Monday, April 11, 2016

Writing My Stroke Story

June will be 8 years since the hemorrhagic stroke that changed my life.  I began writing about it about 4 years ago.  Today I completed a satisfying manuscript and submitted it to a literary journal. Fingers crossed!  Intensive therapy continued for about 3 years.   I'm not fully recovered, but consider myself to be "nearly there." I have accepted that reality with as much grace as I can.  I'll never drive again, which is no great loss, except of my independence. I'm blessed to have a partner who takes care of me; driving, cooking, and keeping house. He was with me at that moment, and has never failed me.  None of the tests revealed the cause of my stroke.  The usual suspect, Atrial Fibrillation, was ruled out. Borderline hypertension was considered the culprit, with paroxysmal spikes. My right sided hemiplegia (paralysis) was a result of the hemorrhage having occurred on the left side of my brain.  My right torso, leg, foot, toes and right arm, hand a fingers were dead weight and numb for many weeks. Expert therapy saved me.  One of the most difficult problems of my stroke was speech; my ability to read with comprehension, count, decipher numbers, and speak with clarity.  I learned this deficit is called Apraxia.  "Apraxia of speech is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control coordinated muscle movement." 

This verse tries to describes the feelings around the effects of stroke on my speech, that to this day, sometimes catches me up. 


 Learning words baby talk jumbled.
 My child speaks – a delight!

Expression – Music, Art, Words, Flowers

 Stroke and Aftermath

 Wordless impressions, then

~ Gobbledygook ~

 “Say what it is, say what you mean, can you?”

Put my feelings into words, can I?
 Learning to speak my language
Understanding the images – what do I see?
 Play the games, read the stories.
 Learn to think, learn to read, learn to speak again
Learn the new me.


 Characteristics  Apraxia of speech (AOS) is a neurogenic communication disorder affecting the motor programming system for speech production.[6][7]Individuals with AOS demonstrate difficulty in speech production, specifically with sequencing and forming sounds. The Levelt model describes the speech production process in the following three consecutive stages: conceptualization, formulation, and articulation. According to the Levelt model, apraxia of speech would fall into the articulation region. The individual does not suffer from a language deficiency, but has difficulty in the production of language in an audible manner. Notably, this difficulty is limited to vocal speech, and does not affect sign-language production. The individual knows exactly what they want to say, but there is a disruption in the part of the brain that sends the signal to the muscle for the specific movement.[7] Individuals with acquired AOS demonstrate hallmark characteristics ofarticulation and prosody (rhythm, stress or intonation) errors.[6][7] Coexisting characteristics may include groping and effortful speech production with self-correction, difficulty initiating speech, abnormal stress, intonation and rhythm errors, and inconsistency with articulation.[8]