For those who have driven around Pittsfield over the years, you would likely see Lindsay Hermanski, a staple of the Berkshire Humane Society, walking her dogs from one side of the city to the other.

And then one day, everything changed in a surprising way.

Back in November, Hermanski was experiencing flu-like symptoms. With this winter being one of the worst in recent memory as it relates to the flu, everyone seemed to chalk it up to that. After several days of discomfort, Lindsay overcame her self-proclaimed stubbornness and went to the hospital. It's a good thing she did as she was quickly diagnosed with a brain bleed, which is a type of stroke.

“I really have to thank my sister Ashley because I was being really stubborn and I didn’t want to go to the hospital,” Hermanski said on Facebook Live with Slater & Marjo on Thursday. “It started off as an equilibrium issue and flu-like symptoms. So everybody told me, ‘Yeah, you definitely have the flu.’ I had never had the flu before.

“I live very healthy,” Hermanski continued. “I ate salads every day, walked five miles with my girls (dogs). And I was just being stubborn, had the flu symptoms, chills and it was all flu, flu, flu. Thank god for my sister Ashley, that Saturday she told me, ‘You’re going (to the hospital)’ and thank god for everyone at BMC for, quickly, diagnosing me, knowing what it was, taking me up to Bay State that day.”

Hermanski is very active at the Berkshire Humane Society and in general, so you can imagine how difficult it was for her to have to lay in a hospital bed during recovery. On top of that, she was unable to do a lot of things that we, as humans, take for granted.

“I was at Bay State for about two weeks, which was probably the worst part, to be honest, because I went downhill fast,” Hermanski explained. “The first time I walked was January 13, so it was almost two months. I just had to lay in bed and really couldn’t do anything; couldn’t even talk. For me, being a talker, being a fast-paced person, it was very frustrating.”

Here is Lindsay walking for the first time at the hospital:

The community, as it seems to always do for people who need it, came through in a big way. In late January, a pancake breakfast took place at Sugar Bush Farm and raised over $7,000 to help with Lindsay's medical expenses.

That support gave Lindsay a lot of strength to bounce back, which she did in a very quick fashion. After being hospitalized on Nov. 25, 2017, Hermanski walked on her own out of the hospital on Valentine's Day to continue on the road to recovery. With this experience, Hermanski has more realization that life is short and sweating the small stuff is just not worth it as she brings an even fresher perspective to her everyday life. In other words, it has changed her.

“For sure,” she said. “I had to re-learn how to swallow so I could then talk again and eat. To think my brain wanted my tongue to move but I just couldn’t do it was so frustrating. The simple things in life I’m enjoying. The small things, I’m just brushing away because it could be worse. I love that I have social media for work purposes, but I almost want to stay off it because of people complaining. I just want to tell them, ‘You have no idea how grateful you should be that you can walk every day.’

"Where my brain bleed was, it really threw off my balance. I joke around that one day I’ll get in trouble for being ‘drunk in public’, but something as simple as me looking up, turning my head, closing my eyes will completely throw off my balance.”

After a little over a week removed from leaving the hospital, Hermanski joined John Perrault in the Live 95.9 studio on Thursday morning for the weekly "Pet of the Week" segment and had an aura about her like nothing bad even happened. She was bracing herself because of balance issues due to her diagnosis, but all in all, it was the same old Lindsay. It was incredibly inspiring to see considering how bad things had gotten for her.

“It’s crazy what I went through,” Hermanski stated. “I’m very thankful I came back as quick as I did. I went to some support groups, people came and visited me in my room, and some people can’t even move their limbs. I’m thankful that my only deficit is my nerve pain that’s going through my hands and up my arms.

“I’m so glad to be back and alive. There were some points at Bay State where I thought I was going to see the white light,” she continued. “It was that scary. Thank God the doctors were quick enough to catch that I couldn’t breathe. It’s just scary to thing that something that started off as just a cold, turned into something that came very close to ending my life.”

Hermanski feels totally free to tell her story because of the appreciation it provided to her life. As bad as things can get sometimes, you begin to realize just how many people actually care. For Lindsay Hermanski, that support system, from many different forms, truly helped her through the difficult times and she will always be grateful for that.

“I can’t thank my family enough,” Hermanski said. “My parents, everybody, my BHS family who came and visited, all of my friends. It was amazing how the community pulled through for me. Everyone's thoughts and prayers, honestly, got me through everything. My grandma recently passed away and when that happened that’s when everything kind of kicked in. That’s when I started walking again, talking again, and I believe that she was thinking of me. She was looking down on me.”


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