To speak or not to speak…that is the question…

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!

2 comments

  1. I always marvel at the tremendous progress that you have made. I wish there were no longer any medical mountains you had to climb, but I guess that is part of our earth life. You keep defying the odds, you are a hero to so many of us. Hugs!

  2. You are my hero! I admire your determination and attitude. Many do far, far less than you because of fear, anxiety, frustration. Here you are talking, riding horses, writing on your blog and giving us all courage to be more. Thank you for always being a catalyst! Call me anytime.

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