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Stroke patient turns drawings into art

Pamela Hedden, an architect, retrained her body to use the left side after a massive stroke

MONROE, Maine — Imagine training the left side of your body to do what your right side did all of your life.

That's what happened to a Waldo County woman who was a highly successful architect before suffering from a debilitating stroke.

Over time, Pamela Hedden not only started designing homes again but she also found a new way to bring those drawing to life as art.

When we met up with Pamela, she was putting the finishing touches on a block of historic buildings in Portland's Old Port.

"I love to find a photograph like that and paint it," Hedden explained.

Pamela's paintings range from working waterfronts to lighthouses and vacation homes along the Maine coast. But what makes her colorful art even more incredible is that Pamela does everything with only the left side of her body.

21 years ago, the mother of three suffered a massive stroke. It all started with a headache. Then, Pamela woke up from a coma eight days later. She was just 36 years old.

"I didn't know my name, I didn't know where I was, no language, nothing," Hedden said.

Pamela, a sought-after architect in Birmingham, Alabama, had to learn how to walk and talk again. 

After 45 days in the hospital, her parents brought her to their summer home in Wayne so she could continue rehabilitation. 

In the past, Pamela designed dream homes using her right hand. Following her stroke, she learned to use the working side of her left eye and slowly started designing buildings again, now with her left hand. 

"I still draw it all but it's free hand, then I have my draftsman take it and put it into beautiful drawings," Hedden said.

More than eight years ago, she decided to add color to her drawings as she painted the post office, stores, and homes of family members. Two years later after moving to Monroe to live with her boyfriend, she started painting landscapes and historic buildings utilizing her architectural skills

Pamela, who had some showings of her paintings, doesn't see herself as disabled but differently-abled. She credits her children, family members, and loved ones for helping her overcome difficult odds -- one brush stroke at a time. 

If you would like more information about Pamela Hedden's designs or art work click here. You can contact her at (207) 242-9901.

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