I have had several vacations this year. I always witness small miracles on vacation (usually by seeing Mark do things he shouldn’t be able to do’ & making the impossible possible), however, one trip we took allowed me to see the result of many small miracles in my own life:
In the summer (2018), we visited Indianapolis—where we were living when I had my stroke. Back then (14 ½ years ago), I was told that I would never speak again, & even had a doctor tell me that I was a “waste of his time”, because “I would never talk.” (So, I feel a bit of pride now when I have to be told to be quiet! Ha! Ha!) & when we went to Indy, it was so fun to be able to see how all those small miracles in the last 14 years worked together so I could talk to my friends again! I talked for hours, & became so exhausted, I could barely talk by the end! Talking is tiring!
I credit the fact that I can speak to 2 things:
1. music therapy — working on breath support, mouth formation, & other “skills”.
2. horse/equine therapy — strengthened my core, allows great speech practice, & has helped my anxiety
This Tuesday, I returned to horse therapy after a holiday break, & after a very difficult session that involved a lot of laughing, my ab muscles had “woken up”, & I had my best speech day ever: I keep a boogie board in my wheelcjair pocket, so I can write down things that are too hard to say, &/or not understood…but I was able to SAY everything to the guy who came over to help me with my computer. Too cool! A far cry from the previous, anxiety-filled day…
I have known that my speaking abilities totally coordinate with my mood, & recently it has become more apparent: while sometimes I can’t speak due to flem/the need to cough (it is so irritating that I amm still unable to cough on command!), needing to wake up or needing to “warm up” my voice (after being quiet for long stretches of time); quite often my inability to speak it is due to anxiety, or being sad, mad, upset, or hurt. & since I can usually speak well, it is quite obvious if I am experiencing one of these emotions, as I get quiet, or start to sign more! I literally get so up tight that I am either unable to expand my belly to take in air, or my breathing becomes erredic.
In order to combat some of these things, my music therapist has given me various exercises & (I hesitate to post this) wants me to face my anxiety & do more FaceTime calls–I have been doing them, & I have a ton of anxiety about not being understood, so I am reluctant to call, or answer a call, so when I am on a call, she wants people to ask me more than yes/no questions (open-ended questions). I also have tons of anxiety with many conversations cuz I have gotten out of practice on how to have a conversation. Seriously. I am used to being talked AT, not WITH!