Karla Hendrickson awoke to find her left side paralyzed. She was having trouble speaking.

That was in February. She first thought it was a result of fibromyalgia, which has caused her numbness in the past, she said. Doctors initially diagnosed a stroke. But it wasn’t just that.

Dr. Mustafa Baskaya, a neurosurgeon at UW Hospital in Madison, diagnosed her with a rare brain condition called moyamoya. She has undergone two brain surgeries to correct the loss of blood flow to her brain.

Without treatment, sufferers are likely to suffer more strokes and mental decline because of continual narrowing of arteries. It can be fatal.

“Dr. Baskaya said I was very lucky that I got there as soon as I did,” she said.

Friends are throwing her a benefit Aug. 8 to help with medical and living expenses.

Hendrickson is a certified nursing assistant at Rock Haven nursing home in Janesville. She hopes to get back to work, at least part time, by Christmas. Her doctor told her it will be at least 10 months before she completely recovers.

Moyamoya is usually found in younger people, and it’s more common in East Asia. But she is the second Janesvillian to get it in recent years.

Science has not found the reason why people develop moyamoya. It is not considered contagious.

Hendrickson walks with difficulty and wears a brace on her leg. She still can’t use her left hand. Her father visits her every day and takes her for a walk as she works on her rehabilitation, she said. Her two brothers and her sister-in-law also are helping out, she said.