctors couldn’t tell me more about why it happened, they said what they know it is that if I had of waited to come in, it would have been much worse,” she said.

Traywick learned a lot after her experience, including the importance of listening to your body.

“I felt foolish going in to the ER because I didn’t think anything was wrong, but it’s better for you to go and tell them you are foolish than for it to be a lot worse. I do believe that I got the best care that could have given to me at any one time,” she said.

Traywick is a former fifth grade teacher at Thompson Intermediate School and now works for the Shelby County Schools as an instructional coach. She credits Shelby Baptist and the team’s quick response to her continuing to recover so well, even two years later.

“I was downplaying it down to my very last slur, but they took it all seriously and made me feel like it was going to be OK. I wasn’t nervous about anything they were going to do. They made me just believe that they were going to handle it. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. I believe the fact that the team acted so quickly could have made the difference in be walking and talking today,” she said.