Marcia Mendez

At age 36, Marcia Mendez moved to El Paso from Arizona with her husband and their two young daughters. Pregnant with their third daughter, Marcia graduated from cosmetology school ready to start her career as an esthetician. At 33 weeks pregnant, the unthinkable happened: Marcia suffered a stroke. She underwent an emergency c-section to deliver her baby girl safely.

Marcia spent the next month in the hospital before transferring to Highlands Rehabilitation Hospital. When she first started her recovery journey at Highlands, Marcia faced many obstacles. She was battling her weakness from extended hospitalization, a wound infection, blurriness, headaches, and was diagnosed with COVID-19.

In need of intensive rehabilitation, Marcia began therapy right away, including physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Due to the pandemic, she was unable to see any visitors. Marcia had a baby girl at home that she had not held or even remembered meeting. Feeding off the desire to return to her family, she worked hard daily to reach her goals.

While at Highlands, Marcia made great progress. By the time she discharged home, Marcia was able to walk with a walker, speak well, and could take care of some of her activities of daily living. When asked what her goal was, her answer was very simple, “I just want to be able to go home and take care of my children!”

Marcia continued her recovery with the outpatient department at Highlands, where she became stronger every day. Her tenacity inspired the whole staff. Marcia focused on her goals and got back to independent living. She plans on spending her time with her family as she continues to recover and looks forward to enjoying life again.