Why You Should Always Shave Your Legs

Last Wednesday morning, I stood in the shower for a good ten minutes trying to decide if I had the energy to shave my legs.  I didn’t.  So, I rinsed out my hair and got out hairy.

Eh, it happens.

Later that morning, I went into first period and about halfway through teaching, I started to get dizzy.  Nothing really serious.  Just that dizzy like when you stand up too fast.  If I started walking around, it got a little worse, so I stood still for a few minutes while my students worked and the dizziness subsided a little bit.

By second period, the dizzy was back in full force.  I was having trouble standing upright because everything was spinning.  By the end of the period, I started to experience vertigo.

I called Chris between classes and told him what was going on.  I said if the vertigo continued, he was going to have to come get me because I couldn’t teach like this.  We agreed I’d teach through third period and then during my fourth period planning, I would check back in with him.

Then crazy stuff started happening.

Throughout third period, I was battling vertigo terribly (something I’d never experienced before – it felt like I was standing still while the room spun vertically around me), and I started messing up my words a little.  I kept calling kids by the wrong name and was talking about things that had nothing to do with class.  At the end of the period, I was handing papers back to students.  They had their names at the top of the papers, and I was looking at the names and then walking over to hand the papers to that particular student.  Only, turns out, I didn’t get one student right.  I gave every paper to the wrong child, which is weird enough on its own.  But the craziest part was that I thought I was giving them to the right students.

My kids started laughing at me, and joking around, saying, “What’s wrong with you, Mrs. Brown?!?!”  I laughed and collected all the papers, and then I DID THE SAME THING AGAIN.

Something was wrong.  And I started to get a little worried.  I called Chris and told him he needed to come get me.  I had a quick meeting at the beginning of fourth period, and when I told one of the teachers what was going on, she said I needed to go see the nurse in the front office and have my blood pressure checked.  Which I did.  But that’s when things got even worse.

I started having trouble talking.  I could hear people talking to me, and I knew what I wanted to respond, but I couldn’t say the words.  My vision also started blurring, and I couldn’t quite see what was going on in front of me.  I can’t remember everything that happened while I was in the front office.  But I know that they called an ambulance, and very quickly I was surrounded by a team of first responders and EMT’s.

When they lifted me onto the gurney, it was the first time I thought, “I really should have shaved this morning.”

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By the time I got to the hospital, my vision was clearing up a bit and the vertigo had stopped, but I continued to have trouble speaking and my right hand had gone numb and was tingling.  That really freaked Chris out.  Someone at my school called him and he met the ambulance at the hospital.  When he finally got back to me in the emergency room, he was so relieved to see that I looked very normal and like myself.  But when they started asking me questions and talking to me, I still struggled for my words.  It was upsetting to me and Chris, both.

They admitted me to the hospital that afternoon as a stoke patient, but there was also the thought that I might have had something called a “complex migraine,” which is basically a migraine with stroke-like symptoms and no headache.  They began running every neurological and cardiac test possible that night and into early the next morning.  I had an EKG before I even left the emergency room, followed by a CT.  Both came out clear.  At 11:00 that night, I had a ultrasound of my corroded arteries, which came back clear and healthy.  At 1:00 in the morning, I had an MRI, and at 4:00am I had an echocardiogram.

Every test came back clear and healthy.  Praise God.

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Doctors ruled out a number of diseases and illnesses through blood tests, which I don’t have time to go into right now because I’d like to eventually go to bed tonight.  The last thing they ruled out was the complex migraine because I am not a migraine sufferer, nor do I have any migraine tendencies.  I hardly ever even get headaches.  The neurologist and the hospitalist both agreed that I did, in fact, suffer a TIA.

If you Google it, you’ll find all the medical descriptions about a TIA, but basically, a TIA is often called a mini-stroke.  It means something got into my blood stream and blocked blood flow to my brain, but unlike a massive stroke, there are no lingering side effects for me.  Pretty scary.

