Health + Wellness

Celebrity Photographer Learned to Shoot With One Hand Following Stroke

Photo by Bob Jimenez

The way freelance photographer Donna Dymally sees it, snapping pictures imparts important life lessons.

“Focus on what’s important, and if you don’t like the shot, take another one,” she says. “We develop from the negative, just like a photo.”

That attitude helped Dymally recover from a stroke at age 58.

She woke up that morning feeling sluggish and with a slight headache. She had a flight to catch, so she took pain medicine and made her way to the airport for a business trip.

As the plane took off, she felt an odd sensation on the left side of her body. Unsure of what to do, she prayed for guidance and fell into a deep sleep. She awoke when the plane landed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where she had a connecting flight to Birmingham, Alabama.

As Dymally walked through the airport, she grew increasingly sure something was wrong. Her eyesight was blurry, her entire body hurt and she could only walk slowly.

“I felt like an explosion had erupted in my head,” she shares.

She told a colleague who was on her flight what was happening and promised to go to the emergency room when she arrived in Birmingham. A doctor overheard their conversation. He not only recommended she skip her next flight, he insisted on calling 911.

“He said that if I had experienced a stroke, I might not survive the flight,” she adds.

An MRI showed a clot obstructed one of the vessels supplying blood to her brain. This is an ischemic stroke. Doctors told her it was a miracle she lived through the flight.

Dymally said an uncle had also survived a stroke, and her grandmother died after having one. In addition, she had

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