It’s with great passion that I seek to assemble news and reports on Foreign Accent Syndrome. Since I first acquired it in May 2009, I have been astounded at how little information there is on this medical condition. Because it is an extremely rare condition (with between 50-100 cases worldwide — ever); it is even harder to find information about FAS. It is even MORE difficult to find “quality” reporting on it. So when I find it, I want to share it! Perhaps those who come along behind me with a brand new occurrence of FAS, will have somewhere to obtain real, useful information amongst all the cynical, critical and downright nasty comments that some have put out.
A PERSONAL BLOG –Even though I had read this blog post some time ago, I believe that it is so nicely done that I thought I’d share it here. Notice how the author, Arthur Greenblatt, does such a nice job of incorporating the news of the day with an event in his own personal life: 1) the facts are clearly stated. 2) Although there is an outside article as an anchor to his post, he has cited the source, date, publication and author 3) The source he used presents a lot of foundational information on Foreign Accent Syndrome.
I will give the link to his personal blog post here >>> Arthur’s Days Blog post on FAS
AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE –The Article, Fairfax Woman Developed Russian Accent After Head Injury, By Brigid Schulte. Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, May 30, 2010 is excellent at presenting facts in an interesting personal approach without sensationalism. Here is why I believe it is A+ Article:
A) The History of Foreign Accent Syndrome
B) Individual Cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome
C) Some noticeable distinctive features of the pronunciations and differences with Foreign Accent Syndrome
D) Names, at least one sufferer and one researcher/doctor plus many other examples of cases where names are not given, but features are.
E) The PERSONAL experience of sufferer being further harmed by public pundits statements and the added poor public opinion that such generates.
All of these together, make me wish to extend a “heroin of journalism for the sake of the sufferer” award to Ms. Schulte. This is one example of effective, well done journalism that I wish to continue to broadcast!
Since 2009 I have been amassing numerous articles and tried to contact fellow FAS sufferers. There is now a group of us who are in contact from around the world who are there to support one another in the unique challenges that arise with speaking all the time in a foreign accented voice with which we were neither born nor able to change back.
Perhaps Mr. Schulte or some other journalist of such skill will take another look at the newer cases and any new research being done with this very rare condition that seems to be less rare now as more and more cases are emerging. The first step toward fighting ignorance is GOOD reporting. Plus, there is something that makes it all the more effective when reporting about Foreign Accent Syndrome is done to show the personal side of the story!
What do you think about this post? Your opinion matters! What you think and ask can help us all make new discoveries, so please feel free to add a comment or question below. Thanks.
It was what followed that would cause me to go into a sleepless overnight vigil of watching live footage and praying. Although the epicenter was offshore, it spawned a tsunami that reached 23 feet high as it crashed upon the northeastern coastal city of Sendai in Miyagi prefecture (state) which was closest land to the epicenter.
Footage from cellphones and helicopters, security cameras and other such means documented live as the churning ocean surged inland taking sizable boats, buildings, trucks, cars, houses, people . . . everything in it’s path was being devoured and destroyed by this sudden natural disaster. Suddenly, Tokyo which was over 230 miles away from the quake’s epicenter was literally being rocked and shocked as the specially designed earthquake resistant buildings swayed with great strength in the middle of the bustling workday.
In a moment… the blink of an eye, people were jerked out of their everyday workday routines into a state of controlled panic. I say “controlled” only because it is true that Japan is noted as being one of the most practiced in emergency readiness countries in the world. Truthfully, the footage of many people did show remarkable calm being maintained as they seemed to act by rote practice of emergency drills. Only — this was NOT a drill, which was apparent as slabs of drywall fell from the ceiling of a department store, a bronze statue lie on the sidewalk next to the pedestal upon which it had been perched while a citizen was performing CPR on a victim and others cried as yet another aftershock (some in 6.0 range) caused even more of building frontages to fall down narrowly missing people moving about. Meanwhile, there were two women holding some kind of pillow over their heads, standing in doorways trying to avoid further harm.
In that moment… members of the Japanese Parliment were forced to stop there stately deliberations as more urgent matters had presented themselves in the strongest possible “tabling of a motion”. At this same time, co-workers in office buildings were shown hustling under their desks while books, papers and computers fell all around them. Another person was seen in a supermarket with grocery packages crashing to the floor amidst the isles of rocking shelves while the attendant struggled simply to remain standing on her feet!