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The bad thing about a TIA is that it is usually an indicator that a stroke is coming.  About 40% of patients who suffer a TIA go on to have a full-blown stroke within 2-3 months.  Usually, it’s within even 24-48 hours.  This, of course, was the part that I was hospitalized for. After speaking with doctors, however, I was assured that my risk factor is extremely low for a massive stroke, as I do not have any of the conditions which are often stroke triggers – I’m not obese, I’m young, I don’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, I don’t have a blood coagulation disorder, I’m not a smoker, etc.  It really does seem to be just a fluke.

I’m sure you all have lots of advice and questions and, trust me, I’ve been through them all with my team of doctors.  I just don’t have the energy to go through every medical decision or information that was explored this past week.  So, forgive the specifics and just trust that I’m okay.

True to form, my family came rallying from the far corners of the globe (a.k.a. Atlanta).  My mom came down right away on Wednesday and was able to pick up the kids and stay with them while Chris stayed with me in the hospital.  My sister and her family came into town on Friday to help cook, clean my house, watch my kids, and take care of me since Chris had tech rehearsals (naturally, they would be this weekend!).  My doctors had given me strict orders to rest this weekend, and my family made sure that I was able to do just that.  And it helped, too, because I am feeling much better now.

I have a follow-up appointment tomorrow with my doctor, and if that goes well, I should be back to work on Tuesday.

I posted a picture in the hospital on Instagram this past week, and, once again, my loyal imaginary friends came running with kind words and prayers and good thoughts.   Thank you so much for your comfort and support.  It means so much to me.

Especially on days when I don’t shave my legs.

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69 Thoughts to “Why You Should Always Shave Your Legs”

  1. Kathleen

    So glad you are okay!! Long time non-commenting fan of your blog. I am training to be a PA, and I was so relieved to read it was a TIA and not a stroke.

  2. Cindy

    As I was reading the first part of your post I was thinking to myself that you must have had a stroke, how scary for you and your family. I will definitely be praying for you. That is so weird that you had a TIA when you have no risk factors.

  3. Amanda S

    Praying for you!

  4. Sarah

    Hi Katie! I had similar symptoms a couple years ago – they still have not decided if it was a complex migraine or TIA. Not sending any suggestions or arm-chair diagnosing – just commiserating!

  5. Mariya

    So scary. Take care of yourself.

  6. Oh wow, that is so scary. I am sending prayers your way and do keep us posted on what is going on. We may be imaginary internet friends but we all do care!

  7. Oh my goodness!! How scary.
    Glad you are okay.
    Take it easy.

  8. Amy VH

    I am so happy to hear you are ok!!! I have been praying for you and thinking about you since Chris’s ig post on Wednesday. My husband thinks I am insane when I keep talking about being worried about my blogging friend Katie from Florida. Take care of yourself! Continuing to pray for you and your family.

  9. Corroded or Carotid arteries? Sorry, had to be that annoying medical person. Much love and so glad that you’re doing much better!! Glad your family was around to take good care of you.

  10. Jennifer

    Wow thats scary! So glad you’re home with the kiddos and Chris now.

  11. Cathy Carr

    I’m so glad you’re okay. I had an eclamptic seizure before my daughter was born with many of the same neurological symptoms. I know just how scary that can be (both during and after). Prayers for a good report from the doctor tomorrow.

  12. Aileen

    I’m a long-time reader of your blog and love it. Glad to hear you’re doing better…praying for you!

  13. Trish D

    I had this very thing happen to me about 5 years ago! They never did decide what it was …but, it never happened again. About a month ago, I woke up with the same vertigo symptoms and freaked completely out…come to find out..I had an inner ear infection this time. Take care of yourself and rest peacefully knowing your imaginary friends are praying for you 🙂

  14. Jenna

    Thinking about you lots, Katie! So thankful that you work at a school where they take good care of you. Keep relaxing.

  15. Yikes! Most of my TIA pts are older but hopefully this is just a fluke thing with you. Keeping you in my thoughts! Be good and relax (because it’s that easy, right?) hugs!!

