A 55-year-old carer who did not realise she was having a stroke is raising awareness to how signs of the medical condition can vary from person to person.

Julie Lomax, from Radcliffe, a full-time carer for her 22-year-old daughter Romany, has shared her story after her "life changed in a heartbeat" following an ischemic stroke.

Having lived with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, Julie said that during the stroke she did not look or feel different and believed that her left sided weakness was related to her underlying medical conditions.

Julie said: “On May 26,  I had been out shopping with my daughter and a family friend. As we got back into the car, the left side of my cheek and my tongue felt like I had pins and needles.

Bury Times: Julie Lomax and Romany Lomax

“This passed as quickly as it came on and raised no alarm bells. We went home and everything was fine.

“On June 1, I woke up and I couldn't tie the cord on my dressing gown properly.

“Later that morning my daughter and the dog were in the front room when the dog jumped up at me and pulled an earring out.

“I went to put it back in and couldn’t use my hand, just started to cry and then the panic set in.

“I lost full control of my left arm and hand and at this point.

"I still didn't believe that this was a stroke as I have underlying health conditions, I knew that something didn’t feel right, but this wasn’t a stroke to me.”

Bury Times: Julie Lomax

After calling 111 for advice an ambulance was sent and a F.A.S.T test, (Face, Arms, Speech, Time), used to diagnose the signs of a stroke, was carried out.

No concerns were highlighted but Julie requested to be taken to A&E for a check-up.

She said: “I didn't look or feel different other than left sided weakness and after a couple of hours I was told I could go home, but had to wait to be discharged.

“Unfortunately, this quickly turned to me being admitted to an acute medical conditions ward for further investigation, lots of CT and MRI scans, then it was found that I did have a stroke.

Bury Times: Julie Lomax after surgery

“After a couple of days I was sent for a doppler scan of my neck then I was told they had found the clot on the right side main artery on my neck.”

After the discovery, she was rushed to the Royal Oldham Hospital for vascular surgery, a lifesaving operation also known as a carotid endarterectomy.

She said: “If you experience anything different from your 'normal’, listen to your body no matter how big or small because if I hadn't have done this could have turned out very differently and I may not have been able to tell my story.”

After surgery and returning home, Julie said she "felt lost" and no one had been to catch up with with her or update her on her condition

As a result, she contacted the Stroke Association, which set in motion meetings with nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and a cardiologist.

She has had to have her housed adapted.

She added that she still struggles sometimes with her speech but is using cutlery better than she was.

The stroke has caused a slight brain injury and Julie is having to walk with a stick but she said that "luckily" it does not affect her day to day living.