As you can probably tell by my improved vocabulary, the steroids are beginning to heal the swelling in my brain. Over the past two weeks I have traveled to many lands much like this blog entry, at least if you had heard the changing accents through which my brain has conveyed the English language through my voice, it would appear that I was quite the world traveler. It has been a fascinating journey for my family. Every morning I start the day sounding completely different from the day before. Even inside my mind I hear whatever voice will follow before I open my mouth to talk…certainly a clue of some kind to an aspect of the process of speech formation. When this all started two weeks ago, my pitch was higher, my English was halting and kind of “broken”. I could easily have been mistaken for a recent Chinese immigrant, just learning my own mother tongue, American English. Then my syntax would be confused and I sounded somewhat like Yoda from Star Wars. At other moments my r’s were completely gone as were unessential words like “a” and “the”; s’s were not present to indicate pluralality. Then I would go back and forth from this more toddler like formation in speech to a slightly southern sounding voice, a lilt to my voice as though I were from Georgia or South Carolina. Yesterday my pronunciation shifted so that I sounded like I was from somewhere in Northern Europe; an undisclosed country, but certainly not the Philadelphia accent I grew up with. Today the morning began with toddler speak and difficulty retrieving words but then for most of the day it has been a combination Irish brogue with a slightly Canadian flavor. Late this afternoon, around 3:30 or so, my normal voice, with proper syntax and most of my vocabulary returned. I did go back to Irish for a wee bit this evening and then found my natural voice again. Why this fluctuation and world travel is happening in my brain is a marvel; a mystery of misfiring neurons altering my speech patterns, I suppose. It has been a “long strange trip” (to quote the Grateful Dead) to be sure. It is as though I am an actor or perhaps channeling the voice of another being, and yet beneath all of this lies my “witness consciousness”; my own thoughts below the surface sometimes accessible through language and at other times just “watching”, unable to fully communicate all that I wish to convey. And so admittedly there is frustration, especially when I can’t remember the precise word I want or when I sound more like Elmer Fudd than a 44 year old woman…but my curiosity about this bizarre phenomenon has allowed me to once again discover the blessing through the humor of this situation. Yes this time around it is the gift of laughter at the surprising nature of MS that is sustaining my family and me. My eldest daughter is sorely missing my brogue this evening. This was her hands-down favorite. I must say we all enjoyed a moment the other night when I exclaimed while viewing a movie: “This is weally, weally, cweepy!”
Who knew I’d feel a loss as my completely uncontrollable speech patterns began to disappear?! But tonight as I’m writing this, even I’m a little bummed out that I just sound like ordinary me again. And to think, when this all started I cried! I don’t know how I’ll sound tomorrow morning, of course…the hour is late, before I know it day will break and a new adventure will be revealed.