It was Sunday evening and Connie had felt funny all day. “My hand was numb and I kept shaking it to make it feel better,” she said. She knew something was still wrong when she went to her job as an elementary school cafeteria manager the next morning.
“I just felt awful, I had trouble walking and even signing my name,” she recalled. That night she woke up at 3 a.m. unable
to stand. She called for her son Ryan who rushed her to the hospital. There Connie learned she had a stroke.
“I was in shock. I could not believe I actually had a stroke,” said Connie. Because the stroke caused paralysis on her right side Connie was admitted to Roper Rehabilitation Hospital.
“I told them on the Rehab floor from day one that I may have ridden in here in a wheelchair, but I’m going to walk out. I’m going to get past this,” said Connie.
The therapists helped her regain the use of her arm and leg. They also talked with her about a healthier lifestyle. “One of the therapists took me to Publix where we looked at labels and talked about making good choices. But, the thing is, I’ve worked in nutrition. So I knew what to do, but I wasn’t doing it,” she said.
Today, Connie wants to help educate others about the risks of stroke. “I want to be a stroke counselor. I want to speak to the community. In the African American community the stroke rate is so high. If you go to a church function or party, we’ve got all of this food that none of us need to eat and it’s killing us. I want people to see how far I have come. It may have happened to me today, but it could be you tomorrow,” Connie said.