LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Little Rock man who overcame a stroke is now sharing his story of survival and recovery. 

Cam Deacon was just starting his day on the morning of March 15th when he began to feel ill. In the shower, he suddenly became disoriented and wasn’t able to process what he was doing. 

He wrote it off as a panic attack or overheating until he started walking across his bedroom and suddenly collapsed to the ground. 

His wife called his mother-in-law, a long-time nurse at UAMS, asking what to do. Over the phone, she asked Cam to do one critical thing: flash a grin. 

“And so I smiled,” Deacon remembered, “and as soon as I smiled to my wife, Lauren said, ‘well, it’s off.'”

Deacon was showing the textbook symptoms of a stroke. As a healthy 40-year-old, the diagnosis was almost unbelievable… until it wasn’t. 

“I thought like, hey, this could be it,” Deacon said. 

He was rushed to UAMS where a team of health professionals had been alerted to his arrival. One of his doctors was Dr. Kelly-Ann Patrice, part of UAMS’ Neurology Department. 

“It’s very important for patients as soon as they experience symptoms or signs or a stroke to present to the emergency room,” Dr. Patrice warned. 

She and Deacon’s care team were able to administer a powerful clot buster and save his life. But then came the second challenge: figuring out what led to the stroke in the first place. 

The culprit ended up being a tiny hole in-between two chambers of Deacon’s heart, something that was easily patched up with surgery. 

3 days after his stroke, Deacon was out of the ICU and after a week, he returned to work. Today, his only symptom is the occasional balance issue and nothing more. 

“I don’t know what to say other than “remarkable,”” Deacon said. 

“It’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job when you see a patient with a very good outcome,” Dr. Patrice added. 

Now, Deacon is sharing his story in the hopes someone will be inspired to remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke; and most importantly, get help when they appear. 

“If you feel like something’s wrong,” said Deacon, “just pay attention to it and get it checked out.”

For more information on the signs and symptoms of stroke, check out the American Stroke Association’s website.