Jennifer was only on the patch for five months, from March to July of 2005. Since then, she has had 'several setbacks' -- to put it mildly.
Jennifer before stroke
"I was prescribed the Ortho Evra Patch to regulate my periods but it increased my flow and caused a lot of pain," says Jennifer. "Then I started to get headaches and felt light-headed all the time so my Mum thought I should stop taking it. She took me to our doctor and he sent me to a cardiologist to have an EKG -- he said the blood loss had to do with my heart but the tests came out fine. I stayed on the Patch.
I was going to high school and living in Georgia with my Dad at the time so my Mum had to drive me back from New York -- I wasn't well enough to drive myself. On the way home I was bleeding a lot and as soon as we got to my house in Georgia I couldn't walk and my left hand went numb. My parents took me to University hospital in Atlanta and I was admitted for three days for observation.
They came to the conclusion that I had a mild stroke. I cried for a long time; I cried myself to sleep. My mum was terrified and my father was out of his mind.
It doesn't stop there.
I saw a lot of different specialists, from neurologists to cardiologists and then some. They asked so many questions and when I told them I was on the Patch, they told me to get off it immediately. I wasn't taking any other meds.
They told me I had to have heart surgery because my blood had thickened and clotted so badly that it caused a tear in my mitro valve -one of the main heart valves. My mum wasn't happy with the cardiologist down south and she wanted me to go back to New York. So I moved back with her right after I was discharged.
The doctors also had me on anti-psychotic medication -- I had suffered brain damage from the stroke.
Jennifer after stroke
"After the move, they couldn't perform surgery -- they were hesitant because of the blood clotting so I saw a hematologist for five months before I could have surgery. During this time I was bed-ridden.
"I had surgery in June, 2006 -- I had waited almost a full year. Just when I was beginning to recover I got a Staph infection because my blood wasn't fighting the infection -- I had to fight that for three months and took a series of antibiotics to get over it -- the infection was right next to my heart. Then in September 2006 I had another stroke, this time much more severe. I lost all feeling in my left side for two months. And there is NO heart disease in my family.
Not only that, I was admitted to rehab for two months so I could walk again and use my left hand. And I lost so many brain cells it took me months to teach myself how to walk and talk again. I am no longer on the anti-psychotic meds and I am steadily recovering but still have trouble with my left hand and arm -- my muscles have deteriorated and I have limited use.
I will eventually have to get this valve replaced because the repairs can tear if my blood is too thick. . For the rest of my life I will have to take Plavix and aspirin.
My life has changed so much: I was a cheerleader for six years and very active in sports and now I can barely walk.
I had to quit my secretarial job and sales assistant job. I can no longer multi-task. But I have a job interview at 1.30 this afternoon at a credit collection agency where I just have to answer the phone -- that is basically all I can do. I got accepted to community college this fall but it is going to be a challenge: I was accepted based on my high school performance -- before I had the strokes -- so I am very nervous.
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And another thing: Due to my disability, I have lost several friends. They can't deal with the fact that I can't do things that we had in common before the strokes. But my mum won't stop fighting or finding out a way to help; she just wants me to have a normal life."
We want you to have a normal life as well, Jennifer. Good luck with your job search -- and your lawsuit. LawyersandSettlements.com will check back with Jennifer next week to see how she made out with her interview.