Saturday, November 30, 2013


Amy Shissler
My Cerebellar Stroke Recovery
Sep 25, 2013

When I started writing this blog, I hadn’t found my voice.  Writing voice, that is.  When I started writing this, I was just a physical therapist who had a stroke and I thought that I knew some stuff.  I’m still that and will always be that.  I’m still a PT who had a stroke.  But now I know that I know nothing.  Ok, that’s not true.  I know some stuff, but everybody knows some stuff.  I now know that I knew NOTHING – less than nothing, absolutely nothing about recovering from a stroke.  No one knows anything.  Ok, some people know some stuff but not a whole hell of a lot and no one knows how to get a stroke survivor to full recovery.  That’s where Dean comes in.  :)   If you want to get to full recovery you better do your own research.

So, in light of this new knowledge that I know nothing, I’m going to revisit some of the topics that I wrote about in those early months.  I’m gonna start with my speech.  My speech problem is called Dysarthria and it sucks, I hate it.  But, it could be A LOT worse.  It’s a completely motor problem meaning there’s nothing at all cognitive about this.  My speech muscles are messed up so I sound kinda weird.  I used to not talk on the phone.  I wouldn’t talk to a new friend on the phone that I made recently and when I finally did he said “why are you self-conscious about your speech?”  So I need to get over it.  But living with this 24 hours a day, day in and day out makes that difficult.  I don’t notice the improvement that someone who hasn’t seen me in a while notices.  My first speech therapist was absolutely awful and useless.  But I’ve learned not to put the focus on the bad guys (like the doctors who f’d up my life), and put the focus on the good guys.  The best guy(well, girl) that has been involved in my recovery is my teacher, Heather.  To treat this disorder, diaphragmatic breathing is HUGE and is the foundation of getting your speech back to normal.  The breath is the foundation of absolutely everything.  My diaphragm was not even mentioned to me until I started lessons with Heather.  I’ve talked a lot about Kundalini Yoga and there’s not much more I can say about it.  Diaphragmatic breathing is not only the foundation of speech but is also the ultimate relaxation device.  It’s much better than any anti-anxiety pill you could take, and I would know.  Now I am taking singing lessons.  I end up cracking up during every lesson because I sound ridiculous but this is gonna get my voice back, I know it.  I’ve already made a ton of progress in my singing lessons.

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