“Then, when I was at school preparing paperwork for a standardized test, the room began to spin. I thought I was speaking, but nothing was coming out of my mouth,” she said.
Latarsha was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with a left mid-brain ischemic stroke caused by a blockage in a blood vessel that supplies the brain.
“I was shocked. To me, a stroke happened to older Caucasian men, not to a 41-year-old African American woman,” she explained.
Fortunately, Latarsha fully recovered, but she did not make the recommended lifestyle changes or take the medication her doctor prescribed. Two years later, she had another stroke.
“Looking back on it, it all makes sense – it was clear that my weight, stress, grief at two deaths in my family, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices were contributing to my poor health,” she said. “I had so many warning signs but I ignored them and just kept going.”
Latarsha then took charge of her life. Today, seven years after her first stroke, she maintains a healthy and active lifestyle, walking at least five times a week and eating more colorful foods. She relocated to Florida, where she lives with the youngest of her three children, 17-year-old Kara, and teaches reading at an elementary school.