What we did not see in these video snippets were the no-doubt terrified children in daycare and school situations. Oh how my heart cried out for them and their mothers. I remember what it was like in the mid 0′s when tornadoes struck in the middle of the day when we kids were separated from our families (and that was in an era before cell phones). Since power went out with electrical grids, phone service and the nuclear power plant wisely shut down, the ways of connecting between family members was suddenly shut down.
Roads could be seen with gigantic fissures and cracks of displacements running 4 feet apart. The overhead highways were closed for closed to prevent further damage during the severe after shocks under heavy load of traffic. Additionally, the Bullet train transportation lines were shut down as the lines would need to be inspected before further use. There were even people literally stuck inside airplanes at the airport and others who made there way from the terminal to wait on top of the building. What we viewers don’t realize is that it was also frigid cold and raining!!
There are now famous video footage clippings of waves crashing over bridges and roads while cars try to speed away in vain. Tsunamis travel at 500-700 miles per hour! I saw a sea of debris consisting of buildings, floating vehicles, a large white boat, houses, surging across obvious villages and farmland. I could not believe what my eyes were seeing. It was so catastrophic!
I think it was about 3 a.m. or so when the USGS announced that the entire Pacific region was in a state of high alert with Tsunami warning going out to Hawaii Islands and even the Western Coast of the United States! The footage continued and they soon put up projections on when the Tsunami would hit Hawaii at about 8 a.m. our time and then U.S. about 11:30 our time.
There was NO WAY I was going to be able to sleep now!! I was watching the footage, crying out to God in prayer, calling upon the truth of Scripture to try to make sense of what I was witnessing. I saw people standing on bridges as hundreds of cars and fragments of villages churned under the bridges they were standing on.
I tweeted to #prayforthepacific which was a hash tag that was coined by one of my creative friends in Italy. And since it was going to involve more than #Japan I though it was best. However, the main thing that I wanted to do was keep up with information as it came live and post much to #indyprayer and #prayer. This area of prayer is my foundational rock in times of trouble… and this was definitely such a time.
One of my FaceBook friends was in a Westin Resort about 1/8 a mile from the western edge of Maui. He was telling me that the sirens had been going off for hours, it was the middle of the night there. There had been an earthquake at Hawaii registered at like 4.6 within half-hour of the Japan big quake. A few of my Pacific coast friends were still up late and we were talking to David. He told us that although CNN was reporting that the Western Coast of the Hawaiian Islands were in danger and should evacuate, his hotel would be doing a vertical evacuation. They believed the resort would withstand the coming wave and would simply move guests up two or three floors.
The constant waiting and prayer was so hard, but I was feeling more and more peaceful about Hawaiian Islands and Santa Barbara, California (where we had lived on West Coast of U.S.for ten years). The scientists were saying that the reefs had a tendency to diminish the wave height. Still I did remember when the Santa Barbara Pier was quite damaged from a particularly bad storm and the beaches were a mess afterwards. It also threatened a few of our favorite restaurants and a bike shop where my husband and I had worked which was below sea level. That was then, this was now.
See NEXT POST . . . Tsunami of Prayer
I am excited to report that there is light flooding into the tunnel. That darkness of the unknown can at times try to engulf us, however, today, I am excited to report a super flash of hope.
I read today where Joanne Heim (Littleton Colorado area) had a medical breakthrough regarding her medical condition and it involves my passion of communication and new media!
You see, I have been praying since January 11th, when I learned from a mutual friend that Joanne Heim (great Simple Life blogger, Christian author, wife and mother) suffered a sudden and severe stroke. Her young daughter found her in the basement shaking and an ambulance came to rush her away to the hospital where the family’s journey was about to take a drastic turn into a dark tunnel of unknowns.
There have been many ups and downs throughout the last month, seizures, brain swelling, surgery, coma, tracheotomy, monitoring of the brain activity. I have prayed for the two little girls Audrey (12) and Emma (not sure of her age) and of course, her husband, Toben who has curtailed his normal work in order to be by his beloved’s side.
