Nancy’s story: After stroke, ‘my improvements have been unbelievable’
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Nancy Malcore awoke with a start. It was the morning of July 23, 2020.
She had lost all control of her bladder and needed to get to the bathroom, immediately. Nancy jumped out of bed.
“But I fell like a sack of potatoes onto the floor,” she says.
The left side of Nancy’s body was unresponsive. Even worse, she couldn’t speak. Her words slurred as she lay on the bedroom floor, struggling to call out to her husband for help.
Fortunately, her husband Tom heard her fall and rushed to Nancy’s aid.
“He said, ‘come on, I’ll help you up,’” Nancy recalls. “He was trying to help me up and he said I was trying to talk to him and I couldn’t.”
Tom realized what was happening.
“He said, ‘Nancy, you’re having a stroke. I’m calling 911.’ So, he was very smart in calling right away.”
Nancy exhibited classic stroke symptoms – facial drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty. She suffered a common type of stroke, an ischemic stroke. It occurs when there’s a blockage in an artery – often a clot – supplying blood to the brain.
Nancy, who is in her mid-70s, was rushed by ambulance to Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, the first certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
“Tom and I had already discussed this previously, that if anything ever happened to us and if it was a stroke we wanted to go to Aurora because we’ve heard nothing but good things about them. We both had heard such good testimony about Aurora with stroke victims.”
Darkhabani performed a mechanical thrombectomy, a minimally-invasive procedure.
Nancy’s stroke was related to a severe blockage in her right carotid artery. A clot formed next to this blockage closing an important blood vessel that supplies blood to the left side of her brain. This portion of her brain was being deprived of blood and oxygen.
Aurora BayCare Medical Center includes one of the region’s stroke centers offering the mechanical thrombectomy procedure.
During the procedure, a small incision was made in the groin and a catheter threaded through the artery to the clot. The blockage in her carotid artery was fixed using a balloon to open the vessel and a stent was placed across the narrowed portion to restore blood flow. Once the stent was placed, a flexible catheter was advanced to the location of the clot. The clot was safely removed using suction and negative pressure. This resulted in complete restoration of blood flow to the left side of Nancy’ s brain.
Nancy spent nearly four days in the hospital.
Darkhabani and his support staff provided exemplary care, Nancy says.
“I really, really, can’t praise them enough. Dr. Darkhabani came in the ICU every day checking me out. He always explained everything to me. I was treated very humanely and that’s what I was so pleased with.”
Nancy continues to work to regain her strength and speech through physical and speech therapy.
“In the beginning I was like a leapfrog. I was taking giant hops. They’d come in every morning and they’d be like, ‘Look at Nancy! Look at her.’ Now I’m taking baby steps, but I’m improving. My improvements have been unbelievable.”
Tom also plays a role in Nancy’s recovery.
“He said, ‘Nancy you can’t forget how to play cards.’ I was in the ICU after a stroke and my husband had me playing cards. I could actually hold the cards and think. I couldn’t believe it.”
Nancy is thankful for Darkhabani and his team’s quick and skilled response to her stroke.
“I’m a very religious woman and believe in God. I believe that there’s a time and place for everything in this world and I can’t believe I was under such great protection – that I had that surgeon and that he wasn’t in with someone else.”
“I call him my miracle man,” Nancy says.
Dr. Ziad Darkhabani sees patients in Green Bay, Oshkosh and Marinette. To request an appointment, call 920-288-8044 in Green Bay or 855-819-9935 in Oshkosh or Marinette. Request an online appointment here.