Life as I knew it stopped on April 15, 1994. Before that day, my husband and I had lived fast-paced lives. For 24 years, Tony's sales jobs took us all over the country—from selling cameras to the White House and National Geographic in Washington, D.C., to putting on Press Photographers' shows in California.
We traveled on our frequent flyer miles, visited wonderful friends everywhere, and had a great marriage.
We bought a beautiful horse farm in north central Florida in 1985 where we bred Arabian horses and boarded other people's horses. I loved it. On our weekends together, Tony and I worked on projects we both enjoyed. On Saturday nights, we'd have friends over for a cookout—and Tony was always the king of the barbeque.
But then came the morning we were having a bowl of cereal and reading the paper together when Tony gave a slight cough.
I looked up and saw him sitting and staring into space. His tipped cereal bowl was spilling milk onto the sofa and under his leg.
"Tony, are you all right?" I asked.
After a long pause, he responded slowly with a quiet "Yes."
I wasn't convinced. Moments later, I noticed Tony standing in a daze, with the left side of his face drooping, his mouth turned down on one side.
I knew he'd had a stroke.
As I called an ambulance, Tony kept crashing to the floor every time he tried to stand. I convinced him to stay on the floor until the paramedics arrived.
Tony spent the next eight days in ICU, flat on his back, until they found the source of the stroke. Then he was sent to a rehabilitation hospital for therapy.