I have some residual problems after suffering a mini-stroke in February of 2004. However, luckily I have made a wonderful recovery...no paralysis...at least not any noticeable to the naked eye. I have a slight paralysis of the right vocal chord. No one can see that. I feel it.
When I first had the mini-stroke...I had vertigo...couldn't swallow and my blood pressure was over 200...I was rushed to the hospital.
In rehab, I had to learn to walk again and was constantly coughing and had to have thickened liquids according to the Speech Pathologist. However, though my ENT doctor later prescibed swallow therapy, numerous Speech Providers said I didn't need it...I could swallow well enough...didn't need thickened liquids anymore. I was suffering though. I had to be careful not to get the least bit upset or think of anything but very calm thoughts or I coughed and had trouble eating and drinking without having coughing fits.
When you recover from a serious illness, there is so much paperwork with the hospitals, as well as your rehabilitation to deal with. I was tired of fighting the system to get what I needed, so I gave up. I just did the vestibular therapy. Now...fast forward to March 2008 and I still have a swallowing problem and my ENT is recommending swallow therapy and Queens College finds my case so interesting that they are evaluating me for free. I am an interesting specimen for their graduate students. Funny...I have been working in the public high schools in Queens for the past 17 years as a Speech and Language Provider and have a student right now who has swallowing problems. His problem is visible. He had surgery in the mouth and the scar is on his face and when you listen to him ... you may comprehend his speech if you listen intently. I work with him on developing his tongue muscles so he can move it in a more controlled way. He is very limited in the movement of his tongue.
So...my point is an individual needs awareness of the problem and the cause to correct it. However, others looking from the outside may believe it doesn't exist. You see, I am making a parallel with emotional illness. There are causes. If they were only genetic, would therapy work? Therefore, a person must become aware of their emotional make-up and learn with a trusted professional how to uncover some data of the causes. This is a delicate and difficult work.
How do you know it exists? Because it affects your life!