Natalie Trickett, 33, Preston had no idea her contraception was putting her in terrible danger...
Pulling myself out of bed, I tiptoed downstairs to get breakfast ready.
But, suddenly, I had a funny spell.
Pain tore through my head and I collapsed to my knees.
Everything felt fuzzy and I had a tingling sensation down my right side.
What’s going on? I thought in a panic.
I managed to get up, but I had such a bad headache.
Worried, I got straight on the phone to my mum.
‘You should make an appointment with your doctor,’ she told me.
I did, and my GP said it was probably just a migraine.
Later that night, in February 2013, my headache just got worse, though.
My lips felt numb, too, and my vision was going blurry.
Soon, my headache was so bad, I went to A&E at Burnley General Hospital, where I was given painkillers and referred for an eye test.
And, eventually, I got some answers…
‘We think you’ve had a stroke,’ the doctor said.
My mind raced.
‘A stroke?’ I gasped.
But I was only 28 – young, fit, healthy, I didn’t smoke, and rarely drank… It didn’t make any sense.
I was immediately given blood thinners and transferred to Royal Blackburn Hospital to see a specialist.
An MRI scan confirmed I’d suffered a stroke.
‘The Pill may have caused it,’ I was told.
I’d been taking the combined contraceptive Pill for about 12 months, and not had any problems, just a few headaches.
While the Pill is safe for most people, doctors believed in my case, it’d raised my oestrogen levels so much, it’d caused a severe migraine, which had triggered the stroke.
I couldn’t believe it.
‘You’re very lucky you came in when you did,’ a doctor said.
I spent the next few weeks in hospital and slowly gained the feeling back in my body.
My sight became less blurry, too. And, gradually, I built up my strength to walk again.
It was such a relief to feel more like my old self again.
When doctors warned that I had a higher risk of having another stroke, I stopped taking the contraceptive Pill.
But it was hard not to feel anxious.
Any little head pain made me sick with worry.
‘What if it’s another stroke?’ I’d panic to Mum.
I knew I couldn’t live my life in fear, though.
So, determined to get on with things, I took my driving test and passed.
Then I started fundraising for the Stroke Association by taking part in runs.
Apart from a bit of peripheral vision loss, I’m doing brilliantly now. I’m so lucky to have recovered so well.
I used to associate strokes with older people. And I’d no idea that, for me, taking the Pill could trigger a stroke.
But my story proves strokes really can affect anyone.