Rob Rawlings – Nothing About Stroke Rehab is Easy
Rob Rawlings is a forty-seven year old husband and father of four, who was working as a sales and marketing executive. Prior to the stroke, Rob lived a healthy and active lifestyle, enjoying time with family and friends, golfing, yoga, and hitting the gym. At the age of 46, Rob survived a massive stroke. Now Rob is working hard at rehabilitation to get back what he lost, and to hopefully inspire others!
On Sept 22nd of 2017, at the age of forty-six (46), I survived a massive stroke in my brainstem, pons, and cerebellum, resulting in complete paralysis on my right side, double vision, the inability to swallow, and impaired speech. Every stroke is unique in that its severity, area of the body impacted and recovery differs from person to person.
I’ve been diagnosed with Ataxia Dysarthria,which in a nutshell means I have a speech disorder using fine motor skills, making it difficult to articulate words. I have challenges with pronunciation, inflection, tone, and pace of speech. I use words appropriately and use them at the correct time, but my speech is somewhat slurred and labored, as if I'm intoxicated.
As I've learned these past eleven months, staying active and doing my rehab at home has been instrumental in my recovery. Just as I'm re-training my brain and body to walk and to use my arm and hand, I have to practice my speech, ALL the time. To be honest, nothing about stroke rehab is easy, but the inability to speak as I did prior to my stroke has been the most frustrating challenge.
In order to improve my speech the following have definitely helped me:
1) working with a speech therapist
2) speaking with family and friends as much as possible
3) reading out loud; i.e. tongue twisters, Dr. Seuss books, the handouts from speech therapy, etc.
4) REPITITION, REPETITION, REPETITION!!!!
As I continue on my journey to recovery, though hard at times, I try to remember what one of my doctor's told me; "This is a marathon, not a sprint."