A TEENAGER who went on holiday thinking she had a severe headache was horrified to learn she had suffered a stroke.
Millie Carrington travelled to Guernsey feeling drowsy and with one side of her face feeling numb.
The Edinburgh University student, who was just 18 at the time, said she also had trouble speaking but put it down to a migraine.
Two days later she finally went to see a doctor on the holiday island and was told she had suffered a stroke – when blood is cut off to part of the brain as a result of a clot or bleeding.
Millie, now 20, wanted to speak about her ordeal to make others aware that strokes can strike down young people.
The History of Art and Spanish student needed an operation on a previously undiagnosed hole in her heart which caused the stroke. She has also been left with a legacy of speech problems and tiredness.
Millie said: “I didn’t realise I had a stroke for the first couple of days because I didn’t think it would happen to me.
“I felt drowsy, couldn’t get my words out and was droopy on one side of my face, but I still thought it was just a really bad headache.
“I suffered migraines so I thought that was the cause.”
Not realising how serious the problem was, she set off to the Channel Islands with her family for a holiday.
But her worried dad took her to hospital after she spent hours asleep.
The pair were stunned when scans revealed showed Millie had suffered a stroke.
She said: “It was bizarre. I didn’t really register at first but my dad was very worried. It’s not something you would expect would happen to your teenage daughter.
She added: “I was in a bit of a daze when it all happened and was so tired and drowsy that it wasn’t all that scary to me.
“ It was a shock when I found out but I just wanted to sleep so didn’t fully take it on board for a while.”
Millie underwent surgery to correct an undiagnosed hole in her heart which had allowed a blood clot to get to her brain, and is now unlikely to have another stroke.
But the delay in getting treated has caused longer-term problems.
She said: “I still have some speech problems and I still get quite tired. I also have anxiety.
“It’s been a long process but luckily because I’m young my brain has been able to re-wire itself in a way it might not have with an older person.”
She has now started a degree in history of art and Spanish at Edinburgh University.
And last year, she hitch-hiked from Edinburgh to Paris with a pal to raise cash for a stroke charity.
She said: “Most of my friends have been really supportive although I think it’s not easy to understand a stroke at such a young age, especially as it’s a hidden illness.
“I want to raise awareness and let people know that strokes can happen when you are young.