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A young man living in Merseyside lost his Scouse twang and spoke "like a robot or Siri" after suffering a terrifying stroke.
In August last year, Dominick Nicholas from Wallasey woke to find his right side completely numb and his speech impaired, slurring and repeating his words.
The 25-year-old mechanical fitter was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered the cause of the stroke was a brain arteriovenous malformation – an extremely rare tangle of poorly developed blood vessels, Liverpool Echo reports.
Dominick said: “When the stroke happened, I thought I was going to die. I closed my eyes and blacked out, I have no memories of that time but I wasn’t unconscious.
“When I woke up a week later, I realised the right side of my body wouldn’t move, and I was on an intensive care ward.
Dominick underwent a complex nine-hour operation at The Walton Centre, a neurology and neurosurgery treatment centre in Liverpool, to remove the blood vessels.
The left side of his brain was damaged by the stroke which meant he was unable to use the right side of his body and couldn't talk.
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Incredibly, however, two weeks after the surgery, Dominick realised he could sing Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me To The Moon' as a different part of the brain controls music and singing to the part which was damaged.
Dominick said: “When I realised I could sing, I hoped that meant I’d eventually be able to talk again. When I first started being able to talk again, I didn’t have a Merseyside accent any more. I sounded like a robot or Siri. It feels so weird when one day you just wake up with a different voice.
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Dominick was diagnosed with non-fluent aphasia, meaning he struggled to produce words and sounds and retrieve language.
"I felt like I had lost part of my identity – but everyone else was just really pleased I was talking."
Dominick said "it was a waste of time feeling sad about what happened" and has been working hard with a therapist at The Brain Charity to slowly relearn to pronounce his words.
Over time he's even managed to get his Merseyside accent back.
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He credits neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to rewire and create new neural pathways after injury or damage – with the progress he’s been able to make so far.
Dominick said: "Aphasia isn't the end of your life. If someone you know has aphasia give them the time to talk. For me I just wanted to be treated the way I was before"
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