It was as if an angel floated by when Joanne called me out of the blue one day. I met Joanne years ago at the first Parkinson’s Women Support lunch. Since then, we’ve both encountered voice problems as side effects of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).
I hadn’t spoken to her in ages. With the skill of a sleuth, she quickly assessed my predicament. I had given up trying to fix my voice problem.
Three moves from one home to another in the last few years had left me drained. I was quietly slipping into social distancing before the virus ever appeared. Off the circuit and out of the loop, packing and repacking, I was sinking into the life of a recluse.
I remember her words, “Never give up trying to improve yourself!” as we discussed options for jumpstarting our ability to talk. “Improve?” I asked myself. I had forgotten the concept of change for the better. I don’t know how she did this, but within minutes of talking to her, her encouragement turned me around, and filled me with hope. I realized that maybe I did have some leads to revisit that might help with my speech. The rest is history.
I contacted the Parkinson Voice Project, and I found out to my surprise that in the last couple years, they have expanded their project in Texas to become a national program. They have several centers in the Bay Area that are listed on their website. I’m near a speech therapist at San Francisco Kaiser Permanente who offers their SPEAK OUT® program that focuses on articulation and speaking with intent.
I made an appointment with the speech therapist who is amazing and informative. I am hopeful that the therapy program will improve my ability to communicate. My heart is filled with gratitude for Joanne because I would not have been inspired had she not initiated a call of support.
My friend Joanne said, “So happy that the doors are opening for you. I must give the credit to God for I have been praying about this for the both of us. Let’s keep each other posted.”
What a difference a call makes in the Parkinson’s community!