  16. Casey

    My Mom had several TIA’s. They are pretty scary to see happening. So glad you are doing A-OK after something so terrible! You are in my prayers, imaginary friend 🙂

  17. Andrea

    First, I am so glad you are okay. I am a long-time reader but first time commenter. I am sorry this happened but it sounds like you have things under control and know what signs to look for should it happen again.
    I am a member of the “always shave your legs” club after going five days sans razor at 30 weeks pregnant and developing severe preeclampsia that same day. It was TWO WEEKS before I could shave. I looked like a dude.

  18. Katie, I’ve been thinking of you and your family and praying for you since you posted on IG. (And I googled it immediately, because you’re my best imaginary friend, and I worry.) 🙂 I am so happy that you are feeling so much better! Hope that tomorrow goes well with your doctors. I know this had to have been terribly scary for you, and your family. Much LOVE to you all. xoxo

  19. Jen

    So glad to hear you are relaxing and enjoying your family! Rest up and thank you for keeping your imaginary friends updated we were worried!

  20. Claire

    I’ve had those vertiginous migraines before myself. So scary. But a TIA! Yowza! Glad they have you under good medical supervision.

  21. Emily

    So glad to hear you’re ok! Stay healthy!

  22. Katie, I’m so sorry! You and your family must be extremely worried and scared. I’m glad you are feeling better and your family was able to come take care of you! Saying lots of prayers for you.

  23. Oh by the way, i learned the shaving thing a few years ago when I ended up in the hospital with hairy legs. It was insane with everything that was going on that I was most worried and embarassed about my hairy legs, but i was. So i completely understand you. I’m glad you are all right and feeling better (and able to laugh about your legs)!

  24. Catherine

    Katie, so happy you are OK. Thoughts and prayers are with you!

  25. Adrianna

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but glad you’re doing ok!! I’m a medical speech-language pathologist by trade, so I work with stroke/TIA patients on a regular basis, AND I’ve had a complex migraine in the past myself, with similar speech/language, cognition and balance issues. Very scary! Thank you for sharing your experience so that others can benefit and hopefully also seek appropriate medical attention.

    Take care of yourself and I’ll be thinking of you!

  26. Glad you are doing ok! Best of luck recovering. Thank you for sharing. I had never heard of TIA.

  27. Keeping you in my thoughts and hoping you continue to improve. AND, you might not want to shave anytime soon! Just saying.

  28. Kaylynne

    Praying for you and your family in this challenging time. I hope you feel better soon!

  29. Beanie, Gracie & Tillman's Nana

    With so many wonderful internet friends taking time out of their lives to pray for Katie …… well, it just proves once again that we serve a mighty God who hears our prayers. To know my daughter is cared for by so many is humbling. God bless.

  30. Andrea

    How scary! Praying for you and your family!!

  31. Katie N.

    I was going to say that you get a pass on shaving since it’s winter ( aka hibernatiin time), but you DO live in Florida, so… 😉

    Echoing the sentiments of everyone else that I have been praying for you for the past few days, and especially echoing your mom’s words on what a mighty God we serve!

    Sending imaginary hugs to my imaginary friend!

  32. Ruth

    Wow How scary! I am glad you are ok and without side effects for me. I hope it was just a one time thing.
    Lots of hugs

  33. So glad you are ok! That must have been terrifying. Feel better and keep taking great care of yourself. <3

  34. Laura (@kittybiscuit)

    I laughed out loud when I saw the title of your post. I have had my share of hairy-leg experiences in the ER. You would think I would learn my lesson, because more than once the doctors have been looking for clots in my legs, which required some poor ultrasound tech to painstakingly examine every inch of both my hairy legs for 45 minutes.

    1. Laura (@kittybiscuit)

      I wrote another paragraph with more of the mushy stuff in my last comment (so you don’t think I was just commenting to talk about my own hairy legs!). Not sure what happened to it – maybe there’s a character limit on the comments. Anyhoo, just know imaginary friends like me are praying for you and are glad you’re feeling better!

  35. Jolene

    Glad you are ok! You are a blessing to so many and keep up your great attitude! I am thankful for you!

  36. Lee Ann

    SO glad you are okay! Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. And to inject a humorous note … you were worried about your hairy legs … when I was little, my mother always told us to put on clean underwear because we wouldn’t want to be wearing dirty underwear if we ended up in the hospital. So, hope you were wearing clean underwear, ha, ha!

