Cya CVA!

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(Originally posted June 26, 2009)


J.J. is under consideration for a research study out of Northwestern in Chicago that will, among other things, provide him with more speech therapy. He'll receive a hour and a half of therapy a day using computer based technology for eight weeks, as well as in-person sessions twice a week during this time.


To prove that J.J. meets the diagnostic criteria, we had to get his medical records. We got them in last night but I worked 13 hours yesterday and didn't get the chance to review them until a few minutes ago.


His CT scan report from the day after the stroke is alarming. J.J.'s entire speech center was decimated by the stroke (I won't go into the language they used, but that's what it means).


He shouldn't be able to speak.


But he does. And he speaks better every day. Further back in the records, there's even notes from doctors stating that his speech belies the damage shown on the scans. Obviously, they have no more idea why J.J. has had such a positive outcome than we do.


I have two things to say about this: 1) Brain plasticity is a wonderful thing. From what we've been told, one of the reasons J.J. has been able to recover so much of his speech so quickly is because he studied so many different languages, which has caused more neural pathways to develop that in most people's brains. When J.J. starts this research study we'll know more (the first thing he'll do is a functional MRI) but the theory is that the area directly opposite the area that was destroyed (i.e., in his right hemisphere instead of the dead left hemisphere area) is picking up the slack. Anyway, it's amazing. 2) I may not know how this happened, but I know who does. I see this as just more evidence that God is in control here. My husband is a miracle of medical science.


To interpret the rest of the report, I need to figure out what "effacement of the left temporal horn" is. I have an idea (I actually think this is just more about where the speech areas were impacted, actually), but don't have the time to do the digging right now.


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