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Two-time stroke survivor shares her story for Stroke Month

Marilyn Roseboro

Two-time stroke survivor shares her story for Stroke Month
May 11
15:32 2022

By: Aine Concepcion, American Heart Association

“During choir rehearsal at First Waughtown Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, I had been feeling some tingling, but I didn’t know what that meant. I really did not know the signs of a stroke, other than maybe twisting of the mouth or sometimes, not being able to speak, or having slurred speech,” said Marilyn Roseboro. “My mother had suffered three strokes before she passed, but the only symptom she noticed was that her leg felt like it was asleep. My symptoms were completely different. 

“Fortunately, Mrs. Mary Carter, a fellow choir member who was standing next to me, noticed that my face was drooping and made sure that 911 was called. I thankfully got to the hospital in time so that most of the major damage was averted,” shared Marilyn.

Her stroke was caused by a blood clot and she was prescribed blood thinners. “I took my medication as prescribed, but four years later, I was preparing for a medical procedure that required me to come off the blood thinners,” remembered Marilyn. 

“In June 2016, I came off my blood thinner for two days. I had the procedure in the morning and my second stroke in the afternoon,” shared Marilyn.

“I was eating, or so I thought, and I realized I put food in my mouth with my right hand, but I wasn’t chewing anything. I looked down and saw that the food had actually fallen out of my mouth. I thought, ‘Okay, clean this up – I don’t know what’s going on, but clean this up’ and that’s when I realized that my left hand didn’t work at all. I should have called 911, but I called a neighbor, Mrs. Deborah Washington, and told her something was wrong. I didn’t know what it was, but I needed her to take me to the hospital. By the time she rushed over, my speech was slurring,” recalled Marilyn.

“I got to the hospital again in record time, and I was able to get treated,” said Marilyn. 

Marilyn believes herself to be blessed that there are so many things she can still do. “I consider myself kind of differently-abled now. There are things that I used to do that I have to do differently now,” shared Marilyn. Although people often tell her they can’t tell she has suffered strokes, she recognizes challenges that make it more difficult for her to do some of the things she used to do, like remembering things, recalling words, and using fine motor skills. 

After suffering both strokes, Marilyn relies on her faith in God and the education and awareness she learned about the facts regarding the impact of heart disease and stroke among African Americans. 

African American women are actually twice as likely to have a stroke. Black women are also more likely to experience more severe strokes or suffer repeat strokes. Such is the case with Ms. Marilyn Roseboro, a very blessed two-time stroke survivor. 

Marilyn is a Winston-Salem State University alumna and retiree who is a proud and diligent heart disease advocate. She serves as an American Heart Association Red Dress Tea Church Leader for First Waughtown Baptist Church. Leading by example, Marilyn helps facilitate events that educate her church members and community members regarding the impact of heart disease and stroke. 

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and Marilyn encourages everyone to learn the warning signs of a stroke: F.A.S.T. – F- face drooping, A- arm weakness, S – speech difficulties like slurring or confusion while speaking, and T – time to call 9-1-1. 

Marilyn Roseboro is a 2022 Forsyth Go Red Woman, sharing her story in our community to help other women prevent stroke. Novant Health is proud to be the American Heart Association’s “Life is Why” and “Go Red for Women” sponsor in Forsyth County, celebrating, supporting and encouraging women to put their health first wherever they may be in their journey. 

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