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Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Here's where I will be discussing life with a terminal diagnosis, specifically a brain tumor known as glioblastoma, or GBM. I had surgery to remove the tumor from my left temporal lobe, deep inside. I have stories all about treatment, recovery, and living life despite the bad news.

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Sep 12, 2018

TRANSCRIPT (links to follow)

This is Episode 025 of Glioblast‑O‑Cast. What can I do to deal with aphasia?

Hello, and welcome to Glioblast‑O‑Cast, the podcast about my life beyond glioblastoma.  I'm your host, Meg Turecek.

In this episode I answer the question, what can I do to deal with aphasia?

And on my shown page you can find some links and a little example of an aphasia technique that helped me. But be forewarned—I make no guarantees on the listability of my singing voice.

Following my recurrent radiation for a likely recurrence, I found myself in a new situation—where I couldn’t really speak. I tried calling my doctor, but I couldn’t say my name, I couldn’t say my birthday, I couldn’t say anything.

The words were in the top of my mind, I just count’s get them out.

It was certainly distressing for me and so thankful my boyfriend just got home from an errand and took immediate action talking to one of my doctor.

They advised we go to the hospital. After a CT scan showed things were okay, the on-call doctors advised I stay in the hospital and I agreed. Little did I know it would be a weeklong hospital stay.

We tried a couple approaches for dexamethasone steroids. I really hate this stuff, but there are times it is necessary. And in was a necessary evil to help end the pain and take control of my situation.

The first couple days were challenging. I couldn’t find the letters I wanted to send my boyfriend a message and went to get one of the nurses to help. My eyesight was still hiding, things from my right eye, and couldn’t see people staring right next to me.

So, what is aphasia?

Simple put, aphasia can be referred to as Acquired Language Disorder.

It was first reported by a Swedish physician, Dr. Olaf von Dalin in 1736. Then in the mid-1880s, aphshia was the subject of clinical studies.

In 1904, American neurologist Charles Mills suggested that playing piano could encourage patiens with week known songs.

Aphasia is mostly known as a situation that affects stroke patients or others with brain damage. It happens to the left hemisphere of the brain and those affected then have trouble speaking or can’t speak at all.

But when trying the Melodic Intonation Therapy-MIT-developed in 1972 which is using singing to communicate instead of normal speaking, the stroke victims were able to communicate in some ways.

And I found that this approach to my aphasia situation was helped by singing to speak.

The left hemisphere normally processes language.

The right hemisphere normally processes music.

So when my left side was not processing language after my radiation, I did some little tests in the hospital and tried to sing-alone, of course-I found I could connect with my thoughts and get out my thoughts.

When left language has been damaged, music encourages neuroplasticity. The brain starts to process language on the right.

So, as a warning. I will give a little example of what I did alone in the hospital when I couldn’t quite get to my words.

I make no claim of sound quality.

Sing what you say.

So, that my attempt. On my show page, some lists about aphasia.

Thanks for listening. This has been Glioblast-O-Cast Episode 26.


Theme music for Episode 026: “Acoustibreeke”



Aphasia links