Whether it was intuition or persistence, one could argue it saved Larry Mardock’s life. In June 2015, Larry, then age 60, had been working long days at the commercial/residential paving company he started 28 years ago, and took a quiet Sunday to log some extra hours. “I went to work for a while and came home feeling more tired than usual,” Larry says. He closed his eyes for a nap and describes feeling an odd dream-like sensation when he woke up — a sensation that affected his speech. He was unable to respond to his wife Amy when she asked if he was okay. When she asked him what her name was, his response was garbled. “She thought I was joking,” he says. Then, realizing the gravity of the situation, Amy drove her husband immediately to the emergency room.

After a series of tests completed over a few days, Larry, who had suffered a heart attack in 2001 and had Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, says he was released from the hospital with a diagnosis of transient ischemic stroke. At home, a strong feeling nagged at him to seek further consult. He made an appointment to see neurologist Dr. Harmeet Sachdev, with whom he had a medical history. “Dr. Sachdev immediately recognized my signs as a stroke. It was confirmation on what I already felt,” Larry says. Additionally, Larry’s carotid and middle cerebral arteries were nearly entirely blocked. He was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital, one of four Comprehensive Stroke Centers (CSC) in Silicon Valley certified to treat complex stroke cases, where neurointerventional surgeon Dr. Reza Malek performed emergency surgery to insert a carotid stent. After four days in ICU, Larry was released with minor deficits to a week of in-patient rehabilitation at Mission Oaks. “It was eye opening,” he says of seeing first-hand stroke’s devastating potential. “It made me very thankful that I was spared that fate.”

In Larry’s case, prompt medical attention coupled with his inner voice bore optimum outcome. “You’ve got to be your own advocate,” he says. “I have a full life. All of that could have been taken away.” Today, Larry continues to operate his business and he is working on maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program.