Defying the odds: Ottawa woman walks again after stroke left her paralyzed
OTTAWA -- Sophie Leblond Robert beat the odds and survived a rare illness that left her completely paralyzed one year ago and, through courage and perseverance, she is recovering, one step at a time, with the help of family and friends.
Every day, Leblond Robert can walk a little farther, talk a little louder, and laugh a little more.
“You work at it everyday and every day changes and you get stronger and stronger,” says Leblond Robert. “It was hard at first being at home and trying to do the typical mommy things like laundry. Well, I couldn’t do it.”
The 36-year-old mother of two suffered a stoke last June when gardening in the yard. She was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with Locked-In Syndrome; a condition in which she is aware of her surroundings, but cannot move or communicate because nearly all of her muscles are paralyzed.
“I was quite scared to be honest,” says Leblond Robert. “It was a one per cent chance I think the doctor told my family twice that they had to come and say goodbye.”
Leblond Robert defied the odds, saying she doesn’t have the patience to stay still. Her first word; ‘hello’, came in August; first steps, in October; and, after more than five months in the hospital ICU and rehabilitation ward, she was able to leave in early December, keeping a promise to her children, eight-year-old Zoé and four-year-old Izzy, that she would be home for Christmas.
“I had the greatest physiotherapist, Andrea, and that made the world of a difference,” she says. “Having my mom and husband there everyday is what got me through it.”
Throughout her hospital stay, her husband Martin and parents Suzanne and Isidore were by her side.
“It’s given us a new view on life,” says Martin. “It doesn’t take much nowadays to make any kind of influence on our lives. I mean, any little thing the kids do, you really want to make sure that they recognize that you noticed what they did because you might miss it. Life can go by in a flash and that’s helped us realize that as well.”
Leblond Robert continues to recover. While she can walk and speak quietly, the left side of her body still feels numb and drinking fluids can be a challenge; however, the progress over the course of a year has been remarkable and she has plans for the future.
“I want to drive, I want to walk normal, and I want to wear nice shoes. I tried on a dress yesterday and I couldn't put on heals,” laughs Leblond Robert.
She wants to share her story in the hope that others who are faced with adversity never lose faith, remain resilient and make everyday count.
Leblond Robert says the support of family, friends and her community throughout her recovery, has been overwhelming and keep her positive.
“I haven’t hit that sad phase,” says Leblond Robert. “Thank you. I wouldn’t be here without you guys definitely the support has been amazing.”