In July, 2012, I was at church and we had just finished communion. I was walking back to my seat and walked by my husband and said “I don’t feel too good”. He told me to sit down for a minute. I satLePetitStudio- down and not even five minutes later, my left leg started to feel numb. When my husband turned around and looked at me, I said “I can’t feel my left leg”.  Then I really didn’t know what was going on. I was told that my second mother was holding my head from the row behind me. My husband had called 911 and they were in their way. I was transported to the hospital where they were waiting for me.  I remember only being able to look around the room slowly and people all around me. My husband told me the neurologist told him he had to make a decision for them to administer a type of medication that could benefit me but there was a chance it wouldn’t. She then told him I had a major stroke.  The neurologist also told my mom to call my twin and get him to the hospital because I was going to need him.  When I woke up I was in the ICU. My speech was slow and I couldn’t feel anything on my whole left side.  I was there for several days and then transferred to Gaylord hospital.  At Gaylord I wasn’t able to bathe myself or walk. They put me on a healthy meal plan and I went to physical therapy after a couple of days. I also had speech therapy and sessions with other stroke patients.  Throughout my stay, I received a lot of support from my family and friends including my co-workers, my Bishop and Co-Pastor and even my hairdresser! Unfortunately, it was overwhelming for me to be with people, not being able to talk clearly to them. My husband was there with me every day and slept there every night. He was my greatest supporter. My mom and sister visited every day / I received so much strength from the them both just by seeing them. My twin surprised me on several occasions coming down from Albany and took me to therapy and spent the entire day with through my sessions.

Before I could leave Gaylord the last thing I had I do was learn how to walk up and down the stairs. I think that was one of the hardest things to do – I was so scared. But I did it. Finally, I was home! My sister-in-law moved into my house and took care of my house and children! What a blessing!!! The love that was shared was amazing and indescribable. And even with all of that support, I felt helpless and less of a woman. I remember nights I cried to my husband and apologized for not being the woman he married. He looked at me and told me “we got this – we got this – I love you”.

This journey has been a long one yet an experience that has blessed my life. I have a different outlook on life now. I still have moments here and there (anxiety attacks, afraid to be alone at times, head pains – some minor some major) but I’m still thankful to God that I made it. A lot that went on thatBarbara_bw day in July of 2012, had to be told to me. To this day, I’m still learning about things that went on during that time.   But most of all, I am grateful for all those in my life that helped me get through my experience.

A special thank you to Christine Petit of Le Petit Studio for taking photos of the Hoffman Go Red Gallery women. www.PetitPics.com

Click here to read the original post by American Heart Association. Visit their website to learn how you can get involved and make a difference.

Someone has a stroke every 40 seconds in the U.S., but 80% of strokes are preventable and stroke is largely treatable. Knowing your risk factors, the warning signs and how to respond during a stroke could save a life. Together, let’s end stroke!

#GoRedCT