Tracy Denison improving after near-death experience

Tracy Denison continues to fight for his health following a stroke three months ago.

Theresa Denison has been at the hospital and by her husband’s side daily since Tracy’s aneurysm and stroke April 25.
Theresa Denison has been at the hospital and by her husband’s side daily since Tracy’s aneurysm and stroke April 25.
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Tracy Denison has the most incredible story to tell, and he is anxious to recover from his stroke and share with others his experience with God.

For three months, the Ocoee resident has been working on regaining his strength and his short-term memory and learning how to walk again. On April 25, Tracy suddenly felt tired and began seizing and vomiting. He was unresponsive when his wife, Theresa, who was with him, called 911.

“In the ambulance, I died,” Tracy said. “While I was dead I (saw) the city of gold, … the huge palm tree, I (saw) it, so what is in this Bible is the truth. What God says He has ready for us, it’s there.

“I remember a loud voice — not overbearing or loud, but crisp — ‘No, not him, he has work to do,’” Tracy said. “God’s just telling me where I need to go. The path I need.”

Tracy remembers a feeling of contentment and warmth.

“It was like being in a fuzzy blanket,” he said. “It was the brightest gold, everywhere, everything. I remember that palm tree; it was so tall and slender, (with) fronds, no coconuts, … nothing else.”

While Tracy was unconscious, doctors determined he had a ruptured aneurysm and stroke. They inserted a coil to block the blood flow to the aneurysm, removed a blood clot and, because of severe brain swelling, removed a portion of the right side of his skull. He has three other aneurysms, all tiny, that will be treated, too. Last week, he developed sepsis.

Surgery to replace the piece of his skull has been scheduled for Aug. 1; until then, he has to wear a protective helmet.

Tracy said aneurysms are hereditary and he is the fifth person in his family — including his mother and an aunt and grandmother — to have one.

When Tracy woke up about 10 days after the stroke, he was paralyzed on his left side. Physical therapists have been working with Tracy to strengthen his muscles and regain use of his limbs.

Earlier this week, Tracy was transferred to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center at Orlando Health to begin an intensified rehab program.

Tracy has been a truck driver for nine years. His employer told him he would retrofit his truck and incorporate hand pedals and any other necessities Tracy might need.

Tracy doesn’t know what his future looks like, but he said he woke up with this overwhelming sense of wanting to help people in his hometown of Winter Garden.

But at the moment, it’s the Denisons who could use some assistance. Theresa and their daughter, Kayley Blair, are hairdressers at Theresa and Kayley Denison at iStudios, in Winter Garden. They have been with Tracy since his stroke and to assist in his recovery and have not been able to work consistently. A donation page has been set up on Facebook to help the Denisons with mounting medical and household bills and can be found at

“That is one good woman right there,” Tracy said of his wife of 28 years. “She has (gone) through every step with me. She has been with me all the way for me. She’s my best friend. She’s the best woman I know. She’s an angel.”

The Denisons attend Free Will Baptist Church, with Pastor Jeff Shaver, in Winter Garden. Tracy has developed an even closer relationship with God through this ordeal.

“For each and every minute, hour, day that I’m here, He works on me, and it’s working, and I feel it,” he said. “The power of God is amazing if people would just open their minds.

“I know God totally plucked me and said, ‘I’m going to rebuild you,’ Tracy said. ‘And that’s what He’s doing. I didn’t feel like I had any purpose in life … as soon as that happens, and I wake up here, I just want to help people. … I know where my life is going right now, and it’s right here in this Bible.”

Theresa said doctors didn’t expect Tracy to walk or use his left arm again, but already he is walking with assistance with a hemi walker and has arm and hand movement.

“You don’t realize how precious life is until something like this happens,” Theresa wrote on Facebook. “We take so many things for granted. He can’t do anything without assistance. … But he stays positive and is determined to walk again, and I truly believe he will.”

Tracy believes he will, too.

“God’s will is God’s will,” Tracy said. “I don’t like sitting here since May, sitting waiting on rehab, but I trust in my Lord, my friend. And when this is over, I’m going to be out there telling people my story.

“God allowed me to live,” he said. “He allowed me to be here right now, and I’m going to be fine. When I walk out (those) doors, I’m going to be fine.”




Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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