Former TV Journalist Goes from Trauma to Triumph After a Stroke Steals Her Voice
National Stroke Awareness Month gives new author, Vivian L. King, a chance to warn women of a risk factor that can strike when you least expect it. She recently launched her book, “When the Words Suddenly Stopped: Finding My Voice Again After a Massive Stroke,” which details the day she collapsed at a local event. She suffered a seizure, later learning that it was a stroke, caused by a blood clot over the part of the brain that manages speech. The clot began bleeding, killing her brain cells, which left her mute for three-and-a-half weeks.
“The entire episode was a shock to me and everyone around me,” King says. “I don’t have high blood pressure. I don’t smoke. I am relatively active, and I do not have a history of stroke in my family. Doctors say taking birth control pills over the age of 40 is what led to a blood clot and, ultimately, my stroke.”
African American women are twice as likely to suffer a stroke compared to white women, and they are more likely to have more severe strokes and at younger ages. Most people worry about the more common stroke causes high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, heavy drinking, use of illicit drugs, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and family history. Birth control pills are the last risk factor on the lists Vivian found when doing her research, and not even every site listed them as a risk.
“Half the women I talk to are wide-eyed when I share that I was 49, taking birth control pills and that caused my stroke,” says King. “I wrote this book to start a dialogue that urges women to talk with their doctors if they are still taking birth control pills. I want to prevent this from happening to any other woman.”
As a single woman whose family lives in another state, Vivian also wrote this book to help people navigate major health crises. She was incapacitated and in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit for ten days. While she describes her medical care as unparalleled, she believes her secret weapons were her faith, family, and friends converging to lead her from trauma to triumph.
“They were my advocates,” says King. “So, while I could not speak, they spoke for me. This book also illustrates the importance of support.”
“When the Words Suddenly Stopped: Finding My Voice Again After a Massive Stroke,” comes in hardback, paperback, eBook and Kindle, and can be found at amazon.com/author/vivianlking. It is also being sold by Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee.