A mother suffered what doctors fear was a stroke that has left her struggling to walk after she woke up from a quiet birthday night out on holiday.
Elizabeth Frost, 49, thought the heat on a week-long break to Lanzarote with her friend Lisa Coles was to blame for her persistent headaches.
The RAF secretary chose to have an early night before her birthday on July 3. However, things took a turn for the worse when she woke up.
Ms Frost, from Mildenhall in Suffolk, was unable to close her left eye and her left side went completely numb, causing her to collapse.
Holidaymakers raced to her side and staff phoned for an ambulance, which rushed Ms Frost, who was unable to move, speak or see, to hospital.
She has now recovered from her ordeal which left her paralysed on her left side. Ms Frost, however, claims she still struggles to see out of her left eye and her mouth has drooped to one side, while she also needs a walking stick to get around.
Doctors haven’t confirmed a stroke caused her life-changing ordeal - but allegedly believe it was the most likely cause.
Elizabeth Frost, 49, thought the heat on a week-long break to Lanzarote with her friend Lisa Coles was to blame for her persistent headaches (pictured before her ordeal)
Recalling her ordeal, she said: 'We'd been shopping in Playa Blanca that day, and although I'd had a nap before dinner, I felt out of sorts in the restaurant.
'I get tired in the heat whenever I'm in the Canary Islands so I just put it down to that and tried to get an early night.
'When the pain started in my head, I just assumed it was a headache coming so took some ibuprofen and went back to sleep.
'I could barely sleep because of this niggling pain behind my ear, and when I woke up the next day, I just didn't feel right.
'I went out to Lisa on the balcony and tried to talk to her but she said my right eye was blinking and the left eye wasn't.’
Ms Frost added: 'I suddenly felt my left side go numb and as I started to collapse, everything went black.
The RAF secretary chose to have an early night before her birthday on July 3. However, things took a turn for the worse when she woke up (pictured at home using a walker)
WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS OF A MINI-STROKE?
A transient ischemic attack (or, TIA) involves a temporary lack of blood flow to the brain, which causes momentary dizziness, confusion, tingling, and numbness in the arms.
You should call 911 if you suspect you are suffering a TIA.
'It's scary not knowing exactly what happened or why it happened because now I'm so terrified that it could happen again.'
Ms Frost, a single mother, began to feel unwell when she and her friend ate dinner in a local restaurant on July 2.
After an early night, she woke up in the San Francisco II Apartments in Puerto del Carmen, and collapsed on the balcony.
With Ms Frost unable to move or speak, it was down to Lisa to find her friend's passport so that she could receive the medical assistance.
The journey to Arrecife General Hospital remains a blur for Ms Frost, who travelled alone in the ambulance. She said: 'I was terrified, I thought I was dying.
'I couldn't move, speak or even see. All I could hear was the ambulance crew speaking Spanish all around me, but I had no idea what was being said.’
Ms Frost added: 'I don't know any Spanish so nobody could tell me what was happening - it was horrendous.'
A CT scan led doctors to believe that Lisa had suffered a transient ischemic attack affecting the left side of her brain, leaving her left side paralysed.
Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) are commonly known as 'mini strokes' and occur when there is a temporary disruption to the blood supply to an area of the brain.
She has now recovered from her ordeal which left her paralysed on her left side. Doctors haven’t confirmed a stroke caused her life-changing ordeal - but allegedly believe it was the most likely cause. She is pictured recently, left, and in hospital in Spain, right
People who experience a TIA can be left temporarily with problems with vision, speaking and moving their body, particularly on the same side as blood supply was cut off.
Ms Frost said: 'I can hardly remember anything that happened on my birthday. My brain was so scrambled and I just couldn't process what they were saying had happened to me.
'I couldn't do anything with the left side of my body. The left side of my mouth had dropped so much that I couldn't form any words so asking questions was impossible.
'That night, doctors had to stick down my left eyelid with a plaster so I could sleep as I couldn't shut my left eye. It was awful.'
She wasn’t allowed to fly back to the UK on her booked flight on July 5, and after a tearful goodbye with Ms Coles, she was left on her own.
After an MRI test and a lumbar puncture, doctors still couldn't determine what exactly had happened, but slowly, her mobility started to return.
She wasn’t allowed to fly back to the UK on her booked flight on July 5, and after a tearful goodbye with Ms Coles, she was left on her own
Ms Frost is pictured with her friend, Lisa Coles, while on holiday in Lanzarote
Ms Frost finally landed on home soil in Stansted Airport on July 18 – 16 days after she was first rushed to hospital
Using an assisted walker, Ms Frost was able to take her first steps on July 7, but her face remained paralysed and she struggled to get to grips with her change in appearance.
She said: 'I felt like a baby giraffe. I was extremely unsteady on my feet, and my left leg felt really heavy like it was made out of lead.
'I remember holding myself up on the sink in the wet room, trying to drain toothpaste out of my mouth because I couldn't spit.
'I looked in the mirror at my drooped face and sobbed through my one working eye. That's when the reality of what had happened hit me.
‘I knew I had to take matters into my own hands and push myself to get better to fly home. My independence had been taken away, and I was determined to get it back.'
Motivated to return home, Ms Frost worked hard to get back on her feet, and on July 11, she was discharged from Arrecife General Hospital.
She had to remain in the Canary Islands until her insurance came through for another flight home, but thankfully could stay at a friend's parent's house in Lanzarote.
Ms Frost finally landed on home soil in Stansted Airport on July 18 – 16 days after she was first rushed to hospital.
She is recovering, using a walking stick to get around, but her face is still partially paralysed, and the left side of her mouth has dropped.
Her speech has improved but still not back to normal, she struggles to open and close her left eye, and hasn't been able to go back to work.
Doctors have also suggested she has Bell's palsy - a form of facial paralysis that can result from a stroke that can be temporary.
Ms Frost, who lives with her son Aiden, 29, and his girlfriend Kiri, 28, said: 'Everytime I feel poorly, I'm going to have that fear in the back of my head that this could be happening again.
'Right now, I'm just happy to be home and trying to stay positive.
'My son Aiden and his girlfriend Kiri have been amazing at helping me around the house and ferrying me back and forth to the hospital.
'I've even booked to go back to Lanzarote in September 2019 to try and do my birthday again - hopefully, it'll be better this time round.'