Most people knew me as DJ James but today my name is just James. I suffered my Stroke in August of 2010.
This event changed my life in a major way with the loss of my speech, and the loss of certain mobility. After the stroke I could say only two words.
After two days in hospital, I started having severe seizures - up to 17 per day. I was moved to the critical care unit (CCU), so my seizures could be controlled. Afterwards, I started my speech-language therapy and physiotherapy. Here, I re-learned how to say my name “James” again. I was so happy! I then continued to learn more words, but I could not put a sentence together.
When I was discharged from hospital, I was given a book called “Let’s Talk about Stroke”, which is funny because “I couldn’t talk!” I was given no further support… none at all!
It took 6 months and the help of my good friend John Drake, to get me the help I needed. April 2011, I finally started speech therapy through the Acquired Brain Injury program. During this time, I worked on improving my memory for words, putting words into sentences, and improving my texting.
You don’t understand the respect I have for texting on a cell phone. Texting was my only way of getting the words out that I couldn't say or write. Texting was my tool to express what I needed, even if I was sitting next to the person I was trying to talk to. Texting was, and still is, so important to me.
I’m now in what you call the chronic phase of aphasia recovery. It’s been more than 10 years later and I am very fortunate to have had organizations like the Langley and Surrey Stroke Recovery of B.C., Columbia Speech & Language, Cheshire Homes Society and Headway(Strive) in New Westminster.
I am getting some of my life back by sheer determination and by taking therapy for my Expressive Aphasia. I know my speech is getting better, but I still need Help.
You went from feeling discouraged to encouraging other people. How did that happen?
My “former” life, I was a Professional DJ/MC, and I’m working hard to use that to help others by doing the music for some Stroke Recovery or Aphasia events such as B.L.A.S.T Camp, Sea-to-Sky Aphasia Camp, Headway(Strive), Cheshire Homes Society, and Semiahmoo House Society (ABI).
The Speech therapy is what keeps me moving forward to my goals.
The Lord Jesus is helping me each step and has provided the other help that I need to conquer this Aphasia! No matter how I feel, or what is happening – I keep pressing forwards to get better and better!
What would you say to someone who was feeling discouraged?
Never give up! Jesus is the answer to all of your problems – “but” He expects you to do whatever you can do. Keep doing it! He will help you! Live for others. Let God take care of you.
And with my heart I have learnt to help others with a stroke or brain injury with Aphasia and I try to make them smile and relax so they can re-learn. Never give up what we can do, so smile and talk slower and that will make everyone better