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MONDAY, MAY 21, 2007

Baxley upbeat, thankful 6 months after stroke

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Six months after a stroke, former Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley is struggling to regain use of her left side. But she’s recovered enough to get back into the real estate business and to realize that her “We Love Lucy” campaign signs weren’t just a gimmick.

“What did I do to deserve this?” Baxley asks with tears.

She’s not talking about her stroke. She’s talking about the outpouring of support — the boxes of get well cards, the flower arrangements that wouldn’t all fit in her hospital room, and the prayers of thousands of Alabamians — that she says have helped her through the most difficult period in her life.

Baxley still goes to therapy sessions three to four days a week. She is walking slowly at home with a cane, but she uses a wheelchair in public for safety reasons.

Her left arm has not recovered as much as her left leg, and she moves it with her right hand.

For Baxley, the hardest part of the stroke has not been the effect on her body. It’s been the change in her rapid pace of life.

Her husband said she gets frustrated that her recovery isn’t going faster, but her doctors remind her that her recovery pace is about average.

Baxley’s stroke did not affect her mind or her outgoing personality. She still likes to crack jokes about herself. But now her therapy is thrown in for good measure.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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