CindyFrench-stranger than fiction stories

about facing life with hope and confidence, no matter the diagnosis

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Life After a Stroke

Posted by Cindy H French on 05/08/2010

I didn’t really get the stroke diagnosis for about 3 months. I was referred to a Throat and Voice Specialist and after examining me, he asked me to see a neurologist. He didn’t explain the why of that thoroughly, just said that I might have some muscle issues. Of course I couldn’t talk yet. He did tell me that the vocal chords were still paralyzed and in whispers I could tell him about my issues with eating. I could not eat out in public as I never knew when I would choke and literally throw everything back up. These issues concerned him too and so pretty quickly I got in to see a new neurologist. This one specialized in neuromuscular diseases. WOW, that’s a death sentence. I went through all the testing over a six week time period and that included Christmas time. I’ll never forget my sister Marilou came to me and said, we are going to pray you through this. I just won’t accept such a diagnosis and can’t loose you! Thus began our weekly praying together. This is a whole different subject in itself and one day I’ll write about it, but here it is almost 5 years later and we are still praying together weekly.

So you know that since I am still alive, I didn’t have any of the neuromuscular diseases, but I had suffered a stroke. Back to the voice doctor, he planned surgery to move my vocal chords closer together, which would loosen them up. I also started speech therapy two to three times a week. Because I was so fatigued, he ordered a sleep study and we found that I stop breathing 86 times an hour! No wonder I was so tired!  So he ordered a BiPap machine which I wear at night that forces air down my nose and throat. I hate wearing it, but I hate being so tired more. We decided to try for the surgery which could fix the problem, but for me it didn’t work.

All this time, I spoke in whispers or if I forced it, I sounded like I had the worst case of laryngitis you’ve ever heard. I wasn’t really working. How can you be a recruiter without a voice? But occasionally a local client would call with a need and my wonderful office would rally and find a candidate for me.  I slept a lot and really withdrew a lot. If you knew me, you’d know  that was just not me! But with not being able to communicate, not being able to eat or drink in public–I just felt cut off from everything.

About this time, my husband brought me home a puppy one day. He looked like a Benji dog-was supposed to be a terrier/poodle mix who would only grow to 15lbs at most. We named him Kirby because my husband said he was a curbstone setter. Having a puppy really got me up and out of bed. To potty train a puppy you have to be viligant. He would let me stay in the bed for a 2 hour nap, but then he’d bark at me to get up-even if it was to the sofa. We took walks in the afternoon and I got stronger. No voice, but the rest of my body was beginning to heal.


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