Video Greeting from Eastside Ellen

Just a quick heavily accented video greeting for you… THANKS FOR VISITING MY SITE.

Video – Eastside Ellen Speaks About Life with Foreign Accent Syndrome.

 

I hope you will continue to pray for productive research in regard to striving to understand what causes Foreign Accent Syndrome and how it may be treated.A speech related Bible quote for you:  “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” —1 John 3:18/NIV

 

Tiger Encounter

I was blessed to be able to have one of the best animal encounters of my life when I was able to do the Tiger Cub Encounter at the Gulf Coast Zoo (a.k.a. “the Little Zoo that could”).  The zoo currently has two six-week old bengal cubs that they allow you to actually play with for thirty minutes for a fee. What a special once-in-a-lifetime experience for animal lovers like Michelle and me. The tiger has always been my favorite!

The little white male tiger is called Mysore. The little traditional orange cub is a female named Kandy and she was my favorite because she really seemed to like me.

It was absolutely incredible to have one of these precious cubs climbing on me and playing with me. However, the best for me personally was when I fed her a bottle of warm milk. Kandy was a very good nurser and had all ten ounces down in no time. The next thing you know she was fighting to keep her eyes open as she cuddled up to a soft stuffed animal and started to take a cat nap.

This is a segment of video where the female six week bengal tiger named Kandy was playing with me while mouthing a lot. The two little cubs are teething and the animal handlers said they are encouraging them NOT to bite. She is really quite gentle, but you will see me guide her off of biting on my socks or my jeans, etc.  I asked the zoo person what I should say;  like “be gentle” or “no bite” and he said when they get bigger all of that “goes out the window” and a handler will most likely get scratched up in those encounters. That’s part of why they are doing so much handling at this young age. One of the zoo’s goal is to be able to handle the animals for regular exams without the need to use sedatives, yet, realizing that these are wild animals and a person can get hurt. Mutual respect is practiced here.

I was so very blessed to be able to have this encounter while I was visiting my parents who lived in the area of this zoo.  There were only a very few time slots left so my daughter and I went in at different times, but the way it worked out, we were better able to witness the other person having fun and take more photos that way. : )  Plus, I discovered the cubs will actually be gone for the next couple of weeks at another zoo. So it is amazing that the timing worked out.

I talked to other zoo visitors about how it must have been like this in the garden of Eden. God had originally intended for man to live with the animals and subdue the earth. It was fun to think about. Well I can now check this special experience off of my “bucket list.”

Six Months with Foreign Accent Syndrome and counting

It has now been six months since I first contracted Foreign Accent Syndrome.  Here is a fascinating video where I discovered that there was another person in a nearby area who had a similar manifestation in which her normal speech was replaced with a strongly accented way of speaking.

Next, let me say, that the video below is NOT staged. In fact it is extremely impromptu as evidenced by our lack of fine attire and makeup. Nonetheless, I think it is important to show this video to people in order to bring to light an extremely rare medical condition.

Fran found me via a local radio station who had interviewed me from time to time. “Fisher Fran” as we affectionately refer to her has  episodes of a few days with it. Her case, waxes and wanes with a good deal of normalness in between. She has other body weaknesses that resemble multiple sclerosis whereas I do not.

My foreign accent has continued for over six months now without relenting. Although, I have noticed improvement in some words as I apply tricks that I have developed through speech therapy. Another difference in our two cases is that I am able to sing in my “normal” voice, whereas, Fran cannot sing at all when she becomes accented (even though, she to sings for audiences).

Here is a video taken of me (Eastside Ellen) and Fisher Fran back in June 2009. At that point I had been speaking with foreign accented speech for a month and Fran was in day two of an exasperation of her symptoms.

This video was captured by Fran’s daughter and so is not exactly framed as well as a more experienced photographer would have done. PLUS… she and I were both in our grubbier clothes as we rushed to meet with one another without the benefit of clothing changes or make-up. We were just so happy to discover that we were not the only one with this problem that we couldn’t wait another moment. As you see in this video we are quite happy to have found one another and are enjoying our ability to joke about our situation in a unique way.

However, let me stress this. Foreign Accent Syndrome is NOT a joking matter. Rather it is an extremely rare medical malady involving the Broches'(speech) area of the brain. It is reported that only 39 medically documented cases have been reported…ever…in the whole world.  Because it is so rare, there are not many doctors who even know about it. Therein lies the problem. If they are unsure what causes it, how to fix it and it is so rare. There is not much help for a person who has it.

In fact that is the main purpose of me documenting as much as I can about it. Researchers could learn a lot about this if they applied themselves. Because it is such a rare occurrence the argument may be made that there is not much point in researching it from a cost benefit analysis standpoint. However, since it involves the study of the brain and speech/accent production, I think that this is a pioneering area that some university or speech pathology school would want to investigate more.

As one who has now endured it for six months, I am learning that I am teaching my speech pathologist at the same time she is teaching me. This is unchartered territory here. So it is going to take the willingness of all involved to recognize that we do not have all the answers. In fact, we must admit that we have far more questions than answers. Yet, since I am the one living with Foreign Accent Syndrome,  I am a self-made researcher trying to document for the benefit of medical knowledge and hopefully to bring a sense of understanding to both the sufferers and their loved ones.

I am going to try to get another video with Fran and me together within the next few days. This time I WILL at least look better for the camera : P