When a 49-year-old woman started having stroke symptoms her doctors told her she was just poorly managing her stress.
Stacey Yepes went to a Toronto hospital in April after the first episode, during which she experienced numbness and slurred speech. The symptoms had subsided by the time she saw a doctor and was diagnosed with stress. Doctors told her to practice breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.
Two days later her symptoms returned.
Yepes recorded the minute-long mini-stroke on her cell phone and demonstrated the slurred speech and inability to use her fingers.
"I don’t know why this is happening to me,” Yepes said in the video. “It happened this morning again.
"I think it was just to show somebody, because I knew it was not stress-related," she told CBC. "And I thought if I could show somebody what was happening, they would have a better understanding."
"In all my years treating stroke patients, we've never seen anyone tape themselves before," neurologist Dr. Cheryl Jaigobin told CBC. "Her symptoms were compelling, and the fact she stopped and found a way to portray them in such a visual fashion, we were all touched by it."
Jaigobin and her team used the video to diagnose Yepes with a mini-stroke. Doctors say the mini-strokes were the result of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Yepes is now taking blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
"They warned me should any symptoms happen again, dial 911 first — and then do the video," she said.
Since the incident, Yepes has been off work and undergoing rehabilitation. She hopes to return to work in July.