It was interesting to hear Joanne’s situation mentioned on the local Moody Bible radio station that I listen to on a national program called Midday Connection. Then, apparently her blogsite registered 4,000 hits as people came to read about her and lift up prayers and comments of encouragement. Friends have helped with updates being posted to her blog and even set up a way in which people could help the Heims out financially since this is taking Toben away from his normal job and also anticipated to be a lengthy and costly recovery.
I totally love how the Brotherhood of Christians come together and show the Father’s love at such times!! People who are thousands of miles away, still our brothers and sisters, can be reached through this wonderful tool of the internet. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and even Skype are all powerful tools to connect with people in a way that some have viewed as too technological and therefore “cold and insensitive”. However, I disagree. This ability to communicate electronically has offered us great opportunities. That’s why I so love using it to practice my 5E’s of exalting; equipping, edifying, examining and evangelizing!!
Because of my own experiences with very rare Foreign Accent Syndrome since May 12, 2009, I am even MORE enthused about the process of communication and it’s many modes. Although I sound like a foreigner these last almost 2 years, I still count myself incredibly blessed to be able to sing and write normally. This condition is so rare that many doctors don’t even know what it is, let alone how to help us. Consequently, I am so driven to have Linguistic Programs and Speech Pathology and Neurology labs to examine my and others’ brain via functional MRI or other means to learn more about the truly untapped wilderness of the human brain. I KNOW that a different area of my brain is functioning when I sing than when I speak. There is much to learn and I want to help.
Now; to the fantastic news that spurred this writing. My dear sister-in-the-Lord Joanne in a Colorado hospital, has blessed her caretakers and family with one simple act (simple, to someone who has NOT had a stroke nor been a coma). Joanne cannot speak because of Tracheotomy and she’s had a hard time trying to use a pen and paper to write, but Toben had an idea to put an i-Pad in front of her. As she was in bed with the iPad, she utilized a doodle program and drew with her finger :
“Do we have Otter pops in the freezer at home?” A breakthrough!!! Then when therapist asked her what her favorite flavor was, she used her finger to spell out “orange”. A great Hallelujah moment! I became emotional as I read the news and can only imagine the unspeakable joy that her husband Toben and the witnessing Speech Therapist were experiencing. I also am most rejoicing for dear Joanne… she can communicate!! How wonderful!!
It is a sign of progress that she is allowed to eat popsicles instead of only ice chips that they had been giving her. But this added ability to communicate by the use of an iPad is outstanding!! She continued to write about being uncomfortably hot, and having a bit of trouble with her tracheotomy that medical staff were then able to address.
As exciting as all this news is; experience has taught me that this activity is especially draining on the brain. She, no doubt, will get very tired, very quickly as she takes the extra effort to communicate. So that is a continuing prayer concern; her strength, endurance and ability to STOP and rest. (If you but read her blogsite postings, you’ll see that it is not generally her nature to just stop). I do pray for her, as I do myself, to make the time to stop; be still and know that He is Lord. She has seemed to me to be a driven person to “do” things. Now, the Lord has caused her to “rest in Him” an “be” rather than “do”. Oooh, that is a lesson I have frequented a LOT myself : P
At last nights prayer meeting Bible lesson, Kurt taught us out of 1st John 5: 1-5 where the apostle Paul talks of being “overcomers”. It is through the Power of Jesus Christ that we are able to endure what appears unendurable; to more than survive a trial, but actually thrive in new ways as we come out of the other side of a dark tunnel of this world’s trials and into the Light of hope that is ours by being a Child of God and KNOWING that God promises never to leave or forsake us — He is our LIGHT through the darkness. His Word tells us these trials are “light and momentary” — not to belittle our experiences of suffering, but as a reminder that this world, in this decaying body… when viewed in light of eternity . . . is fleeting.
As I close, I invite you, my friends, to join prayers for Joanne’s continued healing, that the testimony of the Goodness of God be evident to all who witness their responses of God-given peace and joy in the MIDST of the trial, as well as praising God for his incredible mercies to her and her family.
Toben: I pray that you will share this with Joanne and the girls, so that they can know that God is at work through your situation, among His people, throughout the world. They will know we are Christians by our LOVE.
To read Joanne’s Blog here is the link: http://thesimplewife.typepad.com/the_simple_wife/
For updates from Toben via Twitter: @tobenheim