PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Melissa Fink remembers very clearly what it felt like when she was having a stroke.

"One day I woke up from a nap and I couldn't feel my left arm and I remember picking it up and ... it just dropped," she said.

[WATCH: Phoenix-area woman battles stroke at early age]

When we think of people who've had a stroke we usually picture an older person but the truth is strokes can happen to people of all ages.

Fink was just 31 years old and had just given birth to her first baby days before.

Until then Fink didn't have a history of stroke, but the warning signs were there.

"I remember I had never had high blood pressure in my whole life and I remember they check you like every half hour, and it was high," she explained. "I said, 'Why is it high, I've never had high blood pressure' and she said, 'I don't know I'll talk to a nurse.' No one ever came back and did anything."

She went home to start her life as a family of three and that's when trouble struck.

"I woke up in the middle of the night, like the second night we were there, with the worst headache of my life and I didn't know it was a stroke but we knew something was wrong," she said.

She ended up in the emergency room and was treated for postpartum preeclampsia.

But she couldn't lift her arm and was having trouble walking.

She followed up with her regular doctor who knew immediately what was wrong.

"She did the touch my nose and all of that and she said, 'You need to get to the emergency room. You can go to these two hospitals and I'll call them and tell them you're coming because you're having a stroke,'" she said.

It was caused by a condition called vasculitis of the central nervous system.

In Fink's case, doctors believe it was triggered by her pregnancy.

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"When you're pregnant, your immune system shuts down to protect the fetus and once you deliver, it comes back and it should come back normally and mine went into overdrive and started attacking the vessels in my brain," she said.

Monitored closely by doctors, she went on to have another baby and ditched her career in corporate America.

"You become more grateful for what you do have and then you just kind of live the kind of life you want to live," she said.

Heidi Goitia is the traffic reporter and fill-in anchor for CBS 5 This Morning weekdays from 4:30-7am.
 
 


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