Meeting an extraordinary fellow stroke survivor Paul Cummings in Orlando

Uncategorized Apr 20, 2019

It was on Facebook where I first came across one of Paul Cummings’s videos. I was so intrigued by what he said that I immediately commented “I HAVE to work with you”, followed by “will you be the spokesperson of our portal?” 

Yes, that was very direct, but for good reason: I’m straightforward to people when I have a special feeling about them, a gut-feeling that commands me to act right away and get out of my polite shell. Something drives me so that I have to act right at that moment, because I might be too shy or embarrassed if I wait and think too long.

People might think I’m too blunt, but without this directness, I think I would lose a lot of opportunities. That’s why I follow my gut feeling at these moments before I regret it.

This is something I learned after my stroke: to cut the BS and take action immediately - life is too short for BS anyway.
Regardless, I had this feeling about Paul Cummings, and let me explain why.

At the time I didn’t know exactly what I wanted from him, except that I would like him to be a spokesperson for our portal.
There is one video for stroke survivors that I especially like. It is called “Get off the struggle bus” and you can watch it here.

He talks about that we all have our stories, our wounds, but that there is no reason to get on the “struggle bus” for that. Enjoy what you have now and stop whining. To me, that sounds a lot like Stoicism (in case you don’t know, I absolutely love Stoic philosophy)!

We met Paul at Norman’s, a restaurant at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando, which has the most delicious ceviche that I’ve ever had! He was very polite, and he talked so well that I could hardly hear that he has aphasia.

When I asked him about how his speech had improved so much in such a short time, he got emotional.
He talked about how he couldn’t say a word for an entire month after his stroke. 
After one month he started saying simple words like “mama” and “papa” (just like me).

He then signed up for an intensive well-known speech therapy program that cost $7000 a week! 

Even though I didn’t totally agree with the methods used there, Paul learned as much as he could from them.

He eventually decided to teach himself to speak properly again, and in order to do this, he used trial and error. He was practicing his son’s name “Ryan” for weeks, and he still couldn’t say it! But he figured out that when he tried to say “OarRyanBoar”, he could suddenly say it!

He then practiced that for a few days and took the endings off the word until “Ryan” remained. He told us that other "R" words can be practiced in the same way too, like: "BoarRabbitOar, OarRetakeBoar"

He could say Ryan now! And “nayR”. 
He thought it was better to also learn words backward because more neuronal networks would be engaged in storing the information. Then he did this method of words he had difficulty with.

All in all, his method taught him to talk almost normally again in just 11 months!
I was stunned. I immediately asked for his slides on how to do this. And I got them! Tomorrow morning, I will start practicing. If I see my speech improve noticeably after three months, I will let you know immediately.

Paul Cummings and I have a lot in common. Not only did we both lose our speech due to a stroke, but we both have a positive attitude. We see our adversity as an opportunity. We are not settling for the currently available rehab methods, and it takes guts to quit a less-than-optimal rehab program from a reputable Institution. But Paul did, and the result is that he talks normally again!

After our meeting, I have a feeling that Arjan, Paul and I will work together in the future. 
The sooner the better.


Ps. I am pretty proud of my gut feeling.

* Paul is the owner of Paul Cummings Enterprises, learn more about Paul by going here:

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