It was a typical hot August day in Phoenix when 21 year-old, Aryana, decided to go for a swim. Just like a million times before, she held her breath and swam the length of the pool. But this time was very different. Emerging from the other side of the pool, she found herself extremely dizzy barely able to stand.
“I was told to focus my eyes as I felt them darting from side to side,” said Aryana. “I tried to talk, but all that came out was slurred speech while my head pounded and nausea set in. I thought I was having just another migraine on an extreme level,” she said.
Since aspirin usually worked for her migraine, Aryana began to take two every four hours. The extreme headache and dizziness continued. At 1:45 a.m. the next day, Aryana woke her Mom to go to the emergency room. She knew this headache was different.
The emergency room doctor thought Aryana may have had meningitis based on the symptoms, and performed a computerized tomography (CT) scan, which found a spot on her brain. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) followed for her head and neck, along with an ultrasound of the leg. She had recently undergone foot surgery so the doctors thought she may have had a blood clot causing these symptoms. After the testing was done she came back into the room, where her parents gave her news she had suffered from a stroke and was being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Aryana’s Mom, Nahid Tanara, who had heart surgery four months prior, immediately called her cardiologist, Ramy Doss, M.D. because a stroke is linked to heart issues. “Dr. Doss thought I might have a hole in my heart, which pushed a clot through my heart and up to my brain,” Aryana recalls. “When the doctor put a camera down to look at my heart, he found something he never expected – a massive tumor. A piece of the tumor had detached and popped in my brain, which caused the stroke. Dr. Doss called heart surgeon, Robert Riley, M.D. who performed successful open heart surgery to remove the tumor.”
I am so thankful to Dr. Doss and Dr. Riley for saving my life,” said Aryana. “The surgery and recovery in fact were so successful I was back at Arizona State University at the beginning of the semester two and half weeks after the date of surgery.”
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