  37. Misty

    Yikes! Prayers for you. My Aunt had a TIA a year or so ago. She refers to it as the day she lost her mind for a brief time. I’m glad that you had so much great support.

  38. julie

    Hi! Glad you are feeling better, Thank heavens for family, friends, and coworkers. Julie

  39. I had a similar experience last fall except I thought I was having a heart attack instead of a stroke. Turned out to be heart palpitations, but I couldn’t feel my heart beat just some weird side effects like numbness and symptoms like panic attack.

    I hadn’t shaved my legs that morning either!

    All I could think about was how scared I was at the thought of dying and leaving my kids. I was so excited that I didn’t die I didn’t follow any of the doctor’s orders to stay at home and rest – in fact I am pretty sure we had a living room dance party that night!

    So scary Katie – your imaginary friends have been sending you lots of light and love!

  40. So glad everything checked out OK!

  41. Yolanda

    Hi Katie

    Hope you get well soon! You will be in my prayers…take care.

  42. Brooke Hering

    So scary!!! So glad that you are ok and feeling better. Continuing to send thoughts and prayers your way.

  43. glad to hear that you are okay. that is super scary but how wonderful that your family is there for you in an instant!

    my grandmother always said to make sure i am always wearing clean underwear and have shaved my legs for reasons exactly like this.

  44. So thankful you’re okay and feeling better!! How scary! Praying for complete healing and peace of mind for you and Chris!!

  45. Brie

    I’m so glad everything seems to be getting better! I was worried when I saw the instagram picture the other day. I’ve been thinking and praying for you and hope you continue to do well.

  46. HeatherM

    So scary! One thing you can do with this is use it as a chance to educate people about signs and symptoms of stroke, and the importance of calling 911 RIGHT AWAY when those signs and symptoms appear. The reason for this is that the stroke reversal medication only works if given within 3 hours from when the symptoms first began. That means you have to be at the hospital, checked in, fully diagnosed, and they have to have the medication prepared by the pharmacist and ready to administer, and then actually give the medication- all within 3 hours. If you had had a real stroke and not a TIA that day, you very well could have ended up with permanent or long-term effects from the stroke because you waited so long to get help. EVERYONE needs to know that if anyone ever has changes to their face (eg facial drooping), arms, speech, or balance, they need to call 911 immediately. Check out the national stroke association website for helpful educational materials you can share with friends, family, and possibly even your students. They have a great FAST acronym to help people remember what to look for and what to do. Also, this might sound scary, but have you started to talk with Bean about how and when to call 911? It might be a good idea, just in case anything bad happened while you were home alone with them.

    1. I was just thinking that as unfortunate as this was, it’s probably a good lesson for her students that when someone is acting off or different or strange that something might be really wrong. Middle school students wouldn’t naturally think of this unless it has happened to them before with someone else (unlikely) but this is probably a great lesson for them in stroke and general health awareness.

      I’m so glad it wasn’t more serious. That is so scary for you and your family and I hope you never have to go through it again.

  47. I have a complex migraine about once every 4 years and the first one was the worst. I had the same symptoms you were describing except for the dizziness. My mom and sister were with me and my sister had to help me sign my name. Then I didn’t know any of the bball players on the Kansas Jayhawks team (which is a passion of mine). So then my mom and sis REALLY freaked out. It was so scary, but now that I know what is happening I can get to the hospital right away for them to treat me. It’s happened twice since that first time and it’s so weird because I know what I wanted to say but my mouth just wouldn’t form the words. Same with reading. I knew the word, but my mind wouldn’t comprehend it.

    So happy you are better! Isn’t family the best!!!

  48. Susan R

    Medical staff do not care if you have shaved your legs. I am glad that you are OK! Thoughts and prayers sent to you and Chris!

  49. joanne

    Hi, I have been reading along for some time (you are one of my fave reads!) and have never commented. So glad to hear you are doing ok and will keep you in my prayers 🙂

  50. Sonya

    Glad you are ok! That is just scary. My husband had a migraine in the spring of his first year teaching. He was slurring speech and seeing spots. It was the one and only time it ever happened to him, but it was so crazy. Hope this is a one time experience for you too!

