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Stroke Survivor - Terrance

“ It’s no coincidence that I ended up at Adventist Health Bakersfield – that place was a Godsend for me. ”

If you’re 44 years old, workout four times a week, eat reasonably healthy and referee college basketball for fun, you’re not supposed to have a stroke.

That’s what Terrance Minnoy used to think too – until he ended up on his bedroom floor, trapped in a body that couldn’t get to his cell phone lying just a few feet away.

On February 9, 2015, Terrance – a Bakersfield, Calif. resident – was in Los Angeles for a quick work trip. After a long day, he decided to meet up with a friend for dinner at a nearby mall. As they casually cruised through the stores, Terrance was suddenly stopped in his tracks by an instantaneous vision problem.

“I realized pretty quickly that my vision wasn’t normal,” he said. “I just tried to ignore it and figured I would sleep it off.”

But the next day wasn’t better. At this point, Terrance decided he needed to get back to Bakersfield as quickly as possible to see his eye doctor. He made the trip back home without incident and went straight to the optometrist’s office.

“The doctor did a full exam and told me that my eyes were structurally fine,” Terrance said. “He said it might be a problem with my brain and suggested that I get a CT scan or MRI in the next couple of days.”

But Terrance didn’t have a couple of days.

That night, while watching TV, he realized that something was terribly wrong.

“Tingles went through my entire body, the room began spinning and I quickly realized that I couldn’t stand up out of bed. By now, I figured I was having a stroke,” Terrance said. “I ended up on the floor, trying to crawl over to my phone – but I wasn’t able to get there.”

Providentially – that’s how Terrance describes it in retrospect – his 26-year-old son had recently moved back in with him. He didn’t know if he was home, but managed to yell for him three times. On the third cry, his son burst into the room and seeing his father called 9-1-1.

The EMT’s quickly arrived and told Terrance they were taking him to Adventist Health Bakersfield – home to Kern County’s most experienced stroke team. For Terrance, the experience was nothing short of top-notch.

“When I arrived, they whisked me through the emergency room. In less than a minute, a physician began taking care of me. I was impressed with how seamless the care was throughout the entire process.”

Terrance did indeed have a stroke. And remember that vision problem in Los Angeles? That turned out to be a mini-stroke. He spent eight days at Adventist Health Bakersfield, finally being discharged to a long-term stroke care facility. Just 12 short weeks later, he’s nearly back to 100 percent. However, without any of the normal risk factors, exactly what led to his stroke is still a mystery.

Terrance Minnoy and daughter“I used to joke with my friends that you can be in good shape and still fall over dead,” Terrance joked. “Maybe one day we’ll figure out what caused it. Considering all that happened, I’m very fortunate to be here.”

It’d be easy to raise an eyebrow at Terrance’s own words. Fortunate? Really? Strokes aren’t supposed to happen to a healthy workout warrior like Terrance. But from the beginning, Terrance chose to focus on the positive, or what some might call the miraculous. What if the stroke had occurred while driving home from Los Angeles? Or if his son hadn’t moved back in?

“Having a good attitude is really easy when things are going well, but what happens when life throws you a curveball? When you’re down, you’ve still got to be positive. No matter what you’re going through, every moment is an opportunity.”

He also considers himself blessed to end up at the right place – a medical center where faith and medicine meet.

“When I realized I was having a stroke, the first thing I did was pray,” Terrance said. “It’s no coincidence that I ended up at Adventist Health Bakersfield – that place was a Godsend for me. I would recommend [Adventist Health Bakersfield] for all health care needs…stroke, heart attack, broken leg, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”