It’s been a while for an update, as Kitti has been working hard and busier than ever these past few months. Quarantine and distancing has resulted in drastic life changes for all, but for Kitti, it has been largely positive. So positive, that when she was interviewed by a national publication recently, her portion ended up being cut, as her positivity didn’t fit the overall narrative.
With the elimination of commutes, the brain fatigue that occurs from navigating environments, and the anxiety that comes with speaking to strangers, Kitti has been able to increase the amount of virtual therapies she participates in. Her beloved speech therapist Melissa pointed out recently what a major difference there is between Kitti’s podcast debut and the most recent recording. You can take a listen here: The Slow Road to Better. Please do subscribe – you will learn, you will laugh, and sometimes you may cry. But assuredly, this group of survivors will inspire you.
Through various social group happy hours, Kitti has met a tremendous number of young adults who have aphasia and apraxia. Inspired to connect, she started her own Facebook Group (S.A.Y.). She’s introduced topics like dating, working, and just small talk. There are 80 young adults from across the USA who have joined.
These recent connections, along with some high profile mentions of aphasia in the media, have increased Kitti’s confidence in educating others about aphasia, rather than getting frustrated when people don’t speak directly to her, or treat her as if she’s “cuckoo” (her word). Seeing Gabby Giffords bravely speak on tv provided huge motivation. General Michael Hayden, former Director of the NSA and CIA continues to be an inspiration to her. We are so thankful that they create awareness of aphasia to large audiences – their words may be few, but they speak volumes.
We went on a small vacation to Erie, PA, where Kitti tried mini-golf for the first time. She has declared this “her sport”. Now, anyone that knows Kitti knows that she is not necessarily the athletic type. In fact, when she transferred to the rehabilitation hospital, I discovered that she did not own a pair of gym shoes. I searched every inch of her apartment and only found high heels and strappy sandals. Her only “workout” gear consisted of fashion crop tops from Nike and a few pairs of short beach shorts – likely not appropriate for grueling physical therapies in the middle of winter. It was a mad dash to Target that night to buy the loosest gear I could find that would allow her to move, along with some sneakers. She has a “bucket list” of mini-golf courses in the area to complete before wintertime, and we tackle one new course a week. She now owns three pairs of sneakers.
Kitti continues to find joy in her journey, despite some major details of her future still unknown. She prefers privacy at this time surrounding long term solutions on residency. She is protected and legal - for right now. She is so grateful for the compassion shown that has allowed her to stay in the USA to continue treatment with her medical team. She has also been privy to some that are not as empathetic to her situation, particularly with the current turmoil in the US. When she prefers to share, an update will be provided.
Kitti continues to work hard and have faith…in sneakers and with positivity.