  51. NS

    What a terrifying experience for you and your family. Take it easy Katie, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  52. jenny-bird

    How scary! I’m glad everything turned out well in the end!

  53. Sandy

    OK, we covered shaving our legs and clean underwear…let’s not forget a decent bra! We have all seen how they cut the tops off of women on TV when they are trying to save your life…bras to the world! All I can think about is if it were me laying there, frayed straps and busted elastic, the EMT personnel would be looking at one another shaking their heads saying, “You would think she would invest in a good bra!”

    I am glad you are OK…hairy legs and all!

    1. I’m right there with you! Doubt anyone in emergency medicine would put that much thought into it but I seriously need some decent bras…; )

  54. Wow, talk about starting your day as any other day and boom! I am so glad to read you are doing fine. Your family really go by the textbook of what family means. Take care, and next time you feel dizzy go to and consult with the nurse!

  55. Kerry

    Ok, I have read your blog forever but never commented. You and your family always remind me of my own crazy world. I know you are sick of hearing it but…. I had a TIA when I was 27 years old and they attributed it to being on birth control (which can cause clots/ strokes). If you are on birth control, might be worth exploring which I’m sure you already did! So gald you are ok and God surely took care of you!

  56. Yikes! Scary stuff (to put it lightly). I’m very happy to hear you are doing better now. Prayers have been said for you and your family.

  57. That is so scary! I hope you are ok and that everything is getting back to normal. Strange enough – my mom used to always say to make sure I shaved my legs because what if I had to ride in an ambulance and my legs were unshaven. It was funny to read your blog and see the same thought process – although my nurse/EMT friends all say that they don’t even notice things like that and unshaven legs is nothing compared to some of the other things they see. Feel better!!! I’ll be thinking/praying for you!

  58. Erin

    My dad suffered a TIA last yr at this time & then went on to have 2 strokes in a month. It is scary for everyone

  59. Sara M

    The title of this post made me laugh…but first, so glad you are ok. How scary. When I was pregnant with my 3rd, I had to go on unexpected hospital bedrest. I hadn’t shaved my legs or my bikini line in a while (winter time!). After a week, I made my husband do both for me!!! I felt so much better afterwards! 🙂

  60. Meg

    Oh, my goodness.
    I have no right to ask this, since I’m just a reader, but Please don’t wait next time.
    I’m a teacher, too, so I totally understand the compulsion to just keep going and not bother people, but, truly-Praise God you weren’t having an actual stroke or something similar.
    Prayers and hugs to you!

  61. Sarah P Liz

    I’m so glad you are ok. You are the 3rd young woman I know to recently have a stroke, or something like it, and my husband’s ultra-healthy vegetarian crossfitting best friend had a dissected carotid and almost stroked. We are all about the same age. This is very scary. I’m glad you made it through relatively unscathed.

  62. Michelle, mom of henry (4) and daisy (just 3!)

    Katie- thank you for sharing this. As a mom of kids the same age as yours, I feel like sharing experience like this helps us all. I am filing this in my brain to know what a TIA is and could look like if anyone experiences it. Knowledge is power and you are very kind and brave sharing on your blog. I’m so glad you are okay and what an awesome family you have (go Ginny!). Thinking and praying for you and knowing you’ll be just fine…you are a fighter!!!

  63. Prayers for you and your family. As a longgg time reader, you do worry about your imaginary friends. 🙂 I pray that you continue in perfect health.

  64. I’ve been reading you since before you had “Bean” and I’m sorry to say I don’t visit as often as I once did – however, I’m happy I remembered to check in on you today, especially since you’ve suffered this health scare. Just want you to know that I’m thinking of you and wishing you all good things!

    Do whatever they tell you to do to get and continue to be well!

    xo

  65. Tay

    Something similar recently happened with my mother in law. Luckily, all turned out well for both of you. It is scary. She later found out that she had a genetic abnormality causing her problems. I guess it’s always better to have it happen when you’re able to get help safely. We were kind of glad it happened in case we have kids one day because we will know better what to do.

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