Claudia Fortunato-Napolitano is the Happiness Hero at John’s Crazy Socks. While still a young woman (Claudia is only 35), she suffered a major stroke in January 2017. Claudia is an essential team member at John’s Crazy socks working to spread happiness and show every day what is possible when you give a person a chance. Claudia is sharing her recovery in this blog, so others can learn of the challenges facing stroke recovery patients and people in recovery can take strength and inspiration from knowing they are not alone.
I just got an email from the National Aphasia Association. The subject line read, “A New Study Using Brain Stimulation for Treating Aphasia.” I was intrigued. I read the article and clicked the link at the bottom. The study said:
“A study looking at combining brain stimulation with speech therapy to treat aphasia is moving toward a larger clinical trial. Last year, we told you about NAA Board Member Dr. Peter Turkletaub’s study of personalized brain stimulation. This new study, conducted by doctors from the University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina, will also use Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) to treat aphasia. By combining mild electrical brain stimulation through electrodes with speech therapy, researchers were able to increase the success of speech therapy alone.”
I would like to find out if I can participate. What could it do for me? I don’t know, but I think it could work better than my speech therapy alone. I try to talk my brain into it. I tell myself, “It will be OK if you don’t get better after today. You have so many things going for you.” I know a stroke survivor that had a stroke about a year before mine. I visit him about every 2 months. I can tell I am recovering better than him. That made me sad. I would love if he was speaking better than I. But he’s not. So, I tell myself all the time that one day I’ll get better. But then, what no one knows is, I imagine certain scenarios. The other day I envisioned myself at a wedding giving a toast, and I started to cry. I cried because I wondered if I’d ever truly be able to do something like that again. I had to call my husband. He told me that if someone reads my blog and connects to it than I did a wonderful thing. But enough of that….
I signed up for a “Lunch and Learn” at John’s Crazy Socks. I am presenting. It’s only to the staff, but I think they’re a supportive group. I signed up three months in advance, January 31. The History of Huntington is the topic. I think I will go back to the PowerPoint presentation I did, “1958: The Year Huntington Become A Suburb”. I am nervous, but I am also excited. I will be doing my first presentation with aphasia. I am on my way back!
I went to the New York Comic Con for my anniversary last week and it was AMAZING. We got a late start because my puppy, London, threw up at 3:15 am in our bed, so I had to get up and clean the sheets (not fun). We took a train and got in around 12 pm. The first thing I saw was a sign that read, “New York Comic Con! Home to Heroes, Dreamers, Wizards, Rebels, All.” We took a picture in front the sign, then we shopped. I got gifts for all my nephews and my niece. I got her Green Arrow earrings, and for the guys: “Doctor Who” backpacks with the Tardis and Union Jack on it. My husband bought four t-shirts. Then we saw an Outlander panel and got to watch a new episode of the fourth season that you wouldn’t get to see until another month. It was so good. After the filming, we saw a panel consisting of Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser), and Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and it was fun. Next up was The Walking Dead panel, and that was a beautiful send out to the main character, Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes). He is leaving the show this year. And we got to watch the season premiere of “The Walking Dead” 24 hours early.
We didn’t get home until later. We picked up our puppy, London, from the kennel on the way home. He was so happy. Thank you to my husband for making me get tickets. And the best part: I did not think of stroke once that day and that was magical. 😊
Every day, every week, I take more steps. It is hard, but I keep getting better.