Story of Stroke Recovery: Annette McHenryPatient Experience
by John Weidner | May 22, 2015
Annette McHenry raced up from Jacksonville to Amelia Island when her daughter Nicole called from the ER. As fate would have it, Nicole’s injury may have actually saved her mom’s life.
Although Nicole was released from the hospital that evening, Annette decided to spend the weekend with her to help around the house. Hours later, Nicole started seeing problems with Annette’s health and the next day, she was the one taking her mom to the ER.
It took a few weeks to confirm the worst. Annette was diagnosed with uterine cancer. “I couldn’t believe it. I just fell to the floor and cried. I couldn’t help it,” said Annette. Unfortunately this was only the beginning of the health challenges she would have to endure over the next year.
At the age of 62, this mother and grandmother had never even had a surgery before. She underwent a hysterectomy to remove the cancer and determine if it had spread beyond her uterus. Hours after having the hysterectomy, Annette had a stroke that paralyzed her left side.
For days, Annette tried to figure out what she could have done wrong in her life to deserve all of this. Her physician was concerned about her depressed state and prescribed an anti-depressant. The next day, Annette was emotionally doing much better. But she knew she didn’t want to rely on medication. She had to change her own mindset. She looked herself in the mirror and said “Annette, you can do this. You put a smile on your face and you keep going.”
During her time at Brooks, it was difficult to concentrate on the physical limitations from her stroke. The impending chemotherapy was weighing heavily on her mind. But she pushed her body as hard as she could. She focused on her recovery, one day at a time, which really had an impact on her progress. She was even frequently seen comforting other patients.
She promised that she would be walking and moving her arm by the time she completed her chemotherapy. And she kept her word.
Through it all, Annette has relied on her faith and her family. They were always right by her side in therapy or at many doctor appointments. “It takes medicine, prayer and family to get through something like this and I’ve been blessed with all three,” Annette says.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. To learn more about our comprehensive stroke recovery services, please visit our Stroke Page.